Famous Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, formerly CEO of Y Combinator, is now involved in a pioneering plan to help implement cryptocurrencies in the global economy, while creating a universal personal identification system. Through his new startup, Worldcoin, he plans to offer digital coins in exchange for the iris biometrics of as many individuals as the company can reach.
The device that will do the work has an orb shape and scans the iris to build a unique personal identifier for each person. THE Bloomberg had access to privileged information from within the ambitious project, which has already raised around US$ 25 million in investments.
According to Altman, the idea emerged in late 2019 and his intention is to use cryptocurrencies to distribute money as widely as possible and help implement this technology in global economies. Worldcoin wants to develop a special digital currency for the project. Through it, participants would be financially compensated for having their irises scanned in order to create a universal personal identifier.
In this sense, cryptocurrencies have become the best choice to more easily reach the greatest number of people, but Worldcoin is still researching how to reach the portion of the population that is disconnected. While their own digital currency is not ready, volunteers are mainly being compensated with bitcoin (BTC).
Global redistribution of wealth through cryptocurrencies
Altman was one of the three founders of Worldcoin, but currently does not have a defined role in the company’s day-to-day operations, acting primarily as a consultant. “I’m very interested in things like universal basic income, what’s going to happen with the global redistribution of wealth and how we can do that better,” he told Bloomberg. “Is there a way we can use technology to do this on a global scale?”
Another co-founder of Worldcoin is Alexander Biania, and he is working with Altman on this project. At this point, the company is still preparing for a formal presentation of the project and considering all the difficulties. “Many people around the world still do not have full access to the financial systems”, said Biania. “Cryptocurrencies have the potential to lead us to them.”
Thus, Worldcoin’s promise is “a new global digital currency that will be launched by giving every person on earth a stake”. The startup also describes that its goal is to help transition from economies around the world to cryptocurrencies through an innovative approach: “a dedicated hardware device that guarantees the humanity and exclusivity of everyone who signs up, while maintaining their privacy and general transparency in a private blockchain”.
Personal Biometric Identification System
Biania also gave more details about the device: spherical, silver and the size of a basketball. According to the executive, the device can be easily transported and used to scan the irises of people around the world, creating an unprecedented database of biometric identifiers.
Tests have already started, still on a small scale, but already taking place in multiple cities. Biania and Altman did not specify which and in which countries. However, they confirmed that there are at least 20 prototypes circulating around the world. Initially, the device is expensive to produce, each costing about $5,000, but Worldcoin says the expense will drop dramatically as they refine their manufacturing process.
As much as the project’s central goal is universal income distribution and digitization of money around the world, blockchain personal biometric identification technology was born out of the need for identity verification.
Biania explained that the plan should avoid as much as possible fraud in the system, even though the collection of this type of information entails many privacy issues. However, he guarantees that Worldcoin will make the entire process as transparent as possible so that everyone knows how and where their data will be used. According to the executive, each scan will generate a unique numeric code linked to the person’s iris, but the image files will be deleted, not stored.
With information: Bloomberg