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Worldcoin's WLD Token Launches Amidst Excitement and Concerns

Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin raises concerns about Worldcoin's "Proof-of-Personhood" authentication system.

Sam Altman's Worldcoin launch yields praise and concern.
Creator: Athitat Shinagowin/EyeEm | Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Worldcoin, the crypto project founded by Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, made headlines on Monday with the launch of its WLD token and mainnet. The announcement, which came via Twitter, had been eagerly anticipated after the company ramped up expectations over the weekend.

Worldcoin Token and Mainnet Launch

Semafor first reported the news, and the launch was initially under embargo before going public.

Excitement and anticipation reached a peak on Sunday when Worldcoin prompted users to update their mobile app, temporarily blocking functionality with a message indicating the launch date and time. The result was a significant surge in WLD's value on various crypto exchanges, with CoinGecko data showing a gain of over 20%.

Biometric Verification via Orb Device

One of the key features accompanying the launch is the release of the Worldcoin software development kit (SDK). This SDK allows developers to build tools and applications using the World ID, which is the project's unique identity protocol. To achieve full verification on the platform, users are required to scan their irises using Orb, a specially designed device that creates a secure and anonymous identifier without storing any personal data locally.

The SDK had previously been available in beta mode, with verified users being able to participate in four token airdrops. According to Tiago Sada, head of product, engineering & design at Tools for Humanity, the startup behind Worldcoin, beta tokens will now be converted, giving users the freedom to utilize them within the World App or move them to other platforms. It's important to note that the token is based on the Ethereum ERC-20 design, offering additional possibilities for developers within the crypto ecosystem.

Vitalik Buterin Concerned Over User Authentication

However, the use of biometric verification and the "Proof-of-Personhood" (PoP) system employed by Worldcoin have raised concerns. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, recently voiced his apprehensions about Worldcoin's user authentication process in a blog post. Buterin outlined four major concerns regarding privacy, accessibility, centralization, and security.

The PoP system relies on iris scans obtained through the Orb device. Buterin pointed out that this method may inadvertently leak information, potentially enabling unauthorized access to users' data. Additionally, the limited availability of the Orb device may hinder broader adoption of World IDs.

Another security concern raised by Buterin is the potential for a backdoor to be inserted into the system, which could compromise the authenticity of World IDs and lead to the creation of fake human identities. Moreover, Buterin highlighted that user privacy could still be at risk if hackers gain access to individuals' phones and coerce them into providing their iris scans.

Worldcoin's response to these concerns has been to stress its compliance with local regulations in all markets where the Orb is available. However, the lack of regulatory clarity in the United States has led to the exclusion of U.S. citizens from accessing the token, although they can still obtain a verified World ID.

Series C Funding

Despite these concerns, Worldcoin's mainnet launch generated significant market interest, reflected in the spike of WLD's value on major crypto exchanges. The project's migration to the Optimism network and the planned global expansion of Orb availability suggest that Worldcoin is determined to make strides in the crypto space.

Worldcoin's recent success has been bolstered by a $115 million Series C funding round in May, led by Blockchain Capital with participation from a16z, Bain Capital Crypto, and Distributed Global. The project aims to address the challenges posed by its PoP system and continue to grow its global user base in the coming months.

While Worldcoin faces scrutiny over its user authentication method, the project's launch has undeniably made a significant impact on the crypto community, leaving stakeholders eager to see how the platform evolves and addresses the concerns raised by industry leaders like Vitalik Buterin.


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