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  • Writer's pictureKailash Vaviya

What Is Worldcoin and How Does It Work?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

It was in January 2009 when Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was introduced to the world. It has been several years now, and we have seen the launch of hundreds of cryptocurrencies since then. As the popularity of blockchain technology and cryptos increases, entrepreneurs worldwide are developing a new array of projects, one of them being Worldcoin.

Table of Content

What Is Worldcoin?

Worldcoin is a crypto initiative combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain. Founded in 2019 by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, Alex Blania, and Max Novendstern, the project aims to preserve human identity by offering personhood in today’s digital world.

The advent of generative AI has led to an increase in deep fakes. We are all reading news on how cybercriminals use deepfake scams to dupe people. Worldcoin aims to distinguish humans from deepfakes by making them a part of a digital identity and financial network and giving them a unique World ID.

The Worldcoin network is built on Proof of Personhood. The core idea behind Proof of Personhood is to establish someone as a unique human to distinguish a real person from a deepfake.

The founders also aim to create a financial network where anyone from anywhere can become a part of a global digital economy. The network allows anyone with Worldcoin (WLD) tokens to transact digital money.

The Components of the Worldcoin Ecosystem

Like most other decentralized digital networks, Worldcoin operates with the help of multiple components.

Here are the components that come together to make the Worldcoin network.

The Orb

The Orb is an imaging device that scans your iris. It plays a central role in verifying your unique personhood. It uses machine-learning algorithms and camera sensors to analyze iris features. This helps it identify if the iris is of an actual human being. Once this is done, the Orb takes some pictures of your iris and creates a unique identification number.

A camera’s closed shutter at an Orb center for registering with Worldcoin

The images of the iris are stored only within the device and promptly deleted unless you explicitly request to create its backup for future use. The iris scan is only done to ensure uniqueness. Once you get a World ID, Worldcoin recognizes you using that.

World ID

The World ID is the code the Orb generates after analyzing your iris. Put simply, it is like a digital passport for proving your uniqueness. However, your identity is still anonymous, as you will be known only by the World ID.

Your privacy is maintained through zero-knowledge proof. Zero-knowledge proof refers to a cryptography protocol where no additional information is required to prove that a statement said by one party to another is true.

Worldcoin Token

Worldcoin (WLD) token is the underlying cryptocurrency or digital asset that facilitates the functioning of Worldcoin. It aligns the incentives of all the network participants to motivate them to participate in this project. You can receive free WLD by visiting an Orb center and creating your World ID. WLD is rewarded for signing up on Worldcoin’s digital network.

World App

You can think of the World App as the face of the entire Worldcoin project. It is the first point of contact for registering and generating a World ID. It will give you all the instructions and guidance required to verify yourself with an Orb.

The World App is also a digital wallet. It keeps track of the number of WLD tokens you have and your transactions. You can also use it to exchange cryptocurrencies or save and send digital money.

How Does Worldcoin Work?

All the components of Worldcoin mentioned above fit in and work together to facilitate the Worldcoin network.

How Worldcoin works

It all starts with the World App. You download the World App and visit an Orb center to verify your identity. After reaching an Orb center, you follow all the instructions on the device to verify yourself as a real, unique human being.

A World ID is generated after the verification. This World ID is unique to you and can be used to prove your personhood. After generating the World ID, you get some WLD tokens as a reward. However, they are given as rewards only where the laws allow it.

You can then use the WLD tokens for various transactions on the Worldcoin network, such as:

  • Sending or receiving tokens as a form of digital asset

  • Exchanging cryptocurrencies

  • Buying goods or services

  • A form of investment

Potential Applications of Worldcoin

Worldcoin primarily has two applications: finance and identity. Here’s how Worldcoin can help in these two fields:

Finance

The Worldcoin network can allow you to send and receive digital money securely and globally. Since the money is sent or received only with a unique identity code, it becomes safer than cash.

Such digital transactions can prove vital during an emergency crisis. A recent example is that of the Ukraine-Russia war. An article from the Washington Post states that the U.N.’s refugee agency sent the digital currency USDC to support Ukrainian refugees. Similarly, Worldcoin’s WLD tokens can be useful for instant borderless transactions.

Identity

A unique identity in today’s digital world is vital to preventing deepfake scams. Worldcoin aims to do this by preserving uniqueness through personhood. You become unique as the Orb analyzes your iris and gives you a World ID. This ensures proof of your identity and can help prevent deepfake scams.

How Does the Worldcoin’s Future Look Like

Worldcoin plans to expand its network and sign up more users. It also plans to allow third parties to use their iris-scanning orb technology to prevent fraud.

However, it is too early to say what Worldcoin’s future will look like. While it shows much potential, it also faces scrutiny from countries like Kenya, the UK, Argentina, France, etc.

The key will be how Worldcoin communicates with users and governments worldwide to clarify privacy doubts. This will pave the way for the emergence of potential applications of Worldcoin.

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