‘s PR push last week wasn’t the first time we’d heard about its bizarre idea, but it was a clear sign that it’s a serious initiative.
As CNBC reported:
Launched out of “stealth” on Thursday, Worldcoin promises to hand out free cryptocurrency to people who verify their accounts by taking an iris scan.
Worldcoin’s concept centres around a ball called 'The Orb’ that scans your eye as ID. If you don’t already have some of Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency, congratulations, now you will and the world is once step closer to being a crypto paradise (or something).
Worldcoin has always seemed to me like two ideas (iris scanning tech and a cryptocurrency for the masses) uncomfortably bolted together. And it certainly sounds like something out of an episode of HBO’s sitcom Silicon Valley.
And yet weirdly, the level of baffled mocking in the tech press is far lower than I expected. Perhaps it’s the fact that respected figure Sam Altman is involved, and the company has raised money from the likes of Adreessen Horowitz. But it’s genuinely surprising that it hasn’t been ripped to shreds with mocking derision.
To be fair, Worldcoin has done a pretty good job of allaying privacy concerns
(including credibly kicking back
against criticism from Edward Snowden), but still ‘let me scan your eyeball and I’ll send you an as-yet unspecified amount of free money’ sounds
scammy even if it might not be, and in the current climate of Silicon Valley scepticism, it’s surprising Worldcoin hasn’t had more blowback in the media.