Worldcoin: crypto revolution or dystopian nightmare?

Not long ago, scanning your eyeballs to verify your identity seemed like an absurd idea. Something you would only see in a dystopian sci-fi movie or an episode of Black Mirror, the popular Netflix series. Yet this absurd idea has recently become a reality. More than 2 million people have already registered to have their iris scanned by the new Worldcoin (WLD) project.

Should we be concerned about this new project? Or is such a project necessary with the rapid rise of super-intelligent artificial intelligence (AI) systems?

What is Worldcoin crypto trying to do?

AI, or artificial intelligence, has recently become the big topic of conversation in the technology world. You’ve probably heard of ChatGPT, the language program that uses artificial intelligence. Worldcoin was created by the creators of ChatGPT. Where AI solves problems on the one hand, it also creates new problems.

AI systems are becoming so intelligent that they may be able to impersonate humans in the digital world in the near future. Worldcoin needs to solve that problem by verifying the humanity of users. The Worldcoin project describes itself as follows:

“If successful, we believe Worldcoin can dramatically increase economic opportunity, differentiate humans from AI systems without violating privacy, facilitate global democratic processes, and ultimately create a path to AI-funded basic income.”

The risks of Worldcoin and AI

So quite a mouth full. You have to hand it to them: it certainly sounds revolutionary. The whole concept is so new and unfamiliar that the fear is completely understandable. The ambition and good intentions may be there, but it is of course about the implementation. Is Worldcoin safe? Or are there worrying risks involved? The founder of Ethereum (ETH), Vitalik Buterin, has already expressed concern.

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The scans that Worldcoin makes of irises are said not to be stored. Just an encrypted version of it. According to Buterin, this is not 100 percent safe. It can also not be guaranteed that this information will provide access to even more information in the future. Another problem is the lack of decentralization. While the software is decentralized, the scanning orbs the Worldcoin project uses to scan eyes are not. In theory, someone could modify the hardware to steal identities in this way.

These are just two of the many concerns raised by critics. However, Buterin also notes that the problem Worldcoin is trying to solve is a real one. He hopes the development of such proof of personhood projects continues, and eventually come together in a well-executed product.

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