Would you let an AI “orb” scan your face, eyeballs, and other biometric data for the chance at riches down the line? Is the premise of a worldwide, opt-in based cryptocurrency a great idea, or a dystopian nightmare?

Worldcoin offers simple rewards for its initial test groups. In exchange for your unique, biometric data for its Worldcoin database, you’ll be rewarded with WLD tokens that can be exchanged for Worldcoin cryptocurrency (once it’s live and operational), $20 worth of Bitcoin, or some other technology-related prizes.

The company appears to be building a database in order to teach its AI the proper algorithms to “minimize fraud and enhance user privacy.” Collecting biometric data means each person will be the only one able to redeem their allotted share of the WLD digital currency in the future. To facilitate this process, Worldcoin needs proof of personhood, which comes with gathering and maintaining that sensitive individual data.

Developing nations make up a large part of the market where the company is gathering their data. Worldcoin utilizes “orb operators”, or individual hired contractors working on commission, to get people signed up to this service. The company’s messaging around prioritizing data security isn’t entirely clear, as their privacy-focused stance isn’t always backed up by their actions.

Many people who signed up for the service weren’t adequately informed about their rights regarding their data, and some without emails were urged to create them to sign up for the platform. People were under the initial impression that the signup was government-related, as in many of the areas where data was gathered, it wasn’t uncommon to receive handouts as a result of the pandemic.

This begs the question– why did the company choose these groups to test their AI?

It’s likely that the areas they did choose, which included places like Kenya, Indonesia, Sudan, and Ghana, were chosen due to the mixture of minimal legal protections in those areas, coupled with less wealthy populations who may be more willing to agree to Worldcoin’s terms in exchange for payment. To that end, receiving $20 or $25 worth of WLD doesn’t guarantee payment as there’s currently no way to cash out the currency. This translates as to an IOU equivalent from the company.

While these populations were the blueprint for the AI’s neural network, they’re not necessarily the intended audience of the company’s vision. It’ll be interesting to see where Worldcoin ends up, and if they’ll really hold up their end of the bargain for not just their future end users, but test users as well.

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