OpenAI's founder wants your iris to vouch for who you are

Worldcoin- ID verification protocol, crypto token, and wallet app. Verify yourself anonymously and get paid to register.
Amal Jos Chacko
Illustration of a retina scanner.jpg
Illustration of a retina scanner.


First came the text password. Then came fingerprints and voice recognition. Each, adopted by the masses, turned inside out by good and bad actors alike(Alexa, remind me to turn voice banking off on Monday). Sam Altman says Iris scanning is the way to go, according to reports in the Axios.

With this day and age raising questions of whether someone is human or a neural network, questions just as important as whether someone is who they claim to be, Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of ChatGPT parent OpenAI, with possibly more insight into AI’s capabilities than us mere mortals, calls upon the world to sign up for his new company, Worldcoin.

The company- founded in 2020- debuted its much-hyped and anticipated World ID verification program last week and opened the waitlist for interested developers to incorporate World ID into their apps.

In basic terms, World ID helps verify identity by either verifying your phone number or via "the Orb". What is the Orb, you ask? Oh, it’s this giant eyeball-looking battery-powered iris-scanning device available at Worldcoin operator locations.

The Orb looks at your iris, then processes this scan locally on the device, and spits out a numeric hash representative of the texture of your iris. The actual scan is then deleted from the Orb. This hashed ID code can be used to prove the user’s identity through Worldcoin’s app and anonymously so.

Availability of the Orb is currently limited to Argentina, Chile, India, Kenya, Portugal, and Spain, according to a press release by Worldcoin. 

OpenAI's founder wants your iris to vouch for who you are
Exploded view of Worldcoin's iris-scanning Orb

Although investors jumped at the opportunity to be in business with Altman, reception among the masses has been less favorable. The company experimented with offering rewards, from cryptocurrencies to AirPods, reports Fortune Crypto. The current ongoing Crypto Winter too contributed to little enthusiasm. Worldcoin has begun giving 25 Worldcoin tokens to every new user in an attempt to coax more users on board. 

These tokens have little to no value currently and are not available to the people and residents in the United States, but that has not stopped users from dreaming of meteoric rises in value, similar to other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and global wealth redistribution. 

Although the FIDO Alliance, an open industry association that sets standards for passwordless login tools, has a certification program to help incorporate biometrics securely and Worldcoin claims to not store biometric data, privacy and surveillance experts do not seem entirely convinced. 

“The human body is not a ticket-punch,” tweeted Edward Snowden- NSA whistleblower and privacy advocate- in 2021.

Worldcoin, which aims to become a universally used cryptocurrency and plans to be central to future universal basic income programs, has set lofty goals- goals whose progress will be monitored by backers, users, and skeptics alike.