Word Coin: A Global Identity and Financial Network

Word Coin is a cryptocurrency project that aims to build a privacy-preserving global identity network called World ID, and to distribute its token (WLD) to every human on the planet. The project was founded in 2019 by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, and is backed by prominent investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (Wikipedia)

The Past of Word Coin

Word Coin was started by a company called Tools for Humanity (TFH), which was founded by Sam Altman, Max Novendstern and Alex Blania in 2019 The company stated that its token (WLD) is intended to be a larger effort to drive a more unified and equitable global economy driven by the internet economy, although it will not be available in the USA

The token is a Layer 2 Ethereum-based cryptocurrency that leverages the security of the Ethereum blockchain while having its own economy 

The project raised an initial $25 million in October 2021, and an additional $100 million in six months, pushing the token’s value up to $3 billion.

However, the project also faced some challenges and controversies along the way. In April 2022, a report from MIT Technology Review accused Worldcoin of “taking advantage of students” and “targeting lower-income communities”, and concluded that “it’s just cheaper and easier to run this kind of data collection operation in places where people have little money and few legal protections.”

In May 2023, hackers were able to steal login credentials of several of Worldcoin’s operators’ personal devices, including their credentials to the Worldcoin operator app. However, Worldcoin’s spokesperson said that no personal user data was compromised, as the operator app does not access user data. The project announced further funding of $115 million in the same month, to be used for investment into bot detection, research and development, and expanding the Worldcoin project and application.

The Present of Word Coin

Word Coin launched out of beta on July 24, 2023, with 11 orb locations in the U.S. and plans for 35 cities in 20 countries. The project hopes to provide a reliable way to authenticate humans online called World ID, to counter bots and fake virtual identities facilitated by artificial intelligence.

To engage with the Worldcoin protocol, individuals must first download World App, the first wallet app that supports the creation of a World ID. Individuals visit a physical imaging device called the Orb to get their World ID Orb-verified. Most Orbs are operated by a network of independent local businesses called Orb Operators. The Orb uses multispectral sensors to verify humanness and uniqueness, with all images being promptly deleted on-device per default (absent explicit consent to Data Custody).

All Orb-verified World IDs holders are entitled to claim recurring grants of free WLD tokens (WLD tokens are not available in the US; see the Worldcoin Tokenomics section of the project’s whitepaper for details). This has the potential to make WLD the most widely distributed digital currency

The WLD token is designed as a utility token with governance properties, empowering users by giving them a say over the future of the protocol. Beyond conventional “one-token-one-vote” governance mechanisms, the introduction of World ID paves the way for “one-person-one-vote” mechanisms. These two mechanisms can also be combined to enable new ways of governance.

The community of users will determine the token’s utility, but a few other use cases in addition to governance could emerge. For example, users may decide to use the WLD token to pay for certain actions in World App or another wallet app, to make other payments, or to signal their approval for certain initiatives or causes.

WLD is an ERC-20 token on Ethereum. Individuals will receive their user grants on Optimism Mainnet. Therefore, most WLD transactions will likely take place on the Optimism network.

The Future of Word Coin

Word Coin has an ambitious vision of creating a global identity and financial network that gives ownership to everyone. The project claims to have onboarded approximately two million users while in beta, and aims to reach billions of people in the future.

However, the project also faces some uncertainties and risks in its journey. For instance, the project has to deal with regulatory and legal issues in different jurisdictions, especially regarding data privacy and security. The project also has to ensure the reliability and scalability of its technology, as well as the security and integrity of its network.

Moreover, the project has to compete with other existing and emerging cryptocurrency projects, some of which may offer similar or better features and benefits to users. The project also has to deal with the volatility and unpredictability of the crypto market, which may affect the value and adoption of its token.

Therefore, the future of Word Coin is not guaranteed, but depends on how well the project can overcome its challenges and seize its opportunities. The project will need to prove its value proposition and social impact to its users and stakeholders, and to foster a strong and loyal community that supports its vision and mission.

Some Considerations

Word Coin is a fascinating and innovative project that attempts to combine the concepts of identity and finance in a decentralized and democratic way. The project has the potential to create a more inclusive and equitable global economy, and to empower individuals with more control and ownership over their online identity and assets.

However, the project also raises some ethical and social questions, such as:

  • How will the project ensure the privacy and security of its users’ data and biometrics, especially in the face of hackers, governments, and corporations?
  • How will the project prevent the misuse or abuse of its identity and financial network, such as for fraud, crime, or terrorism?
  • How will the project deal with the possible negative impacts of its token distribution, such as inflation, inequality, or dependency?
  • How will the project balance the interests and preferences of its diverse and global user base, especially in terms of governance and decision-making?
  • How will the project cope with the uncertainty and volatility of the crypto market, and the competition and regulation of the crypto industry?

These are some of the questions that Word Coin will have to address and answer in its quest to create a global identity and financial network. The project is still in its early stages, and has a long way to go before it can achieve its vision and goals. However, the project also has a lot of potential and promise, and could be a game-changer for the future of identity and finance.


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