Tech millionaire Sam Altman’s new start-up Worldcoin uses orb-shaped devices to scan people’s eyes in exchange for free cryptocurrency.
Launched out of “stealth” on Thursday, Worldcoin promises to hand out free cryptocurrency to people who verify their accounts by taking an iris scan.
Worldcoin says it’s already attracted $25 million in funding from Silicon Valley investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase and billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, giving the firm a $1 billion valuation.
Altman, CEO of artificial intelligence group OpenAI and former president of start-up accelerator Y Combinator, co-founded the company with theoretical physics student Alex Blania and Max Novendstern, a former investment associate at Bridgewater Associates.
The idea seems outlandish at first. Free money? And all I need to do is have my eyes scanned? It sounds too good to be true.
However, Worldcoin’s founders say it’s about expanding the reach of cryptocurrencies — and financial services more broadly — to the masses. Less than 3% of the global population are crypto users, according to virtual currency exchange Crypto.com.
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