Sam Altman, the boss of the artificial intelligence start-up OpenAI, officially launched Monday Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency equipped with an identification system from the human iris. “More than three years ago, we launched (the company, editor’s note) Worldcoin with the ambition of creating a new identity and a financial network belonging to everyone. It starts today,” two of Worldcoin’s co-founders, Sam Altman and Alex Bania, said on the company’s website on Monday.
The Worldcoin project consists of a digital identity platform and a digital currency, "received simply for the fact of being human", according to the site. Concretely, the platform is based on "World ID" (World identity, editor's note), a kind of digital passport that allows its owner to prove his identity online without sharing personal data, according to the founders. To obtain their World identity, the user must submit to a scan of their iris by an “orb”, a biometric device developed by Worldcoin. Users are invited to download WorldApp, a digital wallet, which allows them to receive, from Monday, "Worldcoin token", the cryptocurrency now usable for the millions of users who participated in the beta version of the platform, said Worldcoin.
"If we succeed, we believe Worldcoin could radically create economic opportunities, establish a reliable solution to distinguish human beings from artificial intelligence online while preserving privacy (...) and ultimately be a potential path towards a universal minimum income based on artificial intelligence", judge Sam Altman and Alex Bania on the company's website. "Like any really ambitious project, maybe it works or maybe it doesn't, but try (...), that's how progress happens," said Sam Altman, who rose to prominence with the launch last year of ChatGPT, a so-called generative artificial intelligence interface.
The Worldcoin project has been criticized, in particular by the specialized media BuzzFeed, with fears in particular that the company could use its platform to collect millions of biometric data.