Sam Altman, the boss of OpenAI, launches his cryptocurrency Worldcoin

Sam Altman, the boss of the artificial intelligence start-up OpenAI, officially launched Worldcoin, a new cryptocurrency on Monday with an identity verification system based on the human iris.

“More than three years ago, we launched Worldcoin with the ambition to create a new network dedicated to authentication and finance, which would belong to everyone. It starts today,” said two of Worldcoin’s co-founders, Sam Altman and Alex Blania, on the company’s website on Monday.

This new digital currency comes as the reputation of the cryptocurrency industry suffers from the spectacular collapse of FTX and other major platform bankruptcies.

Worldcoin is based on “World ID”, a kind of digital passport that allows its owner to prove his identity online without sharing personal data, according to the founders.

To obtain this sesame, the user must undergo a scan of his iris by an “orb”, a biometric device designed by Worldcoin.

The aim is to reduce the risk of fraud and scams in an industry where the use of pseudonyms is common.

Users are invited to download WorldApp, a digital wallet that allows them to receive, from Monday, “Worldcoin token”, the cryptocurrency now usable for the millions of users who participated in the beta version of the platform, said Worldcoin.

“If we are successful, we believe Worldcoin could create significant economic opportunities, establish a reliable solution to distinguish human beings from artificial intelligence online while preserving data privacy (…) and ultimately open a potential path towards a universal minimum income financed by artificial intelligence (AI)”, assure Sam Altman and Alex Blania.

– Not in the United States –

Universal basic income is part of the responses considered by many Silicon Valley figures faced with the risk of many jobs being replaced by AI programs.

“Like any really ambitious project, maybe it works or maybe it doesn’t, but try (…), that’s how progress happens,” said Sam Altman, who rose to prominence with the launch of ChatGPT, a so-called generative AI interface, in a tweet last year.

“In any case, we especially love the people who hate us, it gives us energy, keep going!”, He added.

Worldcoin spent three years developing its project and two million people signed up for a World ID during the test phase.

The company will deploy 1,500 “orbs” worldwide to allow millions more users to register, according to its website.

“It’s the start of a long journey. Not everything is going to go perfectly, especially at the start,” tweeted Alex Blania.

The Worldcoin currency is not available in the United States at this stage, while the regulatory authorities are trying to better regulate this sector.

Its value, initially of 1.70 dollars, jumped up to 3.58 dollars, before falling back to 2.28 dollars, according to the site CoinMarketCap.

The Worldcoin project has been criticized over the processing of personal data. The news site BuzzFeed thus relayed fears about the risk that the company would use its platform to collect millions of biometric data.

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