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Worldcoin: What Is It, How Does It Work & Criticism And Concerns Over Its Ambitious Goals And Practices

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Worldcoin

(CTN NEWS) – After an extensive three-year development phase, the digital ID platform known as Worldcoin was officially launched on Monday. Sam Altman, the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, played a key role in bringing Worldcoin to life.

The platform’s primary objective is to offer users a verified digital identity along with a specially designed cryptocurrency token called Worldcoin (WLD) and a crypto wallet app.

Worldcoin highlights that the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence have created a challenge in distinguishing content originating from real humans or AI entities on the internet.

To address this confusion, the company proposes the implementation of a digital passport system based on what it terms “proof of personhood.”

In a tweet, Sam Altman explained the core mission: “The goal is simple: A global financial and identity network based on proof of personhood.

This feels especially important in the AI era. I’m hopeful Worldcoin can contribute to conversations about how we share access, benefits, and governance of future AI systems.”

Worldcoin’s platform verifies a user’s identity through iris scanning, creating personalized and secure identification codes.

These codes are stored on a decentralized blockchain, ensuring they cannot be duplicated or manipulated to generate false identities or facilitate fraudulent activities.

During its beta testing phase, the company successfully onboarded more than 2 million users. Now, Worldcoin plans to expand scanning operations to numerous cities in 20 countries worldwide.

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What Is Worldcoin?

Worldcoin, a digital ID platform, has a crucial mission: to offer a convenient and reliable way for individuals worldwide to verify their humanity and distinguish themselves from bots or AI algorithms.

Tools for Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin, was co-founded by Altman, renowned for creating ChatGPT. Ironically, Altman’s involvement in fueling the current AI gold rush has contributed to exacerbating the very issue that Worldcoin aims to address.

Worldcoin has developed its digital passport system by leveraging cryptographic and blockchain tools commonly used in the cryptocurrency realm. Alongside this system, it also supports the WLD crypto token and a payments platform.

How Does Worldcoin Work?

World ID: Verifying Humanness with Privacy

At the core of Worldcoin’s platform lies “World ID,” a revolutionary concept that allows users to verify their humanness online while safeguarding their privacy. This unique “proof of personhood” is created through the use of the Orb, an iris-scanning device.

World ID Creation: The IrisCode

The Orb scans a user’s iris, capturing its distinct pattern, and generates an exclusive identification code known as the IrisCode.

Unlike conventional identification methods, the IrisCode remains detached from personal information, ensuring that each user possesses only one World ID.

Efficient and Secure Process

After iris scanning and anonymous IrisCode creation, the Orb issues the World ID while permanently deleting the iris image. Crucially, users are not required to undergo iris scanning repeatedly for identity verification.

Each World ID is then stored on the Worldcoin blockchain, and users utilize a cryptographically secure app for identification purposes.

World ID Reach: Global Presence

Worldcoin’s Orbs are already available in numerous cities worldwide, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Paris, Lisbon, Mexico City, São Paulo, Nairobi, New York, and San Francisco, among others.

World App: Preserving Privacy and Empowering Access

The “World App” serves as a repository for users’ World IDs, safeguarding privacy while granting access to an expanding range of decentralized finance applications.

Beyond being a crypto wallet, the app’s primary function is to securely store user credentials for seamless verification on third-party applications.

Wide Crypto Support

In addition to World IDs, the app supports popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDC, with plans to incorporate more cryptocurrencies in the future.

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WLD Cryptocurrency Token: Unleashing Platform Benefits

Upon World ID creation and World App download, users gain access to the WLD cryptocurrency token.

Distribution and Trading

WLD was initially distributed to beta program participants and received a substantial airdrop during the platform’s official launch. Major exchanges like KuCoin and Binance have listed WLD for trading.

Total Supply and Circulation

According to the Worldcoin white paper, a total of 10 billion WLD will be issued over 15 years. Currently, there are 143 million WLD in circulation, with 43 million allocated to verified World App users and 100 million distributed to market makers to facilitate trading.

Worldcoin Faces Criticism and Concerns Over Its Ambitious Goals and Practices

Since its launch, Worldcoin has encountered significant criticism and skepticism regarding its ambitious objectives and questionable methods.

Vitalik Buterin’s Concerns

Notably, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin voiced his reservations about Worldcoin in a blog post. He raised concerns over the potential information harvested through iris scans, suggesting that the company may not be fully transparent about its data collection practices.

Furthermore, Buterin expressed worries that someone could exploit the iris scanning system to ascertain whether an individual possesses a World ID.

MIT Technology Review’s Allegations

An article published in April 2022 by MIT Technology Review accused Worldcoin of employing deceptive marketing tactics, undisclosed data collection practices, and inadequate informed consent procedures.

The allegations cast doubt on the platform’s commitment to safeguarding user privacy.

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Worldcoin’s Rebuttal

In response to the MIT Technology Review’s criticisms, Worldcoin issued a comprehensive 25-page rebuttal. The company vehemently denied being a data-centric enterprise and emphasized that their business model does not involve exploiting or selling users’ personal data.

According to Worldcoin, their sole interest lies in verifying a user’s uniqueness, ensuring they have not previously signed up for the platform, rather than identifying their personal information.

Criticism Regarding Platform Promotion in Developing Regions

Worldcoin faced additional scrutiny for heavily promoting its platform in the developing world. A significant number of new users, particularly from Asia and Africa, raised concerns about potential exploitation and ethical implications of such targeted outreach.

Controversial Investment by Sam Bankman-Fried

Adding to the controversy, Worldcoin received investment in an early funding round from Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX.

The association with a figure known for the failure of a prominent crypto exchange raised eyebrows within the community.

Despite the criticism and controversies, Worldcoin continues to forge ahead with its mission to provide a verified digital identity to individuals worldwide, while grappling with the need to address concerns raised by industry experts and the public.

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