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Startup Worldcoin Wants to Scan Users’ Eyes to Give Out Free Crypto









Worldcoin, a new startup that purports to hand out free cryptocurrency through iris scans, has attracted $25 million in funding from various investors, CNBC reported on Thursday (Oct. 21).

The investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase and billionaire LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman, according to the report, bringing the firm’s valuation to $1 billion.

Addressing the confusion over the concept, the founders of Worldcoin say the idea is to spread the reach of cryptocurrency, and financial services as a whole, to a wide range of users.

The report says under 3% of the global population are crypto users, citing stats from Crypto.com, although Worldcoin aims to have 1 billion users by 2023.

The company’s idea works through users getting their irises scanned, with the image encrypted and turned into a code. Users are then given a free share of the Worldcoin cryptocurrency.

Alex Blania, CEO and co-founder of Worldcoin, called crypto “a very powerful thing.”

“It will widen the boundaries of the economy in general and give many people access,” he said. “We designed the whole system to be fundamentally privacy-preserving. The iris code itself is the only thing leaving the orb. There’s no big database of biometric data.”

Blania says the company is seeking developers who can build apps on its systems that “we don’t see today and that are really hard to build today because very few people hold crypto.”

The report said Worldcoin will include a digital wallet with features to store crypto and make payments.

A Financial Times (FT) report said that over 100,000 people have already had their eyes scanned in return for the Worldcoin crypto. The company has distributed 30 iris-scanning hardware devices to early users on four continents, with these early users receiving rewards for signing up additional users.

Developers said Thursday that they plan to “elease “hundreds”of orbs” in the coming months, working up to sending out 4,000 per month, although the amount of cryptocurrency users will receive has not been revealed.

Blania said Worldcoin could be used as an infrastructure to put a universal basic income (UBI) in place if the company can build a big enough network for entreprenurs and make UBI happen along with other applications.

In other financial inclusion news, digital financial services company Remitly will be collaborating with digital wallet Novi, with the aim of “pening “new channels of financial access and in”lusion,” according to the joint announcement.

Read more: Remitly Pairs with Novi on Digital Wallet




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