Worldcoin has already scanned the eyes of half a million people worldwide, mostly from developing or third-world countries in Asia and Africa. And the money they are offering has no current real-world value, as the project's native token has not yet been listed on any exchanges
If an unknown organisation offered you an arbitrary amount of money to have your face and eyes scanned so that they could create a global database, what would you do? Would you accept the money without worrying about the consequences, or would you immediately label it as a fraud?
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While it sounds incredibly vague, this is exactly what the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin is doing right now. It is offering $20 worth of its native token, Worldcoin (WLD), to volunteers willing to provide their biometric data to the network. More specifically, the project is looking to scan the eyes of the world's population to create a comprehensive global database.
It has already scanned the eyes of half a million people worldwide, mostly from developing or third-world countries in Asia and Africa. And the money they are offering has no current real-world value, as the project's native token has not yet been listed on any exchanges. According to Buzzfeed news, many of the people who have had their biometric data collected and those conducting operation have claimed that the organisation has scammed them.
The goal of Worldcoin
As per the website, the project is a "collectively owned global currency that will be distributed fairly to as many people as possible." The project is backed by renowned venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures in Silicon Valley.
It aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption globally and create the world's biggest cryptocurrency network. One of its goals is to provide people with a Universal Basic Income through its crypto token, Worldcoin or WLD. It is one of the most ambitious cryptocurrency projects ever conceived, and its present task is to distribute free tokens to 8 billion people worldwide. The founder of the organisation, high-profile tech investor Sam Altman, has said that the project will help lift millions out of poverty.
The company was founded in 2020, and its initial plans were to offer $20 worth of WLD to people willing to get their body, face, eyes, and irises scanned. The project's website claims that the amount would be paid over two years, but these plans haven't come to fruition as the currency they are offering has no value. Moreover, the project's launch has also been delayed multiple times.
The orbs and operators
The core components of this mega operation are the metallic scanning spheres and their operators. The spheres are shiny metallic balls that are used to scan the iris of volunteers. They look like futuristic devices from a sci-fi movie.
These devices ensure that no person is taking advantage of the programme by trying to claim the benefits multiple times. Worldcoin calls its scanning technology 'proof of personhood.' It's similar to the captcha boxes on websites that ask you to select certain images or type the words you see to prove you are human.
The Iris pattern of a person's eye is unique, being a stronger form of identification than even fingerprints. Worldcoin has promised that it will not store iris biometric data that can link a person to their identity. Instead, they will convert a picture of an iris into a digital code. This code will be known as Irishash and will be stored in the Worldcoin's database.
On the other side of the sci-fi spheres are the operators overseeing the whole setup. They were to be paid a flat rate of $3 per signup in ether, increasing to $6 when operators reach the signup target of 500. Worldcoin described the job to potential applicants as a business endeavour, even allowing operators to hire sub-operators to work under them.
Disgruntled operators and volunteers
Buzzfeed has revealed many problems with this global operation. Most complaints come from the operators, who have faced issues with the orbs and unfulfilled promises.
Operators have complained about harassment from local authorities, which have even led to arrests in countries such as Zimbabwe, where banks are prohibited from processing any crypto transactions. Operators blame Worldcoin for not intimating authorities about the project and its on-ground activations.
In some cases, there were technical glitches with the orbs. While in other cases, operators failed to receive the orbs on time due to logistic issues. However, in both scenarios, operators were often forced to give up the orbs if they did not meet their targets.
Operators have also faced frequent bonus payment delays, and many claim that they have not even received their flat payments. In response to all these setbacks, operators have drafted a joint letter of their complaints and issues to Worldcoin.
Volunteers who have willingly given their personal information are also livid as Worldcoin reduced their offering from $20 worth of Worldcoins to just 25 Worldcoins. Either way, the currency is of no use to volunteers as it doesn’t have any monetary value.
(Edited by : Shloka Badkar)
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