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New marketing for Worldcoin’s iris biometrics proposition

New marketing for Worldcoin’s iris biometrics proposition

Tools for Humanity is updating the marketing of its Orb iris scanner. The five-pound chrome eyeball is being changed to make it look less intimidating.

In an interview with TechCrunch last week, Alex Blania, co-founder of the company doing business as digital identity and cryptocurrency  project Worldcoin, reportedly said new Orbs will look more like “an Apple product.” That probably doesn’t mean that each subsequent model’s chief new feature will be alternating large and small form factors.

Blania himself does not describe the design further, but an illustration contributed to the article by Tools and more appearing on Worldcoin.org indicate a new direction. The new orbs are expected to roll out during the first half of this year, Blania told TechCrunch in the interview at StrictlyVC San Francisco.

Worldcoin only launched last summer, making a hardware redesign unusual.

The current design looks less like a sci-fi movie prop than the globe-mobile floor lamps popular in the 1990s. The new design, if indeed it is the new one, looks generically toy-like.

It’s likely that the quick redesign is intended to attract Americans.

The company says 3 million people have lined up for an iris biometrics scan (largely in developing economies), those outside the U.S. in return a token allotment of WLD, Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency. They also get a proof of humanness in the form of a digital passport, which can help to participate in the digital economy, but the allure of cryptocurrency has proven strong.

Worldcoin Foundation has committed to other moves meant to attract attention. In December, it unveiled a development grant program designed to help Worldcoin’s image and spur product development integrated with their platform. A blog post explaining the process of ID verification at a Worldcoin Orb was published last week, though it does not refer explicitly to biometrics.

Still, the regulatory environment for cryptocurrency in the United States has persuaded executives not to issue WLD in the country. Giving the process of an iris scan a status upgrade probably is all that’s possible right now.

This post was updated at 12:22pm Eastern on January 30, 2024 to correct Mr. Blania’s title at Worldcoin and clarify that Orb biometric verification is available in the U.S.

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