Potential Regulatory Risks Faced by Worldcoin

Author: Manish Singh, TechCrunch Translation: Shan Ou Ba, LianGuai

Worldcoin is a bold iris scanning cryptocurrency startup initiated by Sam Altman. It has now begun to launch its services globally, aiming to build a reliable “online identity that distinguishes humans from artificial intelligence” solution, achieve the goal of “global democratic process,” and “greatly increase economic opportunities.”

This startup has raised approximately $250 million and has received support from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, and Reid Hoffman. The company states that it is launching its identity verification technology and tokens internationally. Individuals can download the World App, which is the startup’s protocol-compatible wallet software, and use an iris scanning verification device shaped like a helmet (Orb) to obtain their World ID.

Worldcoin is perhaps one of the boldest attempts, aiming to make their currency accepted worldwide. This startup, co-founded by OpenAI CEO Altman and Alex Blania, hopes to put cryptocurrency wallets (and a portion of their currency) into everyone’s smartphones. However, in order to achieve this goal, they must find a way to determine if a person is a real human.

Worldcoin has been established for more than three years and is quietly registering users in multiple countries, including India, and distributing 25 Worldcoin tokens to registered users. However, so far, this project has not been very smooth. The project has been criticized for adopting exploitative practices in poor countries. The startup claims that over 2 million people in more than 30 different countries have undergone World ID verification through Orb from May 2021 to July 2023.

Worldcoin’s official website outlines its main potential applications: strengthening traditional incentive strategies vulnerable to fraud, such as coupons and loyalty programs; combating robots through identity confirmation; and promoting global democratic governance mechanisms.

Currently, Worldcoin holds approximately 20% of its total token supply, and these tokens will not be listed in the United States for the time being. In the first 15 years, the startup will limit the total supply of “WLD” tokens to 10 billion. In the white paper, Worldcoin points out that at the launch on Monday, the maximum circulating supply of the token is 143 million, which is based on ERC-20.

The statement states: “If successful, we believe Worldcoin could greatly increase economic opportunities, expand reliable solutions for distinguishing humans from AI and protecting privacy, promote the global democratic process, and ultimately demonstrate a potential path to AI-supported universal basic income.”

Worldcoin is an attempt at “global alignment,” but this has been mocked by Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and no stranger to the world of cryptocurrency, who called it “cute.”

Worldcoin Token Economics

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