Worldcoin, the new cryptocurrency project that aims to create a global ID system tied to people’s unique biometric data by scanning everyone’s irises, says its ID system will be open to governments and companies around the world.
LONDON (Reuters) – Worldcoin will expand its operations to sign up more users globally and aims to allow other organisations to use its iris-scanning and identity-verifying technology, a senior manager for the company behind the project told Reuters.
Co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Worldcoin launched last week, requiring users to give their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID and, in some countries, free cryptocurrency as part of plans to create a “identity and financial network”.
In sign-up sites around the world, people have been getting their faces scanned by a shiny spherical “orb”, shrugging off privacy campaigners’ concerns that the biometric data could be misused. Worldcoin says 2.2 million have signed up, mostly during a trial period over the last two years. Data watchdogs in Britain, France and Germany have said they are looking into the project.
Ricardo Macieira, general manager for the company behind Worldcoin, said “we are on this mission of building the biggest financial and identity community that we can.”
Worldcoin was co-founded by Sam Altman, who is also the CEO of OpenAI, the company behind the controversial large language model ChatGPT. The AI mogul previously stated his hopes for the technology to “break capitalism” by enabling the more efficient allocation of resources.
Distinguishing between bots and humans is rising in importance as AI continues to change the tech industry. Using biometric data, as Worldcoin does, is one potential solution — although the challenge for the company will be overcoming privacy concerns.