As OpenAI and Microsoft sort out who’s going to be on whose payroll, the iris-scanning biometric project Worldcoin—co-founded by Sam Altman—has remained quiet. And its WLD token, which it launched just six months ago, has dropped 11%, according to CoinGecko.
At the time of writing, WLD is trading at $2.22 per token. The price has been volatile since Altman left OpenAI abruptly on Friday, falling as low as $1.84 on Saturday and rising to $2.65 in the past 24 hours.
Worldcoin did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.
Even though Worldcoin has yet to directly comment on the leadership changes at OpenAI, it did reiterate its credo on Saturday in a Twitter post, accompanied by a video of its founders. “Here’s to the greatest technological, economic & productivity boom since the internet,” the company tweeted. “Back to building a more human internet & a more accessible global economy in the age of AI,” it later added—its only comments since the drama began.
The biometric cryptocurrency project was developed by San Francisco- and Berlin-based Tools for Humanity. It was founded in 2019 by Altman, Max Novendstern, and Alex Blania. Worldcoin made a huge splash when it debuted—not only for its Black Mirror-esque, eye-ball scanning tech, but for the backing it received from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The project raised a whopping $115 million in May.
In its own words, Worldcoin set out to create a biometric database that would distinguish between humans and AI and potentially provide a path to AI-funded universal basic income (UBI). The WLD distribution allocates 75% of the 10 billion tokens to its community—people who’ve allowed the project to scan their irises. The initial development team receives 9.5%, Tools for Humanity investors get 13.5%, and 2% serves as a reserve.
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Worldcoin launched July 24, 2023, with a user base of two million from its beta phase. The project’s goal has been to expand its “orbing” operations to 35 cities across 20 countries, which involves qualified Worldcoin Operators using the Orb to sign up individuals, who in turn receive WLD tokens as a reward.
But not everyone has been as optimistic about Worldcoin’s ambitions.
Kenya suspended its enrollment citing security, privacy, and financial concerns. Although Kenya is the only country to have outright banned Worldcoin from operating, the project has also faced scrutiny from the U.K, Germany, and France.
The token supply was meant to stay locked at 10 billion for the first 15 years, after which the project planned to vote on an annual inflation rate that would sustain the protocol. But it’s still unclear how Altman’s ouster at OpenAI and new gig at Microsoft will impact his side project.
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