Worldcoin, a new crypto unicorn funded by crypto heavyweights, has revealed its plan to allow anyone to claim free coins in order to accelerate global crypto adoption.
Providing free cryptocurrency to the entire world’s population may sound like a pipe dream, but the Worldcoin project has received $25 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, confirmation1, Blockchange, and Day One Ventures, as well as a $1 billion valuation.
Worldcoin, co-founded by Alex Blania, Sam Altman, and Max Novendstern, attracted over 100,000 people from around the world during its testing period and aims to reach over a billion people within two years. In comparison, as of 2021, there will be over 300 million cryptocurrency users worldwide.
Worldcoin co-founder and CEO Alex Blania told Cointelegraph that the co-founders met in 2019 and began working on the project in early 2020. “Sam believed that if we could launch a new, collectively owned, globally distributed cryptocurrency, we could really change the world for the better,” he explained.
Worldcoin is a cryptocurrency that has been implemented as a Layer 2 on top of the Ethereum blockchain, allowing anyone to create accounts, submit transactions, and participate in the validation process. Its mainnet launch is scheduled for next year.
According to Blania, the inclusive nature of its ecosystem, the distribution of free coins, and the incentives for new sign-ups are three levers driving crypto adoption. Signing up for Worldcoin requires no prior financial resources.
Worldcoin verifies whether a person is genuine and has claimed their free share by scanning their irises with custom hardware known as Orb. As “Orb Operators,” these devices will be operated by independent entrepreneurs all over the world. Blania explained that these operators are compensated for each Worldcoin user they sign up, for example:
“In Indonesia, an Orb Operator partnered with one of the country’s largest food delivery companies to sign up every driver, rented a whole storefront in a shopping mall to capitalize on high foot traffic, and was even invited by the chief of a nearby village to introduce the entire village to Worldcoin.” His experience with this village was so successful that eight other villages approached him to do the same.”
The mere mention of an eye scan elicits Big Brother-style concerns about user privacy. The Orb, according to the announcement, will convert an eye scan into a numeric code so that the original image “does not need to be stored or uploaded.”
To protect users’ privacy, the underlying system will not link this numeric code to their wallets or transactions. Users can also join the Worldcoin network without submitting an eye scan, but they will be unable to claim free coins.
To facilitate the onboarding process, the team is developing a non-custodial mobile wallet app. It would facilitate user transactions and serve as a navigator for locating nearby Orb operators. They intend to quickly scale up to 50,000 Orbs per year, possibly with the upcoming funding rounds in the coming months.