Over 100,000 people have had their eyes scanned for free cryptocurrency – .

Over 100,000 people have had their eyes scanned for free cryptocurrency – .

Enlarge / People in Chile with Worldcoin’s “Orb” iris scanner.


More than 100,000 people have had their eyes scanned in exchange for a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin, as a project to distribute digital money more widely around the world gains momentum.

Worldcoin has distributed around 30 hardware iris analysis devices, which they call “orbs,” to early adopters on four continents, who receive rewards for signing up more people. Orbs take photos of a user’s eyeballs, creating a unique code that can be used to claim free digital tokens.

The developers of the project said Thursday that they plan to release hundreds of orbs in the coming months and eventually distribute 4,000 devices per month. The team plans to launch the cryptocurrency network early next year and start distributing the tokens at that time. They haven’t said how much cryptocurrency users can expect to receive.

Worldcoin represents one of the most ambitious and complex attempts to distribute cryptocurrency to the world’s population, similar to the economic concept of universal basic income. The project has already been the subject of feverish criticism and its own developers admit that “the outcome is uncertain”.

Worldcoin co-founder Alex Blania has denied that the project invades people’s privacy, saying the orbs convert iris scans into unique strings of letters and numbers before permanently deleting the images.

The resulting code would simply be used to verify if a user has already claimed a share of the Worldcoin tokens.

“Even if I had your iris code in some form or another, I wouldn’t stand a chance of knowing who you really are on the blockchain,” said Blania, referring to the digital ledgers that underpin crypto. -coins. Worldcoin is built on the ethereum blockchain.

Blania said about 130,000 people have signed up for the project so far and the token would be valuable as a technology that can be used for new financial applications.

The team behind Worldcoin has raised $ 25 million in venture capital, including a fundraising round led by Andreessen Horowitz that valued the company, Tools for Humanity, at $ 1 billion.

Sam Altman, former president of start-up accelerator Y Combinator, is also an investor and co-founder of the project. Altman has been a strong supporter of Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing people with free money on a regular basis.

Worldcoin plans to issue 10 billion tokens in total, of which 80% to users, 10% to company investors, and 10% to a foundation for orb making and network development.

Blania said the co-founders and employees will receive a portion of the foundation’s tokens, declining to provide an exact figure. A spokesperson for Worldcoin said the company plans to create the foundation before the network debuts.

Like many cryptocurrency projects, Worldcoin tokens are not backed by any durable assets and their value could fluctuate depending on their popularity.

Worldcoin has estimated that it could reach over a billion people in the network’s first two years of operation, assuming people continue to sign up at current rates and the team meets its distribution targets. ‘orbs.

People who sign up for Worldcoin will receive their full token allocation over time thanks to a pre-planned acquisition schedule, which Blania said was still in development.

Blania said Worldcoin’s payout rate will ultimately depend on the design of the acquisition schedule and the pace of user registrations.

Worldcoin has so far distributed orbs in 12 countries in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia. The most productive orb owner has recruited more than 10,000 people in Chile by hiring 20 people who work in shifts, the company said.

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