‘Proof of personhood’ and global stipend hang on Worldcoin wallet
Worldcoin and its development partner Tools for Humanity are back with a new play for a global digital ID.
World App, a deliberately under-featured digital wallet that Worldcoin announced this week, is available globally. It does not replace existing ambitions related to the company’s Worldcoin cryptocurrency.
As part of Worldcoin’s “proof of personhood” strategy, the wallet might get the company off its heels and past its limiting utopian aura.
Still, at a time when many investors are looking for focus, obviousness and transparent operations, startup Worldcoin is not making things easy.
At launch, World App supported Wrapped Ether (WETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Dai, USD Coin and beta Wolf Works DAO (WLD).
World App, on the Ethereum blockchain, is a client for the company’s World ID. World App eschews many functions and capabilities, according to the company, to create a simple and streamlined service. That also will mean that anyone already with a digital wallet will be required to carry more than one wallet.
Worldcoin claims 1.5 million people “joined the World App pre-release” and 500,000 of them use it monthly.
Complicating the picture is the fact that two of the three founders of Worldcoin also founded Tools for Humanity. There also is the World ID, a “human passport” to ease living online. The World ID is verified with Worldcoin’s biometrics-collecting Orb scanner.
Together, subscribers should be able to move about on the internet and transfer funds for free without having to use actual identifying data.
Verified subscribers in eligible nations (not Cuba nor the United States, for instance) will be given monthly grants, or stipends, of Worldcoin.
It is that mission that has some investors shaking their heads. The least attractive market news for investors is that someone is handing out funds for free.
Fortunately for the company, one unforced error appears to be fading from consciousness.
A year ago, MIT Technology Review investigated Worldcoin’s practices collecting biometric data in remote areas. It would seem managers running the operations had a patronizing attitude about people outside San Francisco, where the company is based.
Staff or contractors were collecting iris scans in Indonesia, Kenya, Sudan, Chana, Chile and Norway promising a standard of privacy that was not actually practiced.