Worldcoin, the crypto project designed to create a verifiable system of identity, has had a rocky first few months. Despite being founded by Sam Altman of OpenAI (the creator of ChatGPT), the project has struggled in the press.
With rollout troubles in France and Kenya, FUD has surrounded Worldcoin from the word go. However, enthusiasm about the project still remains. A fact reflected in its recent price performance.
Worldcoin (or WLD) saw a significant price rally at the end of October, climbing from $1.62 to approximately $2 between the 24th and 31st. A jump of approximately 23%. However, it has since lost some of that ground, dropping approximately 10% over the previous 7 days, but still over 6% up over the last 30, according to CoinMarketCap.
At its inaugural event, OpenAI announced major updates including GPT-4 Turbo with improved world knowledge up to April 2023, a platform to easily build custom ChatGPT agents without coding, plans for a GPT store to share and sell these bots while compensating creators, a “copyright shield” to defend customers from legal action, and expansions to its developer community now.
OpenAI also revealed ChatGPT now has 100 million weekly active users, making it one of the fastest-growing services ever.
Whilst OpenAI and Worldcoin are two separate entities, the latter benefits from the former’s successes. Especially since investors in the crypto market are keener than most to ride waves of positive sentiment.
Like other coins associated with AI, Worldcoin’s WLD often pumps when artificial intelligence in general is seen to be having a moment in the sun. Reports from the conference were largely positive, and helped cement OpenAI as a leader in the industry. Although, WLD’s price performance during and after the conference has been lacklustre.
Since AI’s explosion in popularity last year, crypto observers have been waiting for the ideal match-up of AI and blockchain. Although, not everyone is convinced the two work well together.
Andre Cronje, founder of Fantom, has expressed skepticism about combining AI and blockchain, comparing them to oil and water. He argues blockchains don’t improve AI, nor does AI improve blockchain
Worldcoin squares that circle to some extent. Whilst it doesn’t use AI like Altman’s other big beast, OpenAI, it does try to create a financial system that will withstand the stress test of AI-enabled bots.
Essentially, in a world where everyone online could be a robot, how can you verify someone’s human-ness? Worldcoin’s answer is a mix of blockchain and iris-scans.
This solution has come up against fierce opposition. In July, a French regulator said it was investigating Worldcoin as the legality of its biometric data “seemed questionable”. Kenyan parliamentarians have called for the permanent expulsion of the project after temporarily shutting it down in August.
With such a rocky start, it’s been clear that Worldcoin’s particular offer has spooked many. The futuristic mix of iris-scans with an associated cryptocurrency has appeared too dystopian for some. Accusations that the project has taken advantage of third-world citizens for their biometric data has also put a dint in the company’s image.
Despite the criticism, Worldcoin isn’t on the decline just yet. In its latest public update on November 1, 2023, the company reported 1 million monthly active users, 4 million downloads, and 22 million transactions for its World App in the first six months.
Worldcoin’s immediate future is less clear. Altman, the project’s founder, is lucky in the sense that his public profile means it takes very little to bring Worldcoin to people’s attention. On the other hand, relentless scrutiny has already provided challenges. Further legal issues, and a sudden turn by regulators, could put the project on the retreat.
Until then, investors will be hoping the proliferation of bots on the internet cements Worldcoin’s raison d’être, and that AI’s more general infiltration of our lives continues at pace. Both are positive pressures on the coin’s medium-term future.