- Worldcoin is a protocol for personal identification and financial transactions that consists of three components: the World ID, the World App, and the Worldcoin Token (WLD).
- The protocol identifies users by scanning the iris with a biometric device called an “orb” (orb; sphere). For orb verification, the protocol charges the user 25 WLD.
- The protocol and orbs are being developed by Tools for Humanity. Its creators are OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and TFH CEO Alex Blania.
What is WorldCoin?
Worldcoin is a protocol for personal identification and financial transactions, which consists of three components:
- World ID — a digital identifier for solving problems that require proof of the reality and uniqueness of a person;
- world app ― an application for purchases and money transfers around the world using digital assets and fiat currencies;
- Worldcoin (WLD) is a token that gives the right to vote in making decisions regarding the development of the project. The protocol accrues WLD after passing verification.
Worldcoin identifies users by scanning the iris with a biometric device called an “orb” (orb; sphere). The confidentiality of biometric data is ensured by zero-knowledge cryptography.
As of May 2023, the project is in beta testing.
Who created Worldcoin?
The protocol, orbs, and World App are developed by Tools for Humanity (TFH). Its creators are OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Alex Blania, who is the CEO of TFH.
In the future, the company will transfer the rights to the Worldcoin brand and protocol-related technologies to the Worldcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization with registration in the Cayman Islands and a subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands.
The Foundation will support the ecosystem and collaborate with TFH and other developers directly or through grants.
The Worldcoin protocol and hardware code is open and available on Github.
What is World ID?
World ID is an identifier that allows the owner to prove their reality and uniqueness (Proof-of-Personhood, PoP), while remaining anonymous.
To get a World ID, you need to install the World App on your smartphone and scan the iris with an orb. The latter will generate its identifier (IrisCode) as a random set of numbers not associated with the user’s personal information.
World ID can be used:
- to protect against bots and verify identity in social networks;
- for voting in DAO or online polls;
- to protect against scammers and fake reviews on trading platforms;
- in the distribution of allowances, scholarships, public assistance or airdrops.
At the time of publication, the orbs are available in Argentina, Chile, India, Kenya, Portugal, and Spain. These countries host Worldcoin operators – local companies that own orbs, answer questions about Worldcoin and help get World ID for rewards in stablecoins or fiat currencies.
Worldcoin plans to register operators in other countries by the end of 2023. At the moment, the project team is on tour to different cities of the world.
Until the end of July 2023, the orbs will be available in Berlin, Dubai, London, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo. Exact dates and places are published in Twitter and Discord.
Why does Worldcoin scan the iris?
The iris of the eye has hundreds of unique depressions, furrows, rings and other features. These qualities give a very high entropy.
“On the scale of billions of people, fingerprints and facial recognition are not suitable as a biometric solution for identity verification,” ― declares worldcoin team.
According to a Cambridge University study, the iris code can have over 200 bits of entropy – significantly more than a fingerprint.
Iris recognition is approximately four orders of magnitude (10,000 times) more accurate than face recognition due to the higher entropy in its structure. In addition, the texture of the iris practically does not change throughout a person’s life.
How is an orb made?
Orb is a biometric device from Tools for Humanity to provide access to the Worldcoin protocol.
The design of the device was developed by Thomas Meyerhoffer, who previously worked at Apple at the invitation of Jonathan Ive.
“Worldcoin is based on inclusiveness. We wanted orbs to be accessible even in the most remote parts of the world. Therefore, we made them mobile – about the size of a basketball and weighing 2.8 kg.
In terms of design, we have separated the advanced technology inside the orb from the experience of the person who uses it. The orb should feel both natural and ethereal, personal and universal.” comments Meyerhoffer.
The device consists of four parts:
- front: optical system;
- middle: the motherboard dividing the device into two hemispheres. Its tilt is 23.5°, which is equivalent to the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation;
- behind: the main computing unit, as well as an active cooling system;
- bottom: replaceable battery.
The optical system includes a wide-angle camera and a telephoto lens with an adjustable viewing angle of ~5°. The camera captures the scene, and the neural network predicts the location of the eyes. This produces a high-resolution image of the iris, which the orb encrypts in IrisCode.
According to the project’s website, the orb minimizes the effects of sunlight and motion blur, creating a lab-like environment for scanning no matter where the device is located.
The motherboard is powered by Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX “AI supercomputer” and a 250GB SSD.
Orb is equipped with Wi-Fi and optional LTE to ensure uninterrupted Internet connection, as well as a GPS module for determining the location of the device.
How to get a WLD token?
At the time of publication, Worldcoin awards 25 Worldcoins for verification with an orb. Users will receive tokens after the mainnet launch of the project, scheduled for the first half of 2023.
What is WLD for?
Token holders will be able to pay for services in the World App, make payments and take part in voting on the development of the protocol.
“According to the World Bank, 1.7 billion people do not have access to any financial instruments, including bank accounts. Worldcoin provides not only identity solutions, but also a token as a means of payment and democratic protocol governance,” states the Worldcoin developer in an exclusive comment for ForkLog.
In addition, WLD can act as a store of value.
How does Worldcoin collect and store information?
To obtain a World ID, you do not need to provide a name, phone number, email or home address. It is enough to provide consent for eye scanning and install the World App application on your smartphone.
The protocol generates a unique code based on iris images. At the same time, the orb uses biometrics to make sure that the person has not previously passed verification.
Users can choose from two types of verification:
- without storing biometrics. Orb processes the biometric data and deletes it after verification. Only IrisCode is stored on Worldcoin servers, which will not allow you to register again.
- with biometric storage. Orb encrypts the biometrics, sends them to the Worldcoin servers along with IrisCode, and then deletes the biometrics on his SSD. This approach eliminates the need to re-verify with an orb when you lose access to the World App.
The Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity undertake not to transfer user data to third parties.
What other projects are working in the field of personal identification?
In addition to Worldcoin, the tasks of digital identification are solved by several projects:
- Ontology is a blockchain for decentralized identification and data storage in Web3;
- Civic is the developer of the Civic Pass solution, which allows you to identify users when interacting with DeFi protocols, DAOs and NFT projects on Ethereum, Polygon and Solana;
- Idena is a solution for confirming the reality and uniqueness of users by passing flip tests;
- KILT is a protocol for creating decentralized identities in the Polkadot ecosystem.
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