July 24 (Reuters) – Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, launched on Monday.
The project’s primary offering is its Universal ID, which the company describes as a “digital passport” to prove the bearer is a real human and not an AI bot. To get the global ID, a customer signs up to have an iris scan in person with a silver ball roughly the size of a bowling ball. Once the orb’s iris scan verifies that a person is a real human, it creates a global identifier.
The company behind Worldcoin is Tools for Humanity, based in San Francisco and Berlin.
The project has 2 million users from the beta period, and with its launch on Monday, Worldcoin is expanding its “spin” operations to 35 cities in 20 countries. As an enticement, those who sign up in certain countries will receive WLD, the cryptocurrency token of Worldcoin.
The price of WLD rose in early trading on Monday. On the world’s largest exchange, Binance, it peaked at $5.29 and at 1000 GMT was at $2.49 from a starting price of $0.15, after seeing $25.1 million in trading volume, according to the Binance website.
Co-founder Alex Plania told Reuters that the blockchain can store global identifiers in a way that maintains privacy and cannot be controlled or locked by any single entity.
The project says global identifiers will be essential in an era of AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT, which produce remarkably human-like language. World identifiers can be used to tell the difference between real people and online AI bots.
Altman told Reuters that Worldcoin can also help address how the economy is being reshaped through generative AI.
“Artificial intelligence will supercharge people, which will have huge economic ramifications,” he said.
One example Altman likes is universal basic income, or UBI, a social benefit program usually run by governments where everyone is entitled to a payment. Because artificial intelligenceYou will do more and more work that people do now,” Altman believes that universal basic income can help combat income inequality. Since only real people can have global identifiers, they can be used to reduce fraud when deploying a UBI.
Altman said he believes a world with UBI will be “very far in the future” and he didn’t have a clear idea of which entity could distribute the funds, but that Worldcoin is laying the groundwork for it to become a reality.
“We think we need to start experimenting with things so we can figure out what to do,” he said.
reporting by Anna Tong in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Gopi Babu and Elizabeth Hawkcroft. Editing by Kenneth Lee, Shri Navaratnam and Philippa Fletcher
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