The recent launch of Worldcoin’s human identity verification system has sparked a mixed response from the public. While the project claims to prioritize privacy, many prominent figures in the community are expressing concerns about the use of iris scanning technology, which some view as Orwellian.
Co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Worldcoin has faced significant security concerns regarding the potential for hackers to exploit the specialized Orb hardware device used for iris scanning. Slow Mist, a prominent blockchain security expert, has voiced skepticism about the project’s chances of success, labeling it as potentially “evil” but also predicting a high likelihood of failure.
The founder of Slow Mist emphasizes the stability and durability of iris scanning as a unique identifier, which is considered more reliable than face or fingerprint verification. While acknowledging the promising aspects outlined in the Worldcoin white paper, the founder urges caution and vigilance when dealing with this new technology.
Criticism of Worldcoin has come from various quarters. Former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden drew attention to the protocol’s approach, likening it to reducing the human body to a mere ticket punch. He urged his followers not to rely on biometrics for any purpose. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin also weighed in, highlighting the concept of “decentralized proof-of-personhood” and pointing out privacy and centralization issues within Worldcoin. Dogecoin co-creator Billy Markus referred to the newly launched cryptocurrency as “creepy and weird,” while Bitcoin podcaster Stephan Livera described the project as a “complete dumpster fire.”
Despite the backlash, Worldcoin has managed to attract high-profile investors, including a16z, Coinbase Ventures, and Digital Currency Group. However, there are also reports of involvement from controversial figures such as former FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried and bankrupt hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.
To avoid potential legal issues, Worldcoin has refrained from launching its WLD token in the United States, as regulatory scrutiny in the country has intensified.
The controversy surrounding Worldcoin’s iris scanning approach highlights the ongoing debate over privacy, security, and the potential risks associated with emerging technologies in the crypto space. As the project moves forward, it will need to address these concerns and ensure transparency to gain the trust of users and the wider community.