OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is on the verge of securing approximately $100 million in funding for his ambitious project, Worldcoin, a global cryptocurrency that utilizes iris-scanning technology for enhanced security.
This development comes as a rare glimmer of hope for the cryptocurrency industry, which has experienced a challenging year.
Insiders familiar with the matter have revealed that Worldcoin is currently engaged in advanced discussions to raise the much-needed capital in preparation for its imminent launch within the next few weeks.
The funding will come from a mix of existing and new investors, according to one source. Notable previous investors in the company include Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, and internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman.
Founded by Altman and Alex Blania in 2019, Worldcoin has maintained a relatively low profile compared to its sibling company, OpenAI, which recently secured a lucrative multibillion-dollar deal with Microsoft.
Nevertheless, Worldcoin has lofty aspirations, aiming to establish a global identification system based on iris-scanning technology. This system would grant users free access to Worldcoin, the company’s own global currency.
The Information, a tech-focused publication, reported that a token sale conducted early last year raised $100 million and valued the total token supply of Worldcoin at $3 billion.
However, the past 12 months have been tumultuous for crypto tokens and projects, with the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, in November 2022.
This event triggered a significant decline in token prices and led to a wave of failures among crypto companies.
FTX had received backing from prominent venture capital firms, including Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, and Thoma Bravo.
The exchange’s downfall, coupled with the scandal surrounding Bankman-Fried, prompted many established funds to reduce their investments in the crypto sector.
Worldcoin aims to tackle two pressing issues arising from the advancement of artificial intelligence: distinguishing between humans and bots and addressing potential job losses caused by AI.
According to Worldcoin executives, their unique approach revolves around an orb that utilizes iris biometrics to establish an individual’s distinct identity, creating a digital World ID that can be pseudonymously employed across various everyday applications while safeguarding the user’s anonymity.
Once users have verified their identity through the orb, they will be eligible to receive Worldcoin tokens at no cost, as stated by the company.
However, Worldcoin has faced criticism on several fronts, with privacy concerns regarding the biometric scanning being particularly prominent.
In response, the company has dedicated a section on its website to address these concerns, emphasizing that it will not retain iris scans and assuring users that the device will not have any adverse effects on their eyes.
After an initial period of operating in beta, Worldcoin is now preparing to launch its blockchain protocol and commence recording transactions within the next six weeks.