Sam Altman’s Worldcoin token goes live on Optimism

Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, announces token launch and wallet release for his controversial iris-scanning startup.

An image showing a rocket launching corresponding to a crypto project start

Worldcoin launched its WLD token and protocol on Monday, the foundation announced on Twitter. The project's unique feature is the World ID, an account that can only be created by real humans through an in-person iris scan using Worldcoin's 'orb'. This San Francisco and Berlin-based technology company, Tools for Humanity, has already collected 2 million users during the beta period.

With the official launch, Worldcoin plans to expand its "orbing" operations to 35 cities across 20 countries. To attract users, the company will offer its cryptocurrency token, WLD, to those who sign up in certain countries.

Co-founder Alex Blania explained that the integration of cryptocurrency with World IDs is crucial as it allows the IDs to be stored on cryptocurrency blockchains. This method ensures privacy and prevents control or shutdown by any single entity.

The World IDs are expected to play a significant role in distinguishing real humans from AI bots online, especially with the rise of generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT.

The project has sparked controversy due to its iris-scan identity verification method, raising privacy concerns. Critics, including whistleblower Edward Snowden, have questioned the implications of using body parts for identity checks. Additionally, the allocation of 20% of all Worldcoin supply to the development team, a practice known as "premine", has also drawn criticism.

Despite these controversies, Worldcoin continues to promote its technology as a privacy-first protocol with various potential applications. Altman believes that Worldcoin can help reshape the economy in the era of generative AI. He envisions a future where AI "supercharges" people, leading to significant economic implications. One such implication could be the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI), a concept that Altman supports. He suggests that World IDs could help reduce fraud in UBI distribution, as only real people can possess them.

Several major crypto exchanges, including Binance, ByBit, Huobi, OKX, and Gate, have announced the listing of Worldcoin's newly launched WLD token. Binance, the largest of these exchanges, has already enabled deposits for Worldcoin beta participants who received WLD tokens. The token, issued on Ethereum and the popular Layer 2 scaling solution Optimism, began trading on ByBit at $0.3 per coin, before surging to highs of $2.79 within fifteen minutes. The total token supply is 10 billion tokens, giving it a fully diluted value of $25.6 billion at current prices.