In a major shift, Worldcoin has announced plans to transition away from compensating its Orb Operators in USD Coin (USDC) and instead pay rewards solely using its native cryptocurrency, WLD.
The controversial project, which utilizes iris scans to verify user identities, started informing Operators of the change last week. The transition began with a pilot program on October 10th before fully switching all Operator rewards to WLD next month.
Since launching the WLD token in July, over 800,000 users have claimed free grants of the token, boosting circulating supply from 100 million to 134 million WLD so far. Worldcoin additionally announced extended but reduced loans of WLD to market makers, which could decrease circulating supply when repayments are made in December.
“The WLD token was launched with a relatively low circulating supply of just above 100M WLD,” Worldcoin said in an October 22 blog post . “This was due to the goal of creating a network of as many human beings as possible. To achieve this, new and existing users will receive the majority of the WLD token supply in the form of user grants over the years to come.”
The Foundation aims to boost the active community of Operators and users by distributing WLD incentives, although it led to a 5% drop in WLD on Sunday.
The sharp drop continued on Monday, October 23, 2023, morning as WLD fell over 9% overMatthew 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Things haven’t been smooth sailing since the project launched in July. The project received a significant knockback in August when Kenya banned enrollment over privacy issues with the iris scanning technology. The country had previously been one of the early adopters of the project, which aims to prove “personhood” with iris scans used to verify identity.
French data regulators have also expressed concerns about the company. On August 30, CNIL paid an unexpected visit to Worldcoin’s Paris office intending to inspect the “Orb” center where people get their eyeballs scanned to access Worldcoin services. CNIL told Reuters in July that the “legality of this collection [of data] seems questionable, as do the storage conditions of biometric data.”
Current sentiment around WLD is bearish, to say the least. With only 134 million WLD tokens currently in circulation, representing just 1.35% of the maximum supply, according to CoinMarketCap , Worldcoin’s native cryptocurrency faces an uncertain future.
One dashboard on TokenUnlocks suggests that 71.61% of the total supply is due to enter the market over the next 30 days, with 16.71% released over the next 7 days. If true, this would have a devastating effect on WLD’s price.
CCN reached out to Worldcoin to verify these figures. In response, we were told on Wednesday, October 25, the figures were incorrect, and that TokenUnlocks appeared to be conflating the concepts of circulating supply and unlocked supply. Worldcoin instead pointed CCN towards their Dune dashboard for live metrics.
Either way, with a potential total supply of 10 billion WLD, too much inflation could make the tokens worthless. For now, the limited circulation has buoyed WLD’s price, but as more tokens enter the market, downward pressure is inevitable.