Source: Worldcoin

The Dubious Ambitions of Worldcoin

In a recent article, Paris Marx has criticized the crypto project, Worldcoin, spearheaded by OpenAI co-founder, Sam Altman. Despite the company’s claim of approximately 2 million people scanning their irises in exchange for crypto tokens, they’re far from their projected 1 billion users by 2023. Worldcoin’s premise revolves around using silver orbs worldwide to scan individual irises, linking these to unique World IDs as an authentication system, aiming to establish a new financial structure and potentially a crypto-backed universal basic income.

However, Marx critiques the project for its centralization, pointing out that while Worldcoin boasts of decentralization, it gathers biometric data under the veil of a firm influenced by major Silicon Valley players. Adding to the skepticism, despite the lofty claims about Worldcoin’s potential, the details of its practical application remain vague.

Source: Worldcoin

The project has been further marred by controversy due to its exploitative trial runs in the Global South, where individuals are lured into scanning their irises for tokens, apparel, or gadgets, often without proper information or fulfillment of promises. Reports suggest that many feel the project is a scam, with the focus merely on harvesting data. Marx implies that Worldcoin seems less concerned about the well-being of these individuals, focusing more on training their systems for a target market in the Global North.

In essence, Marx underscores that Worldcoin’s projected goals of empowerment and decentralization come off as façades, hiding an underlying profit-driven motive. The company’s collection of vast biometric data and their unclear plans on its utilization, coupled with a history of broken promises like in Altman’s OpenAI venture, heighten concerns around the project’s future trajectory and ethical foundation.

Disclaimer: This post is based on personal research and opinion. Always consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

FAQ on Worldcoin

Worldcoin’s FAQ:


  1. What is Worldcoin?
    • Claim: Worldcoin is branded as the world’s largest identity and financial public network, open to everyone.
    • Critical Insight: While the protocol’s aim might be noble, the actual impact, adoption rate, and relevance to every global citizen is still unclear. The terms “world’s largest” might be an overstretch given that it is still in beta.
  2. How do I sign up for World ID?
    • Claim: Users need to meet with a local Worldcoin Operator to verify their unique personhood.
    • Critical Insight: Meeting with an operator in-person could be a hurdle for some users, limiting accessibility. Moreover, the concept of “unique personhood” and how it’s defined or maintained is vague.
  3. How many Worldcoin tokens will I receive?
    • Claim: Verified users can claim 1 free WLD token per week.
    • Critical Insight: Token availability is restricted based on several factors, which could marginalize certain demographics or areas.

Orb & Worldcoin Operators

  1. What is the Orb and why is it necessary?
    • Claim: The Orb determines the uniqueness of a person, asserting that it is the only secure way of doing so.
    • Critical Insight: Depending entirely on a single device for such an essential function may introduce potential risks. Moreover, there’s no clarification on how “uniqueness” is algorithmically determined.
  2. How does the Orb work?
    • Claim: It captures images of an individual’s iris pattern, asserting its uniqueness.
    • Critical Insight: Biometric data is sensitive. Relying solely on iris scans might raise concerns about privacy and potential misuse.
  3. Who are Worldcoin Operators?
    • Claim: They help introduce Worldcoin to communities.
    • Critical Insight: The fact that operators are not employees of the Worldcoin Foundation may raise questions about accountability and professionalism.

Data Privacy & Security

  1. Do you share/sell my data?
    • Claim: Worldcoin promises not to share or sell personal data.
    • Critical Insight: Many companies have made similar promises in the past. It’s essential to scrutinize how Worldcoin plans to monetize and whether user data will truly remain uncompromised.
  2. How does Worldcoin abide by laws regulating biometric data collection?
    • Claim: Worldcoin complies with GDPR and collects biometric data only with user consent.
    • Critical Insight: Compliance doesn’t necessarily guarantee user data’s ethical use. Plus, GDPR is only one of many data protection regulations globally.


  1. Who owns Worldcoin?
    • Claim: Worldcoin is a decentralized open-source protocol supported by a global community.
    • Critical Insight: The roles of the Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity are prominent. The extent of decentralization and the influence of these entities on the project’s trajectory might be worth scrutinizing.
  2. How do I stay up-to-date on the latest Worldcoin developments?
    • Claim: Various channels are suggested.
    • Critical Insight: Relying on the company’s channels for updates may present a biased perspective. It’s always advisable to seek third-party opinions and independent reviews.

This summary provides a more cautious approach to Worldcoin’s FAQ. While the project may have potential benefits, it’s essential to critically examine its claims and functionalities.

11. What is Worldcoin? Worldcoin is a cryptocurrency project founded in 2019 that aims to create a unique form of authentication through iris scanning. This system intends to establish a new financial infrastructure and potentially a crypto-backed universal basic income.

12. How does Worldcoin work? Worldcoin utilizes silver orbs stationed globally to scan individuals’ irises, linking these to unique World IDs. This “proof of personhood” offers an alternative to government-administered authentication systems.

13. How is Worldcoin different from other cryptocurrencies? While other cryptocurrencies rely on private keys or other forms of digital authentication, Worldcoin’s uniqueness lies in its biometric data-based system of authentication.

14. What are the concerns about Worldcoin? Critics raise questions about its centralization, potential misuse of gathered biometric data, and the ethical concerns of trialing its orbs in vulnerable populations in the Global South without clarity or proper communication.

15. Has Worldcoin been successful in its initial claims? While Worldcoin aimed to have a billion users by 2023, it reportedly only reached around 2 million by that time.

16. What is the goal behind scanning irises? Scanning irises aims to create a tamper-proof system of identification. With the growth of AI tools capable of generating fake identities, a biometric solution is seen as a way to verify real humans.

17. How has the project been received in the trial countries? Reports suggest mixed receptions. Some participants hoped for financial benefits, while others expressed privacy concerns or felt that they were not adequately informed about the process and its implications.

18. Is the Worldcoin token available for trade? Yes, participants in the project receive Worldcoin tokens in exchange for iris scans. However, the overall business model and the long-term value of these tokens remain subjects of debate.

19. Who is behind Worldcoin? One of the prominent figures behind Worldcoin is Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI. The project has also received backing from notable entities in Silicon Valley.

20. Does Worldcoin sell the biometric data it collects? As of now, Worldcoin claims they have no intention of selling the biometric data. However, critics express concerns about the potential future use or misuse of this vast data collection.

21. How does Worldcoin address privacy concerns? The company asserts that the biometric data collected is secure and will not be sold. However, details on its long-term plans and potential decentralization have been sparse, leading to continued skepticism.

22. What’s next for Worldcoin? The future trajectory of Worldcoin remains to be seen. With its ambitions, ethical concerns, and the challenges it faces, the project’s direction will likely be shaped by public reception, regulatory stances, and its adaptability to feedback.

According to them, Worldcoin is a digital identification platform that aims to provide each person on earth with a convenient way to verify that they are a real human and not a bot or an AI. You can sign up for World ID by downloading the World App from the App Store or Google Play in countries where it is available. Then follow the prompts to find a local Worldcoin Operator who can verify your unique personhood. Once you receive your World ID in your World App, you can use it in a wide variety of everyday applications without revealing your identity1.

For more information about Worldcoin, you can visit their website 1 or check out their FAQs page 1

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