Open AI founder wants open eyes for global digital ID project
A global crypto venture, cofounded by Chat GPT boss Sam Altman, which aims to scan billions of eyeballs to create a unique human ID, has launched globally.
The project’s core offering is its ‘World ID’, which the company describes as a “digital passport” to prove that its holder is a real human and not an AI bot.
It is estimated that 4.4 billion people worldwide lack a legal, digitally verifiable identity.
Altman and his Worldcoin cofounders Alex Blania and Max Novendstern claim to have conceived project with the ambition of ‘increasing economic participation and improving access to essential services’ in a secure, decentralised, open-source environment’.
As an incentive to sign up, crypto tokens have been awarded to participants in certain territories – although not initially in the US where regulators continue to crack down on digital assets following an increase in crypto scams.
The foundation said that it is aiming to scan a billion citizens’ eyeballs using an eye scanning physical ‘Orb’ the size of a bowling ball.
To get a World ID, a customer signs up to do an in-person iris scan using the Orb. Once the Orb has verified the person is a real human, it creates their World ID and, in some cases, generates Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency token WLD.
Speaking from Berlin, Worldcoin project co-founder Alex Blania said:
“In the age of AI, the need for proof of personhood is no longer a topic of serious debate; instead, the critical question is whether or not the proof of personhood solutions we have can be privacy-first, decentralised and maximally inclusive.”
Tools for Humanity, the tech company charged with building on the Worldcoin network ad also headed by Blania – has also released a World App, which it claims is the first ‘protocol-compatible wallet’ that allows people to reserve their share of the WLD digital currency ‘where laws permit’.
According to the company’s press release the Orb will be available in 35 cities across 20 countries – including Dubai, Hong Kong and London (where, according to the Evening Standard, it’s available at two locations in Shoreditch).
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter