What is Worldcoin ($WLD)?
Worldcoin (WLD) is a decentralized payment protocol for Web3 that uses biometric authentication to differentiate between a human being and a software robot (bot), addressing the challenge of proving individuality in the digital realm.
The project aspires to create a more equitable global economy through its unique approach to digital identity verification. It aims to provide fundamental financial services like banking, credit, and insurance to all individuals, regardless of their jurisdiction.
The project has garnered a growing community, now comprising over 3 million unique individuals across five continents, according to an official blog post.
Techopedia Explains the Worldcoin Project
Worldcoin aims to establish a distributed, blockchain-based identity network that allows users to prove they are actual humans without disclosing their real-world identities.
The Worldcoin project is spearheaded by OpenAI chief Sam Altman and Alex Blania, the CEO and co-founder of Tools for Humanity. The founders hope to boost global economic opportunities by enabling every human to participate in the digital economy through a universally accessible, decentralized identity infrastructure.
An important project goal is to prevent generative AI from being used to launch Sybil attacks in fintech distributed networks. A Sybil attack is a cyber exploit in which a malicious actor creates multiple fake identities in order to:
- Manipulate a distributed network’s behavior
- Deceive other network nodes
- Subvert the network’s trust mechanisms
- Potentially compromise the network’s integrity and security
Defending against such attacks can be challenging, especially in open and permissionless networks where participants’ identities are not strictly verified.
How Does Worldcoin Work?
The project uses a special type of high-resolution iris-scanning technology to validate that people signing up for Worldcoin accounts are unique human beings and not bots or repeat registrants.
The first thing an interested party must do is download and install an iOS or Android World App digital wallet. The second thing they have to do is locate the nearest authorized image scanning location by using the app or by visiting the Worldcoin website. Then, they have to physically visit the authorized location where an open-source hardware device called an Orb will perform an iris scan.
An Orb is a silver image-scanning sphere that is about the size of a soccer ball. It is equipped with a high-resolution camera and a custom algorithm that can capture and analyze the unique patterns in a person’s iris.
Iris scans can be performed in a variety of lighting conditions, and the accuracy of the scan is not affected by aging or other changes in a person’s appearance. This quality makes this type of biometric technology a more reliable option for identity verification than other biometric technologies, such as facial recognition.
Worldcoin scanners generate a cryptographic hash that anonymizes the data they collect. The hash is sent to the Worldcoin network, which uses zero-knowledge proof to determine whether or not a specific iris hash is unique.
If the hash is unique, the network assigns the person a World ID proof-of-personhood (PoP) credential, which is stored on a decentralized blockchain. The ID can then be used to access financial services, make payments, and participate in other online activities.
5 Key Features of Worldcoin
At the heart of the Worldcoin project is its proof-of-humanity protocol, which uses iris-recognition technology to verify that each user is a unique human being.
Worldcoin issues a World ID to each verified individual, creating a secure and unique digital identity that could be used across various platforms and applications.
World App is a wallet that serves as the gateway to the Worldcoin ecosystem. Its core functionalities include authenticating users’ Proof of Personhood via World ID, enabling users to send money globally without fees, and more.
One of the most ambitious applications of Worldcoin is its potential to facilitate UBI programs. The project envisions distributing cryptocurrency to every human on Earth in response to the expected labor upheaval caused by artificial intelligence (AI).
Why Is Worldcoin Important in 2024?
The concept of a blockchain-supported distributed identity management system is important because it’s estimated that more than 4 billion people worldwide currently lack a legal, digitally-verifiable identity.
As generative adversarial networks improve and AI-as-a-Service goes mainstream, it’s easier than ever for bad actors to create bots that can impersonate people on the Internet, and it’s becoming more difficult than ever to distinguish specific faces and individual people’s voices from AI programming.
The project is currently in the process of rolling out Orb operations to 35 cities in 20 countries.
As an incentive for participating in the project, Worldcoin is rewarding users in certain countries with $WLD airdrops that are marketed as a way for early project investors to gain real-world value in fiat-driven markets.
Worldcoin’s Launch and Controversy
At the time of the launch, 143 million $WLD were issued. 100 million were allocated to market makers, and the rest of the tokens were rolled out to early investors who verified their identities by scanning their irises during Worldcoin’s pre-launch phase.
Project leaders have outlined plans to hold on to about 20% of the project’s tokens and use their value to fund future Orb scanner production, protocol ecosystem development, and project maintenance.
Critics have questioned why the project has been promoted as a way to provide users with a universal basic income (UBI).
Alex Blania, Worldcoin’s co-founder, said the company was limited in what it could say about its commercial ambitions because of regulatory compliance scrutiny in the United States, but according to Tiago Sada, head of product at the company, Worldcoin is intended to be a profitable project.
Worldcoin claims it already has over 2 million users from its beta phase, but an investigation by MIT Technology Review raised concerns over the project’s method of collecting biometric data from developing countries and found the company failed to be transparent about how and where it stored personally identifiable information (PII).
The proprietary nature of the project’s algorithms means it has control over the data it collects. This has raised privacy concerns because, in theory, Worldcoin could use the data it collects for other purposes.
However, Worldcoin is not currently issuing tokens in the United States, which suggests that the cryptocurrency company may be concerned about its compliance with U.S. laws and regulations.
How to Buy Worldcoin?
Users can buy Worldcoin in a few simple steps, beginning with choosing a cryptocurrency exchange that lists WLD for trade.
After selecting an exchange, the next step is to create an account, which typically requires providing an email address and undergoing a verification process to ensure security and compliance with regulations.
Subsequently, users can make the purchase by navigating to the WLD trading pair and entering the amount of tokens they wish to buy.
Where to Buy Worldcoin?
At the time of the publication, Worldcoin is trading at $7.41, up by 40.35% over the past day. The Worldcoin price surged after the news that the project’s wallet passed 1 million daily users.
World App, the first wallet built for the Worldcoin project, passed 1M daily users this week. This community is incredible pic.twitter.com/Mf6Y51gscQ
— Worldcoin (@worldcoin) February 17, 2024