What is Worldcoin? What it means for business

ChatGPT and OpenAI owner Sam Altman has launched a new cryptocurrency – complete with eyeball scanning

ChatGPT and OpenAI founder Sam Altman has launched a new cryptocurrency Worldcoin – complete with eyeball scanning and potentially facilitating universal basic income.

What is Worldcoin?

Worldcoin is a two-fold project. One of its products is a new cryptocurrency and the other is the Orb – an eye scanner which Altman hopes to scan the world’s population with to verify people as humans and not bots.

The app will allow users to make payments and the company hope its infrastructure will be used for financial services and social aid, such as universal basic income. It has not yet been established how it intends on doing that, however.

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How much is one token worth?

At the time of writing, one Worldcoin token is worth $2, or about £1.56.

Has Worldcoin launched?

Yes. Worldcoin was launched on Monday, July 24 2023 and is now tradeable after picking up 2 million users during its beta period. It is now ramping up the use of its eyeball-scanning Orb to 35 cities across 20 countries – including Shoreditch in London.

However, it is not yet available in the US after a crackdown in the country on digital assets following fears it helps fraudulent activity.

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There are also privacy concerns relating to the storage of millions – and potentially billions if Altman gets his way – of users’ irises. Worldcoin says these scanned images are swiftly deleted, converted into a digital signature and that it does not collect any personal data.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center called the new cryptocurrency “a potential privacy nightmare”, according to The Times, saying: “Mass collections of biometrics like Worldcoin threaten people’s privacy on a grand scale, both if the company misuses the information it collects, and if that data is stolen.”

A few cryptocurrency exchanges are now listing Worldcoin, including the most popular trading platform Binance and Coinbase.

How do I claim my free Worldcoin?

Worldcoin is currently giving out its digital coin in exchange for people to have their eyeball scanned in any one of those 35 cities.

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke is a feature writer for GrowthBusiness.co.uk and Small Business.co.uk, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine...

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