Worldcoin is here — just not here in the US

Worldcoin founders say artificial intelligence can fund a universal basic income — just not in the United States

article-image

Kotin/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

share

Worldcoin is here, but only for people outside of the United States. 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman co-founded Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project complete with a token and “World ID,” designed to act as a digital passport. The project launched Monday. 

Worldcoin’s terms of service makes the American blockade quite clear: “WLD tokens are not intended to be available for use, purchase, or access by US persons, including US citizens, residents, or persons in the United States, or companies incorporated, located, or resident in the United States, or who have a registered agent in the United States.”

Yet even though US citizens cant use, purchase or access the tokens, Worldcoin included Americans cities — Miami, San Francisco and New York City — in its “Orb tour,” which is intended to “educate and answer questions about the protocol and facilitate sign-ups for World ID using the Orb.” 

Anyone who completes an Orb scan in the US will not be able to participate in the token drop, a Worldcoin representative at a New York City pop-up location told Blockworks Monday. 

An open letter penned by Altman and co-founder Alex Blania suggested that the token was being made available in more legally permissible areas of the world. 

“Worldcoin consists of a privacy-preserving digital identity (World ID) and, where laws allow, a digital currency (WLD) received simply for being human,” Altman and Blania wrote. “We hope that, where the rules are less clear, such as in the U.S., steps will be taken so more people can benefit from both.” 

To be sure, Altman and company are betting on artificial intelligence continuing to improve. It will get so much better, Altman believes, that eventually, it will become impossible to distinguish between AI and real humans. World ID is how someone can prove they’re human, with Worldcoin as the means of payment tied to that digital identity. 

“If successful, we believe Worldcoin could drastically increase economic opportunity, scale a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from AI online while preserving privacy, enable global democratic processes, and eventually show a potential path to AI-funded [universal basic income],” the open letter states.

When asked on a recent Blockworks podcast episode why to not instead rely on government solutions such as know-your-customer (KYC) rules, Blania replied, “The short answer is you can rely on some governments, or you probably could. The question is then still if you should.” 

“Using government KYC will work for some countries. It will not work for the majority of the world because most countries just don’t have a great identity system,” Blania added. 

To create a World ID, users must complete an iris scan, an in-person data collection using the Worldcoin “Orb,” a silver ball with cameras and sensors to capture the biometric information. 

Individuals who receive an scan of their irises must consent to biometric data collection. The consent form has three options: disagree (no scan will be completed), agree to Orb scan but opt out of data custody (image data is not transferred or stored) and agree to Orb scan and data custody. 

Individuals who agreed to the third option consent to having their data stored and sent to “teams in the European Union and the United States.”

Molly Jane Zuckerman contributed reporting.


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg

Research

In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.

article-image

The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally

article-image

While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders

article-image

Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume

article-image

DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit

article-image

The Boston Globe reports that lawyer John Deaton is weighing a possible bid

article-image

Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade will enable Uniswap v4 to optimize smart contracts for complex functionality