What is Worldcoin and how does it work?

- 7 minute read

Ted Maas
Ted Maas

✔️Worldcoin is an ambitious project that combines digital identities, artificial intelligence technologies, and universal income to establish a biometric global identity.

✔️WorldID is an integral part of the Worldcoin ecosystem, functioning as a global identity protocol, relying on biometric scanning with the Orb to digitally prove human distinctiveness and humanity.

✔️The project has received criticism and skepticism regarding its digital identity, security, and privacy aspects, but Worldcoin, driven by Sam Altman, aims to shape the future of digital identity and financial transactions.

✔️Worldcoin's WLD token is available for purchase on Anycoin Direct, the first Dutch crypto service to add WLD to its portfolio, providing users with the option to store and buy WLD directly in the Anycoin Vault or have it sent to their personal wallet.

Worldcoin has been trending since it took the stage in the crypto industry. With a name like Sam Altman (one of the founders of OpenAI) behind the coin and concepts like ‘digital identity’ and ‘universal income’ surrounding the project, Worldcoin was bound to attract a lot of attention. But what is Worldcoin? What is the controversy regarding digital identity and what’s this thing about scanning human eyeballs? Let’s dive deeper into the coin, the vision and the tokenomics behind this prestigious project.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Worldcoin?
  2. Who is Sam Altman?
  3. What is WorldID?
  4. The Orb
  5. Tokenomics of Worldcoin
  6. Digital Identity and controversy
  7. Where can I buy Worldcoin?

What is Worldcoin?

Worldcoin is an ambitious project that combines digital identities, artificial intelligence technologies and universal income into one ecosystem. Its goal is to establish a biometric global identity and herald a new way of verification. This may sound like a pretentious combination of all the buzzwords of the last decade, but the name behind the project is not just anybody. Worldcoin and its WLD token are co-founded by OpenAI’s boss Sam Altman. Together with Alex Blania and Max Novendstern, they created Worldcoin. Sam Altman is one of the founders of ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence system that has been taking the world by storm. With his name attached to the project, the coin hit the ground running and became trending upon release. The company responsible for building Worldcoin is "Tools for Humanity" (TFH), which successfully raised $115 million in a Series C funding round led by Blockchain Capital in May 2023. Previous investments came from a16z, Khosla Ventures, and other prominent backers.

At the core of the Worlcoin project are four major components

  1. The creation of a global unique digital identity;
  2. This identity is created by scanning your eyeball with the so called Worldcoin ORB;
  3. A global currency (WLD token);
  4. A WorldApp enabling payments, purchases, decentralized applications and transfers using the WLD token alongside other cryptocurrencies and traditional assets.

Worldcoin aims to tackle income inequality with its innovative "WorldID" feature, serving as "proof-of-personhood." You receive income for ‘just being human’. After two years of development, the project was finally launched on July 24, 2023. Worldcoin operates as an open-source, decentralized protocol, driven by a global community of developers and technologists. It aims to achieve self-sufficiency and uphold a truly decentralized vision. In their own words:

“We believe in the inherent worth and equality of every individual, the right to personal privacy, with open and public collaboration.”

Now you might be thinking, digital identity? Scanning your eyeballs? Some of these aspects may sound like a dystopian nightmare and that is also the reason why Worldcoin has also been receiving some criticism. In terms of privacy and security, the digital identity is an ambitious project to put it mildly. Nevertheless, the Sam Altman and the team of Worldcoin envision a new financial system and a new way of verifying yourself and therefore, risks must be taken. Sam Altman’s ChatGPT didn’t arrive instantly on the tech scene. The project took years and years of development and multiple versions.

Who is Sam Altman?

You have been living under a rock if you have not heard about ChatGPT. The artificial intelligence program has been the talk of the town in the last twelve months. It’s co-founder, Sam Altman became the top dog in the tech industry. But before he became the famous with OpenAI, Altman had quite the resume already. Let’s take a look at his past.

Sam Altman is an American entrepreneur and investor who was already known for his contributions to the tech industry. Born on April 22, 1985, he gained experience as the former president of Y Combinator, a prestigious startup accelerator and seed capital firm located in Silicon Valley, California. During his tenure at Y Combinator, which began in 2011, Altman played a pivotal role in guiding and nurturing numerous early-stage startups, propelling them to success. His strategic leadership and mentorship have been instrumental in shaping the trajectory of many innovative companies. Beyond his work at Y Combinator, Sam Altman has also co-founded various startups and made significant investments in technology companies through his venture capital fund, Y Combinator Continuity.

With a strong focus on the future and emerging technologies, Altman focused on the entrepreneurial landscape. With co-founding experience and successful investments in companies like Airbnb, Reddit, and Stripe, Altman has proven his keen eye for promising ventures. His biggest hit would be ChatGPT. For those who do not know, let’s ask ChatGPT itself what it is:

“ChatGPT is an advanced language model developed by OpenAI, based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. It is a powerful AI system capable of understanding and generating human-like text responses. Trained on vast amounts of diverse data, ChatGPT can answer questions, provide explanations, and engage in natural language conversations on a wide range of topics. Its versatility makes it valuable for various applications, including customer support, content generation, language translation, and more, offering a seamless interaction between humans and machines.”

Sam Altman is the chief executive at OpenAI and the face of the company. With the launch of ChatGPT and Worldcoin, the guy hasn’t been sitting still these last few years.  

What is WorldID?

WorldID is an integral part of the Worldcoin ecosystem. It functions as a global identity protocol, ensuring privacy, decentralization, and openness. It relies on a unique AI-safe Proof of Personhood (PoP) credential, which is obtained through the use of a specialized biometric scanning device known as the Orb. This new cutting-edge technology allows individuals to digitally prove their distinctiveness and humanity.

Comparable to a global digital passport, WorldID wants to offer a secure and private means for individuals to authenticate their human identity online. Besides the identity aspect, it will also function as your digital wallet. Worldcoin believes that an authentic digital identity will become more important as we will transition to a world where the difference between humans and AI becomes increasingly challenging.

But you have to take some steps to obtain a WorldID. You have to download the ‘World App’ which is developed by Tools for Humanity, a contributor to the ecosystem. Once downloaded, you need to create your WorldID with a unique verification process. The verification process requires a visit to an Orb location, where your uniqueness and humanness are confirmed through iris biometrics. Simply put, an eye scan. This meticulous procedure ensures that a WorldID is tied and connected to one individual and one individual only.

The Orb

At the core of Worldcoin lies the concept of "proof-of-personhood," established through the use of the Orb, an eye-scanning device. In a future dominated by artificial intelligence, verifying one's identity will become crucial, and the Orb plays a pivotal role in this process. The white paper emphasizes the need for specialized biometric gear, such as the Orb, to provide AI-safe proof-of-personhood verifications.

The Orb itself is a special silver ball, roughly the size of a bowling ball, and is used to conduct in-person iris scans. By scanning a person's iris, the Orb confirms their human identification and generates their unique WorldID. This approach aims to establish a robust and secure global identity system in an increasingly AI-driven world.

To participate in the Worldcoin ecosystem, individuals must undergo a scan from the Orb, regardless of their location or background. There are currently 107 "Orbing" centers in 35 countries and counting. As of this moment, over 2 million people have scanned their irises and have obtained a WorldID. People that have scanned their eyeball will receive rewards in the form of WLD coins, mimicking the concept of universal income for simply ‘being human’.

Tokenomics of Worldcoin

The Tokenomics of Worldcoin have an air of mystery surrounding it, which can be seen as a bad thing in a sector where transparency is key. What we currently know is the following: The Worldcoin Protocol has designed a capped supply of 10 billion WLD tokens for a 15-year period. However, after this timeframe, the governance committee will possess the authority to decide whether to increase the token supply, with a maximum annual rate of 1.5% (default rate set at 0%). The allocation and distribution of these newly minted tokens within the network will also be determined by the governance team.

75% of the tokens are allocated to the community, 9.8% to the initial development team, 13.5% to investors of Tools for Humanity, and 1.7% set aside in reserve. As we already mentioned, there are still certain aspects that are uncertain regarding this ‘governance committee’. Keep this distribution plan in mind when purchasing WLD!

Digital Identity and controversy

Which brings us to the next topic. The controversy and skepticism surrounding the WorldID. A lot of people place parallels between CBDC’s and China’s social credit systems. Another hot topic is the security and privacy issues surrounding the Worldcoin project. Sam Altman and his team talk a lot about the importance of their security measures, but the consequences of a data breach can be catastrophic with this project. Your wallet and coins being compromised would be the least of your concerns when identity theft is a possibility. Industry leaders have talked about the ambitious plans of Worldcoin, but also talked about their concerns regarding this concept. Let’s take a look at some examples of criticism the project has received:

That being said, with so many crypto projects on the market, a project as ambitious as Worldcoin can be seen as refreshing after years of memecoins and projects with dubious people behind it. Sam Altman certainly has made its mark on the tech industry in the last few years and his passion project Worldcoin might shape up to be the future of digital identity and financial transactions. Only the future decides which way the coin flips.

Where can I buy Worldcoin?

Have you become interested in WLD after reading this article? Anycoin Direct was the first Dutch crypto service to add WLD to its portfolio. Worldcoin WLD is available on Anycoin Direct and can be stored and bought directly in the Anycoin Vault . In addition, you can also decide to purchase WLD and have it sent to your personal wallet. The choice is yours.