Tools for Humanity, the team behind project Worldcoin and headed by Sam Altman, the man behind ChatGPT and OpenAI, has raised $115 million in a Series C round led by Blockchain Capital.
The crypto-based project has been controversial from the beginning and has recently faced criticism for privacy risks.
However, although the public is suspicious, investors seem too keen to get involved in Altman’s project, which pre-dates ChatGPT, some of the biggest fintech VCs have already taken part.
Does this mean Altman is shifting his focus to crypto and blockchain and away from AI?
Is WorldCoin a Successful Crypto/AI Blend or a Dystopian Nightmare?
WorldCoin is a crypto-focused project with a strong AI connection. It was co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman with the mission of creating a digital identity (World ID), a digital currency (WorldCoin), and a digital payment app (World App).
However, even still being in Beta, Worldcoin has already faced some serious concerns from people worried about privacy risks.
In order to get coins, users have to agree on their irises being scanned by a five-pound chromatic sphere called “The Orb.”
According to the company , “the Orb 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.”
That, says WorldCoin, is to make sure that crypto tokens are distributed to “unique people’.”
In his newest blog , Spencer Bogart, general partner at Blockchain Capital, said there is a good reason for people to be concerned about biometrics, AI, and crypto.
“However, what’s actually happening under the hood is that the orb takes a picture of an iris, and the device subsequently generates a unique encoding of the randomness of the iris (an ‘iris code’),” Bogart said, and added the original biometric is immediately destroyed per default and “the iris code is the only thing that leaves the orb.”
What is more important – money or identity?
Bogart also added, “Worldcoin is quite likely the single most misunderstood project in all of crypto, ” because it seems like “a noxious combination of hardware, biometrics, crypto and AI.”
But “in reality,” he said, “Worldcoin’s World ID is the most compelling solution we’ve seen” to a decades-old problem. “In short, Worldcoin has a unique opportunity to establish and scale a new privacy-preserving primitive for the Internet (World ID) that enables any application to easily distinguish between machines (bots) and humans.”
Altman and OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, have already been in the spotlight with the growing interest in artificial intelligence. Just last week, Altman testified before a U.S. Senate panel, calling for regulation of the technology.
The public has expressed concerns that this may be stealing of identity, and even though the app isn’t allowed in some countries, in China, there is allegedly already a black market. One tweet said that fraudsters purchase iris scans from the black market to register on the platform.
World App Wallet is Gas Free but for Verified Human Only
In early May, the WorldCoin revealed its World App, a gas-free crypto wallet for “verified humans.”
The wallet runs on the Polygon network, enabling users to hold and transfer USD Coin(USDC), Dai (DAI), Ether (ETH), Worldcoin (WLD), and wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). By using zero-knowledge proofs, it verifies that the user is human without revealing the underlying data. The app also enables users to send and receive crypto through their contacts’ phone numbers.
There is always a moral question: is it ok to buy up people’s data by bribing them with tokens?
Also, the fact that there are already black markets raises concerns even though the company did answer by revealing the detection of numerous cases of fraud involving its digital passport.
Be it as it may, AI is here to stay and, as one of the brains behind Tools for Humanity, Akarsh Sanghi, says – “empower people across the world to take control of their identity and finances”. Investors definitely believe in it.”