Our experts tell you what you need to know about Sam Altman’s blockchain project Worldcoin. And who supports it financially, and when it will have its own token
In addition to leading the development of ChatGPT and GPT-4. Sam Altman, head of OpenAI, is also a co-founder of Tools for Humanity. It creates technologies for the blockchain project Worldcoin. And its tokens will be distributed among users in a rather unusual way.
According to the developers’ plans, the future WLD token will be issued to those who will be identified by iris scanning. The company’s own device called Orb scans the eye. And based on that, creates a digital World ID for the user. And which can be used “in a wide range of everyday applications without revealing identity.”
About 2 million people are already expecting to receive their share from this airdrop of Worldcoin tokens
Airdrop was planned back in the first quarter of this year, but was later postponed. However, this project has big ambitions.
“Once launched, we will begin to rapidly expand market by market, connecting more and more people,” reads a presentation distributed to potential investors in the project late last year.
In May, the project said it had raised $115 million in an investment round. Which was led by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm focused on the crypto market. For it, this is the second largest investment package, second only to investments in Matter Labs, the developer of the zkSync solution.
Worldcoin as a project consists of several components
First is Tools for Humanity, co-founded in 2020 by Alex Blania, Max Novendstern and Sam Altman. Acting as the lead developer of the Worldcoin project. Tho the company has raised over $240 million to date from venture capital funds including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Tiger Global, Khosla Ventures and the venture capital arm of the Coinbase exchange.
Worldcoin is now valued at $3 billion at the end of its latest fundraising. This is the same amount as in March 2022, when the company raised the first $100 million. Previously, the project was funded by Khosla Ventures, crypto fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z crypto) and the founder of the bankrupt FTX exchange Sam Bankman-Fried. Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital joined the board of directors of Tools for Humanity after the new investment round closed. And a16z crypto managing partner Chris Dixon has joined as an observer.
Sam Altman is the co-founder of Worldcoin. His main contribution to the project is to create a strategy for how best to scale it.
“Internally, we call it the Sam Altman effect,” Blockchain Capital’s Bogart wrote in a comment to The Block. “Focus on scaling. Everything else is irrelevant,” he quoted Altman as saying.
Structure and products of Worldcoin
Worldcoin also has a non-profit foundation, the Worldcoin Foundation, registered in the Cayman Islands. According to its website. It is engaged in “protocol support and development of the Worldcoin community until the community becomes self-sufficient”. The foundation is a step toward creating a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) under Worldcoin. Worldcoin’s website states that the foundation is designed to “enable prioritization of the protocol based on DAO decisions.” Next steps, according to the description, include transferring intellectual property to the fund. And a grant program for developers.
As for the product, there’s World ID, an identification protocol. And with which people can prove their identity on the Web. It’s also a proprietary software creation package, the World app. Which allows you to manage the confirmed ID and a number of cryptocurrencies and, the actual token Worldcoin. All of these tools, with the exception of the token, appeared earlier this year.
A company called Tools for Humanity is responsible for the app. And it is likely that in the future it will earn on commissions on transactions or exchanges within the wallet. According to the company, by May this year, more than 500,000 people used the app at least once a month.
Black market accounts
Worldcoin’s chosen method of token distribution is that. People are asked to prove their identity by scanning their retinas with an Orb device. In March, Worldcoin struck a deal with manufacturer Jabil to ramp up production of its devices. According to The Block’s sources, Worldcoin could produce up to 400 Orb per month.
Worldcoin has an operator program where companies are paid in stablecoins. For performing eye scanning procedures on volunteers. So far, about 2 million people have joined the program. And mostly in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe. For example, in Kenya, by December last year, about 250 thousand people were registered. And only 45 devices were in circulation among operators in the country.
However, Worldcoin faced a black market of verified accounts. In May, there were reports that in China, where it is still impossible to register in Worldcoin. People are now buying iris scans taken in Cambodia and Africa for as little as $30. The buyers were probably expecting to get airdrop tokens. Which, when released on crypto exchanges, could return on their investment many times over.
The company then took a number of steps to try and address this issue. And including “adjusting the initial in-person registration process” and introducing dynamic and static QR codes.
Token and Airdrop
The token launch is a watershed moment for the project. Airdrop has already been postponed multiple times. A Worldcoin spokesperson told The Block that the exact launch date will be chosen by the Worldcoin Foundation. According to his other source of the publication, the launch is expected soon. And possibly as early as the third quarter of this year.
In exchange for eyeball scans, registered users will receive Worldcoin tokens. In investor documents published last December, it is assumed. That users will be able to request tokens every week. And their total number will decrease over time.
The same document reveals more details about the future tokenization of the project. Our experts note that the total number of WLD tokens will be 10 billion pieces. And of which 80% will be intended for users, operators and ecosystem. And 20% – for the Worldcoin team and investors. The tokens of team members and investors will be unlocked gradually over three years. The developers also intend to make WLD a governance token. That is, to give holders the ability to vote on proposals in the DAO. WLD tokens will not be available in the US and other countries.
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