June 17, 2024

OpenAI’s Sam Altman launches Worldcoin crypto project

July 24 (Reuters) – Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, launched on Monday.

The project’s main offering is its Global ID, an account that only real people can get. To get a World ID, a customer signs up with a personal scan in a magazine using a Worldcoin ‘orb’, a silver ball about the size of a bowling ball. When the orb’s magazine scan confirms that the person is a real person, it creates a Global ID.

The company behind Worldcoin is San Francisco and Berlin-based Tools for Humanity.

The project has 2 million users since its beta period, and with Monday’s launch, Worldcoin is expanding “orbing” operations to 35 cities in 20 countries. As an attraction, those who register in certain WLD countries will receive a Worldcoin cryptocurrency token.

The cryptocurrency aspect of Global IDs is important because cryptocurrency blockchains can store Global IDs in a way that preserves privacy and cannot be controlled or blocked by a single entity, co-founder Alex Blania told Reuters.

The project says Global IDs will be essential in the age of AI-generated chatbots like ChatGPT, which produce highly human-like language. World IDs could be used to tell the difference between real people and AI bots online.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, said it will list Worldcoin and is expected to tentatively open trading on Monday at 0900 GMT.

Altman also told Reuters Worldcoin can help address how the economy will be reshaped with generational AI.

“AI will supercharge humans, which will have huge economic implications,” he said.

One example Altman likes is universal basic income, or UBI, a social benefit program usually run by governments in which everyone is entitled to payments. Because AI”more and more of the work people do now,” Altman believes that UBI can help fight income inequality. Since only real people can have Global IDs, it could be used to reduce fraud when deploying UBI.

Altman said that he thought life with UBI would be “far in the future” and that he did not have a clear idea of ​​which entity could make money happen, but that Worldcoin lays the groundwork to make it happen.

“We think we need to start trying things out so we can figure out what to do,” he said.

Reporting by Anna Tong in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Juby Babu; edited by Kenneth Li and Shri Navaratnam

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Anna Tong is a correspondent for Reuters based in San Francisco, where she reports on the technology industry. She joined Reuters in 2023 after working at the San Francisco Standard as a data editor. Tong previously worked at tech startups as a product manager and at Google where she worked in user insights and helped run a call center. Tong graduated from Harvard University. Contact: 4152373211

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