New competition for bitcoin. OpenAI chief launches Worldcoin

24. 07. 2023 | Kristýna Bezděková

Bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies, of course – have new competition. One of today’s biggest IT celebrities, namely OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, is behind the ambitious project called Worldcoin. He was the man behind the birth of the ChatGPT phenomenon.

Altman himself presents Worldcoin as “a cryptocurrency with a revolutionary approach”. Unlike bitcoin, it seeks to combat any kind of anonymity. Thus, those interested in this new digital currency must first set up a so-called World ID account. To set one up, they need to register the user’s real details and even have their irises scanned.

Such stringent security measures are designed to ensure that all members of this cryptocurrency network are real people. This should completely minimize the possibility of abuse, as Reuters noted.

“Cryptocurrencies have only reached three percent of the world’s population. Our project wants to get cryptocurrency to new users, to become a truly global currency. The more people hold and use the same currency, the more useful that currency is to each participant,” Altman said.

Although Altman essentially acts as an IT celebrity for the company, the company behind Worldcoin is Tools for Humanity, which is based in San Francisco and Berlin. Since the launch of the trial version, the project has already gained more than two million users.
The “fair cryptocurrency”, as the creators also call the novelty, envisions that every person in the world should be able to get their share of Worldcoin. The idea is that people will divide 80% of the virtual coins among themselves and the remaining 20% will then be used for the needs of the parent organization and its investors.

This is one of the reasons why irises are captured, so that no one can reapply for their share, for example. The scanning process is quite sophisticated, using a special sphere that can verify the authenticity and uniqueness of the iris. Only on the basis of this is a World ID then created, which is essentially a ticket to the world of Worldcoin.
With the official launch starting Monday, the creators are expanding to 35 more cities and 20 more countries where irises can be scanned in this way. But the Czech Republic is not among them.

It is too early to estimate whether the project will take off and really threaten bitcoin’s dominance. However, the organisation wants to have a billion irises scanned before the end of this year.

One of the key aspects of the World ID project is its foundation in blockchain. This allows accounts and virtual funds to be stored in a similar way to other cryptocurrencies so that no central entity can influence them.


Author of this article

Kristýna Bezděková

Kristýna is a student of marketing and communication in an undergraduate program. She writes and translates content into the Czech language


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