OpenAI CEO Launches Worldcoin Crypto Project

The founders said verified private digital identities will be crucial to distinguish humans from AI online.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman addresses a speech during a meeting, at the Station F in Paris on May 26, 2023.(AI). (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)


OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman, along with two co-founders, on Monday, launched the Worldcoin crypto project, saying they aim to grant users a verified digital identity and access to a financial network.

“The Worldcoin Foundation today announced that Worldcoin, a project co-founded by Sam Altman, Alex Blania and Max Novendstern, is now live,” read a statement on Worldcoin’s website.

Worldcoin provides users with a private digital identity — a “World ID” — after they register in person, where an “Orb” imaging device scans their eye’s unique iris pattern to verify they are “a real and unique person,” Worldcoin said.

The founders said verified private digital identities will be crucial to distinguish humans from AI online.

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The company also launched Monday its Worldcoin token, a cryptocurrency now transactable on the blockchain in certain locations, to millions “who participated in the beta,” the statement said.

Worldcoin aims to create the “world’s largest identity and financial public network,” according to its website.

“If successful, we believe Worldcoin could drastically increase economic opportunity, scale a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from AI online while preserving privacy, enable global democratic processes, and eventually show a potential path to AI-funded (universal basic income),” Altman and Blania said in a letter posted to Twitter.

The company spent three years developing the project, and 2 million people signed up for a World ID during its beta testing.

Worldcoin is rolling out 1,500 Orbs in locations across the globe, which will enable millions more to register, according to its website.

“Like any really ambitious project, maybe it works out and maybe it doesn’t, but trying stuff like this is how progress happens,” Altman tweeted.

Blania, too, was cautiously optimistic.

“This is the beginning of a long journey. Especially early on, things will not be perfect. But we hope that with fast iteration, Worldcoin can become an empowering technology layer for every human,” he tweeted.