Do We Need a Worldcoin? $100 Million Says ‘Yes’

With the wake up and shake up talk hitting the radar every day about AI, it should make all of us wake up and shake up when the person who founded OpenAI, the foundation of ChatGPT, launches a currency. The currency is called Worldcoin, and uses eye biometrics to operate and recognise identities. According to their website:

Worldcoin is building the world’s largest identity and financial network as a public utility, giving ownership to everyone. We aim to create universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background, accelerating the transition to an economic future that welcomes and benefits every person on the planet.

That’s a big ambition but, when you realise who is behind it, maybe those ambitions will be realised. So, who is behind it?

Alex Blania, Sam Altman, the guy who is behind ChatGPT, the AI engine everyone is talking about these days, along with Max Novendstern, the guy who has an idea of creating a new Blackrock using AI.

Who is Alex Blania? Well, he seems to be the key man behind the idea, creating the coin to provide immediate access to trade for all. As described on Alex’s overview on the podcast Swisspreneur:

In 2020 he co-founded Worldcoin with the goal of connecting everyone to the global economy as fast as possible. Worldcoin plans to issue every single person on Earth one free share, which you keep in a non-custodial crypto wallet purely based on smart contracts. With it, you will be able to buy other tokens/stablecoin, buy more Worldcoin, send coins to your friends, and pay for goods and services.

You can listen to an interview with Alex here.

With so many cryptocurrencies and digital currencies out there, why am I blogging about this one? Because here are three visionaries who believe they can create a whole new world of exchange using technology and, more importantly, with AI. That’s why they just got $100 million of funding which, in the current climate of the crypto winter, is pretty incredible.

OpenAI’s Sam Altman nears $100mn funding for Worldcoin crypto project

If this is successful, it would value the coin at $3 billion. That is not unsurprising considering, in 2021, the company raised $25 million:

Upon unveiling the Orb technology in October 2021, the startup had already secured a $1 billion valuation thanks to a $25 million fundraise involving Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group and angel investors including Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-disgraced CEO of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.

What is surprising is that they are discussing $100 million raise in a crypto-winter.

“It’s a bear market, a crypto winter. It’s remarkable for a project in this space to get this amount of investment,” said one of the people with direct knowledge of the fundraising.

So, why would people invest in this? Apart from the fact that the founders are visionary, and the spectacular success of ChatGPT is a clear endorsement, the FT makes clear why they are different:

Worldcoin executives said their approach tackles two problems raised by the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence: distinguishing between humans and bots, and providing a form of universal basic income which might offset job losses caused by AI.

Key to the company’s plans is an orb which “uses iris biometrics to establish an individual’s unique personhood, then creates a digital World ID that can be used pseudonymously in a wide variety of everyday applications without revealing the user’s identity.”

The only word of caution is that they haven’t actually confirmed the $100 million deal yet. Watch that space and, oh, if you do, then you might just get your iris scanned.

Related: Can Banks Meet the Needs of Government and the People?