OpenAI’s Sam Altman Worldcoin crypto project goes live

Worldcoin, the cryptocurrency token project that was co-founded by Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI and Alex Blania has officially been launched.

The startup, which has so far raised close to about $250 million main offering is World ID, an AI-resistant protocol that allows the verification of the identity of humans online through an iris scan. 

The company is describing this service as a “digital passport” that helps prove its holder is a real human, not an AI bot using its physical imaging device called the ‘Orb. It plans to scale Orb sign-ups for World ID as well as the token to more than 35 cities across 20 countries globally including Kenya where it has been running trials.  

“In the age of AI, the need for proof of personhood is no longer a topic of serious debate;  instead, the critical question is whether or not the proof of personhood solutions we have can be privacy-first, decentralized and maximally inclusive,” said Alex while speaking from Berlin, Germany. 

It is estimated that 4.4. billion people worldwide lack a legal, digitally-verifiable identity. As a  result, participation in the global economy and access to critical services like government aid,  financial services and healthcare are drastically limited. Sam Altman, Alex Blania and Max  Novendstern say they conceived the Worldcoin project with the ambition of equitably increasing economic participation and improving access to essential services in a way that’s privacy-preserving, decentralized, open source and centred around humanness

San Francisco and Berlin-based company Tools for Humanity (TFH) is behind Worldcoin. While in beta, the project already had 2 million users. This number is expected to go up as the company plans to expand the service to other parts of the world. 

Wangechi Mwangi, Worldcoin Market Manager for East Africa noted that Worldcoin aims to provide anyone in the world, regardless of background, geography  or income, access to the growing digital and global economy in a privacy-preserving and  decentralized way

‘’A connected mobile money infrastructure has been transformational to  Kenya’s economic growth, giving an indication of the immense potential of a globally connected financial and identity network in the age of AI. Today marks a significant step forward along the path towards a more human internet and shared global economy,” she said. 

How it works

Users will have to download the World App, the company’s World ID-compatible app, developed and operated by TFH. The app enables payment, purchases and transfers globally using digital assets and fiat-backed stablecoins. Once downloaded, they can visit an Orb, the startup’s eyeball-scanning verification device, to receive their World ID. 

In Kenya, the orbs are located in different malls across the country. 

More immediately, the company says these services will be available for a limited time in the following cities: Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Paris,  San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo. Tools for Humanity’s World App is however available in the App Store and Google Play in more than 120 countries.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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