Co-founded by former Y-Combinator Chairman Sam Altman and physicist Alex Blania, new crypto company Worldcoin has a bold ambition – to put its currency in the hands of every human on Earth.
Despite the growing buzz with Bitcoin reaching all-time highs and the NFT mania that populates all corners of the sports and entertainment industry, only 3% of the world’s population owns a cryptocurrency. According to Global Findex, over 31% of the world’s population is unbanked. This means that billions of people who do not have access to traditional financial services have also never used a cryptocurrency network for simple transactions such as payment for goods and services.
The lack of adoption can be attributed to the high technological barriers to entry to join the ecosystem. Wallets are confusing to understand and crypto protocols are complex to communicate. New currencies are typically marketed through airdrops, where users with wallets who have participated in related projects receive a small amount of the new currency. By their nature, airdrops exclude those outside of that privileged group and do not provide access to the freedoms and power that cryptocurrency can provide to those who need it most.
In an effort to put cryptocurrency in the hands of more users, Worldcoin has launched a plan to distribute its cryptocurrency to everyone, with a focus on new users in developing markets. .
In its tokenomics design, each future user has been pre-allocated their share of the coin supply. Employing a unique distribution strategy, the company built an Orb, a hardware biometric device that uses unique identification techniques to identify users, help people set up their wallets, and receive their digital currency allowance. The Worldcoin team plans to identify operators around the world to operate the device and reward successful registrations. These operators organize themselves in city squares, transit centers and public rights-of-way to register people and deposit the coin into a wallet application on their phones.
Worldcoin is currently valued at a “unicorn” valuation of US $ 1 billion. The company has raised $ 25 million from top Silicon Valley tech and crypto investors in recent months, including Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchange, Fifty Years, Day One Ventures, CoinFund, 1confirmation and angels including Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn), Sam Bankman-Fried (founder of FTX), as well as the founders of Solana and Polkadot.
The project is led by Alex Blania, former researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Light Science and Caltech. Blania joined Sam Altman, Founder and CEO of OpenAI and previously President of Y-Combinator, which has invested in several unicorns such as Coinbase, Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and DoorDash.
“Worldcoin solves one of the fundamental problems of the large-scale internet: ‘proof of personality’. The Orb allows Worldcoin to create a very powerful application, potentially the most widely distributed cryptocurrency network in the world. Once critical mass is reached, other projects and entrepreneurs can use it as a platform to build the future of the Internet as we know it. We are delighted to partner with Alex, Sam and the Worldcoin team on this important journey.Says Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
The team has already signed up more than 100,000 people worldwide for digital currency with this method under “stealth” conditions, with the goal of signing up one billion people in their first two years of public launch by increasing the number of devices in nature and the expanding number of countries they serve. During this period of stealth testing, each operator was able to enroll an average of 700 people per Orb per week, which, on a large scale, will lead to over a billion people enrolled in the first two years.
“The more participants a network like this has, the more powerful it becomes for its users. Giving billions of people access to a jointly owned network will lead to a major acceleration of the entire crypto space. Entrepreneurs around the world will start building cryptocurrency apps barely imaginable today“says Alex Blania, co-founder and CEO of Worldcoin.
It seems that the most unique part of the project is the physical device. The Orb captures an image of the person’s eyes to ensure that they are a unique new user. The company, however, recalls that privacy is a priority and that eye images are not stored or downloaded off the device, but are instead converted locally to an identification code on the device using ‘a unidirectional algorithm. Once users are integrated into the network through the Orb, they participate in the same anonymous fashion with wallet addresses as they would on other decentralized crypto networks. Approaching personality verification from this perspective ensures network scalability so that searches and inserts can occur with billions of registered users, as users do not need to provide further information. to access their Worldcoin.
The team built Worldcoin as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum network, with the goal of maximizing the ability of third-party developers to integrate Worldcoin into their products. The company plans to release a collection of open source SDKs that will expand the network and implement it in other products and systems. Executives hope developers and businesses can help increase the economic potential of billions of people and directly connect global economies in a more inclusive crypto platform.
“We see people waiting several hours to receive their Worldcoin and entrepreneurs setting up entire businesses around the Orb. This excitement and the resulting metrics make us optimistic that Worldcoin will soon be able to connect the first billion users in a global network,Says Sam Altman, co-founder of Worldcoin and former president of Y-Combinator.
The goal of creating a global cryptocurrency is an ambitious goal that is being undertaken by several other parties. Central banks have started to launch Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), although critics believe they only increase the power of central banks and carry the inflationary risks of fiat into the digital future. . Additionally, other stablecoins, from indexed currencies such as USDT and USDC, to algorithmic currencies such as FLOAT and OHM, encourage global use and adoption. Worldcoin hopes to build on these concepts with its ‘proof of personality’ and become a truly decentralized, efficient, accessible and independent digital currency, opening up the digital economy to all of the world’s population.