Worldcoin Prepares for Mainnet Launch with Developer Preview

Worldcoin, co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is advancing toward its mainnet launch with a developer preview, aiming to integrate biometric verification for secure digital identity.

China is leading the global charge in generative AI usage, according to a survey by SAS and Coleman Parkes Research, while Worldcoin, the biometric cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, continues to expand its influence with strategic appointments and developer previews. 

Worldcoin Nears Mainnet Launch with Developer Preview Rollout

Worldcoin, the ambitious cryptocurrency and digital identity project co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is taking significant strides toward its mainnet launch with the introduction of a blockchain preview for developers. This move, announced on July 9 by the Worldcoin Foundation, offers global developers an early chance to build on the World Chain before its official launch.

The World Chain developer preview provides a unique opportunity for developers to deploy infrastructure on a "gated mainnet," bypassing the traditional testnet phase. Remco Bloemen, head of protocol at the Worldcoin Foundation, highlighted the significance of this approach. "OP Stack has seen plenty of testing already — we know it works," Bloemen explained, referring to the open-source development framework maintained by the Optimism Collective.

Developers interested in accessing the preview can apply through Worldcoin’s developer tools portal, Tools for Humanity. This initiative is set to accelerate the development process and ensure a robust launch of the World Chain mainnet.

The Worldcoin Foundation has been actively supporting Optimism and the Superchain since mid-2023. In less than a year, Worldcoin user transactions have surged, accounting for approximately 50% of OP mainnet's activity, making it the largest application on the network. This rapid growth signals the project’s potential and the community’s enthusiasm for its innovative approach.

Expected to fully launch in 2024, World Chain aims to revolutionize digital identity and financial transactions. Integrated with Worldcoin’s identity protocol, World ID, the blockchain is designed to facilitate real human transactions. The project envisions a global economy where the universal World ID serves as a digital passport, enabling seamless interaction regardless of geographical or economic barriers.

Worldcoin's mission, launched officially in July 2023 after three years of development, revolves around distinguishing humans from AI. This is achieved through an iris scan, a method known as intelligent retrieval information system. Post-scan, individuals receive a World ID, confirming their human identity in the digital world.

Global Reach and Accessibility

Upon the mainnet launch, World Chain is expected to reach over 10 million users across 160 countries, allowing them to engage with on-chain applications via compatible wallets, starting with the World App from Tools for Humanity. Bloemen emphasized the advantages of World Chain’s infrastructure, noting its scalable and cost-effective transactions, as well as its compatibility and interoperability with existing systems.

“Being an Ethereum Virtual Machine chain, layer 2 to Ethereum and Superchain member, it is trivial to migrate existing projects and develop new ones using all the existing tooling,” Bloemen stated. He also highlighted the focus on real-world utility, with decentralized financial and identity apps designed for everyday use.

A distinctive feature of World Chain is its prioritization system for human transactions. While the network remains permissionless, transactions initiated by verified humans will receive faster confirmation times. This approach not only enhances user experience but also aligns with Worldcoin’s broader mission of ensuring Sybil resistance and promoting genuine human interactions.

As Worldcoin inches closer to its mainnet launch, the anticipation within the developer and user communities continues to build. The project’s innovative blend of digital identity verification and blockchain technology promises to create a more inclusive and secure digital ecosystem. By leveraging the strengths of Ethereum and the Optimism Collective, Worldcoin is poised to set new standards in the cryptocurrency and digital identity space.

With its commitment to real-world utility and global accessibility, Worldcoin stands at the forefront of a new era in digital transactions and identity verification. The upcoming mainnet launch will be a significant milestone, potentially transforming how individuals interact with digital systems and paving the way for a more connected and equitable global economy.

Elliott Suthers Joins Worldcoin as Head of Communications for EMEA

Meanwhile, Elliott Suthers, the former head of corporate communications at Coinbase, has taken on a new role as head of communications for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Worldcoin

Suthers, who joined Coinbase in 2018, played a pivotal role in the company's communication strategy during its transformative journey from a startup to a publicly traded company. His extensive background in corporate communications and government policy in Washington, D.C., positions him well for his new role at Worldcoin. Suthers' transition to Worldcoin marks a significant step for the project, as it seeks to expand its influence and operational footprint in the EMEA region.

Worldcoin has garnered both interest and controversy with its unique approach to digital identity verification. Central to its operations is the "orb," a chrome sphere designed to scan individuals' irises to confirm their humanity. This biometric verification ensures that Worldcoin users are real people, not bots or AI-driven entities. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly intertwined with sophisticated AI, distinguishing human interactions from automated ones is crucial.

Suthers emphasized the significance of this technology in a recent email: "No project in the world today has the potential to distinguish humans from AI online while preserving privacy, enable global democratic processes, and eventually show a potential path for programs like AI-funded UBI (Universal Basic Income)." This vision reflects Worldcoin's ambition to impact not just millions but billions of people globally.

Worldcoin's orb has been a point of contention due to its method of biometric data collection. Critics argue that such data harvesting could pose privacy risks, while proponents highlight its potential to create a more secure and verifiable digital identity system. The orb’s design and functionality aim to ensure that every account holder is a genuine human being, a feature increasingly vital as AI technologies advance.

Suthers is acutely aware of the project's divisive nature but remains optimistic about its potential. "Most crypto projects think about their customer base in the thousands, or maybe in the millions for an exchange or DEX," he said. "Worldcoin is thinking about how it can help billions of people globally."

A New Frontier for Crypto and AI

Worldcoin's integration of biometric data with blockchain technology represents a significant innovation in both fields. The project’s ability to verify human identity online has far-reaching implications, particularly in preserving privacy and enabling democratic processes on a global scale. Additionally, the concept of AI-funded UBI suggests a future where AI-driven wealth generation could be distributed equitably among verified individuals.

With Suthers at the helm of communications for EMEA, Worldcoin is poised to strengthen its presence and influence in the region. His experience at Coinbase, particularly in navigating the complexities of becoming a public company, will be invaluable as Worldcoin seeks to establish itself as a leader in the biometric crypto space.

The EMEA region presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges for Worldcoin. Diverse regulatory landscapes, varying levels of technological adoption, and different cultural attitudes toward privacy and biometric data will all play a role in the project's expansion. Suthers' expertise in corporate communications and policy will be crucial in addressing these challenges and effectively communicating Worldcoin's vision and benefits to a broad audience.

China Leads in Generative AI Usage and Investment, Reveals New Survey

In a related development, a recent survey conducted by SAS and Coleman Parkes Research shows that China has emerged as a global leader in the usage and investment in generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology. 

The survey, which involved 1,600 decision-makers across various global industries, revealed that 83% of respondents in China admitted to using generative AI technology, surpassing other major economies.

The survey data, released on July 9 by the United States-based AI and analytics software company SAS, highlighted significant generative AI adoption rates in other countries as well. In the United Kingdom, 70% of respondents reported using generative AI, while in the United States, a country known for its advanced AI models, the adoption rate stood at 65%. The global average was around 54%, with industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, and energy showing the highest adoption rates.

Despite China’s high adoption rates, Stephen Saw, managing director at Coleman Parkes, pointed out that this does not necessarily equate to effective implementation or better returns. “Although China is a leader in the use of certain technologies, it does not dominate the field of fully implemented generative AI,” Saw noted. The survey indicated that organizations in the US lead in the effective implementation of generative AI, with 24% compared to 19% in China and 11% in the UK.

Bryan Harris, executive vice president and chief technology officer at SAS, emphasized that new technologies, including generative AI, undergo a "discovery phase" where organizations must distinguish hype from reality. He stated, “As we exit the hype cycle, it is now about purposefully implementing and delivering repeatable and trusted business results from GenAI.”

China’s progress in generative AI comes despite significant restrictions on access to technology created in the US or by US-based companies, such as high-power semiconductor chips produced by Nvidia. These limitations have not deterred China’s bullish stance on AI development. The country continues to push forward, as evidenced by its dominance in filing generative AI-related patents.

Patent Filings and Unicorn Startups

According to a report from the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization, China leads the world in filing generative AI-related patents. Between 2014 and 2023, China filed over 38,000 patents related to generative AI technology, significantly outpacing the US, which filed just 6,276 patents in the same period.

China's aggressive investment in AI has also led to the rise of several generative AI startups. In May, four Chinese startups specializing in generative AI achieved unicorn status, each surpassing a $1 billion valuation. This rapid growth underscores China’s commitment to advancing AI technology and integrating it into various sectors.

China's integration of generative AI extends beyond patents and startups. The technology has been incorporated into everyday applications, such as the e-payments platform AliPay. AliPay’s use of generative AI includes features that can reportedly detect when users are balding, showcasing the diverse and innovative applications of the technology.