You may have heard by now that some tech bro raised $1b to pay you cryptocurrency in exchange for pictures of your eyes. While this sounds like something out of a fringe fetish subreddit or a delirious Black Mirror binge, it’s also what passes for news in 2021. Sam Altman, founder of Worldcoin, has had a lot of money thrown at him to throw a lot of money at you for nothing but an iris scan in return.
For such a bizarre half baked sci fi plot of a lede, the startup’s ambitions seem pretty tame. The token itself is meant to serve as a sort of blockchain-based basic income (anyone can receive it as long as they haven’t before) widening worldwide crypto adoption, which is currently at a mere 3% of the global population.
Alex Blania, Worldcoin’s CEO, maintains the only way they could be sure no one got the money twice was to take the eye pics — or ‘build the orb’ in his words, as he manages to somehow make this whole thing sound even creepier. Why ‘the most secure and privacy-preserving way to prove everyone in the world is unique’ had to be the window to our souls and not, say, fingerprints or social security numbers is open to interpretation. But when Snowden thinks it’s sketch, we’ve learned to listen.
The startup then plans to use its staggering venture capital to build a digital wallet like every other crypto startup out there and… well, apparently, figure it out as it goes along. ‘As soon as you suddenly have a billion people and everyday people holding something like that and using something like that, you as an entrepreneur can build completely new things.’ So, if you’re looking to pass off the lamp of your body to some smarmy white guys whose claims to fame are theoretical physics and OpenAI so they can ‘build completely new things’ with it, sign up for Worldcoin now and help them reach their modest goal of 1 billion users in the next two years.
If, however, you have a semblance of self preservation instinct left in this looming apocalypse, join us in hypothesizing on just exactly what ‘completely new things’ these guys are planning to build with a billion pictures of our eyes. I’m gonna go with mind control chips or the human version of the Patriot-Act-violating cell phone spy thing at the end of The Dark Knight. Slide in our DMs if you’ve got a better idea.