OpenAI CEO raises $115M for crypto company that scans people’s eyeballs

Enlarge / Worldcoin’s “Orb”, a device that scans your eyeballs to verify that you are a real human.

A company co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has raised $115 million for Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project that scans users’ eyeballs to “establish an individual’s unique personality.” In addition to leading the maker of ChatGPT and GPT-4, Altman is co-founder and president of tools for humanitya company that develops technologies for World Currency project.

Tools for Humanity today announced $115 million in Series C funding from Blockchain Capital, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, Bain Capital Crypto and Distributed Global. Blockchain Capital said Worldcoin’s “World ID” system, which involves eyeball scanning, will make it easier for apps to distinguish between bots and humans.

The components of the Orb.
Enlarge / The components of the Orb.

World Currency

“Worldcoin strives to become the largest and most inclusive financial and identity network in the world, built around World ID and the Worldcoin token – a public service that will belong to everyone, regardless of background or status. economic,” the crypto firm’s funding press release said. .

Worldcoin offers a Worldwide application for iOS and Android, which “allows a person to create their Worldcoin account and access a digital wallet connected to Worldcoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital and traditional currencies, including stablecoins,” the company says. .

The eyeball scanning part comes into play for anyone who signs up for a World ID. It requires going to a physical location and using your eyes and a device called an “Orb” to verify that you are a real person.

“The Orb uses iris biometrics to establish an individual’s unique personality, then creates a digital global identifier that can be used under a pseudonym in a wide variety of everyday applications without revealing the identity of the individual. user,” explains Worldcoin.

Orb availability is limited

The World app itself can be used without signing up for a World ID, the company says. But Worldcoin says that people who get a World ID will also receive free Worldcoin tokens and a certain amount of free bitcoins and ether currencies.

Worldcoin is still in beta, and its tokens are “not intended to be available to persons in the United States or other restricted territories,” a Project FAQs said. A US resident can get a World ID, but the World app tells users that there are no orbs in the US yet.

“We are working hard to bring orbs to every country in the world,” the app says if you find yourself in one of those unfortunate orb-free countries.

Even though Worldcoin says its tokens are not intended to be available in the US, the Orb hardware will be on display in a few US cities in the coming months. The company announcement an Orb “tour” in which “Worldcoin Orbs will be available for a limited time” from May to July in Berlin, Dubai, London, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo.

Investor: Worldcoin is not a “dystopian nightmare”

In a press release, Tools for Humanity said the new funding “will accelerate TFH’s continued R&D and growth, enabling it to support the expansion of the Worldcoin project and further develop Worldwide applicationthe first wallet in the Worldcoin ecosystem.”

Spencer Bogart, general partner of Blockchain Capital, defended Worldcoin against privacy and security criticism that the iris scanning project has received. “I thought Worldcoin was a dystopian Orwellian nightmare, then our team invested hundreds of hours evaluating what the project contributors actually built and I completely changed my mind,” Bogart said. wrote on Twitter.

Bogart asserted that “Worldcoin is quite possibly the most misunderstood project in all of crypto,” noting that “at first glance, it appears to be a noxious combination of hardware, biometrics, crypto, and AI.”

But “in reality,” according to Bogart, “Worldcoin’s World ID is the most compelling solution we’ve seen” to a decades-old problem. “In short, Worldcoin has a unique opportunity to establish and scale a new privacy-preserving primitive for the Internet (World ID) that allows any application to easily distinguish between machines (bots) and humans.”

Blockchain Capital said on its website that “World ID allows individuals to verify their humanity online while maintaining anonymity through zero-knowledge proofing. Verification is as easy as clicking a button to sign a transaction.”

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