The Worldcoin protocol has launched after migrating to the OP Mainnet, formerly known as the Optimism layer-2 blockchain, development partners Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity announced today.
“This is a huge deal,” said Tiago Sada, head of product, engineering and design at Tools for Humanity. decode in an interview. “The project has been in beta for a while now and in development for a long time, so we’re really excited to finally make this happen.”
Coinciding with the launch of the Worldcoin Protocol, the Worldcoin Foundation also launched its World ID system and expanded its World app to over 80 countries – with plans to grow that number to 120.
“Right now we have about 200 Orbs in several cities,” Sada said. “Over the next few months, we’ll grow up to 1,500 Orbs worldwide by the end of the year.”
Currently, Worldcoin Orbs can be found in Berlin, Dubai, London, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo.
“The orbs are a piece of technology that was designed and manufactured by Tools for Humanity,” Sada said. “It’s been open sourced not only for transparency, but also to make it easy for others to make Orbs that are supported by the protocol.”
Worldcoin’s Orb technology has been controversial. When news of retina scanners broke in October 2021, famous whistleblower Edward Snowden dismissed the idea of scanning people’s eyes in exchange for cryptocurrency.
“The human body is not a ticket hit,” Snowden tweeted; other responses were not so kind.
“It’s a milestone in our development process, opening SDK integration to all developers, expanding our global Orb presence, launching our token, and increasing the reach of Worldcoin,” said Sada. “It’s a massive step for the whole project.”
The World ID Software Development Kit (SDK), which supports the creation of web and mobile applications using the Worldcoin protocol, is now available to all developers. Tools for Humanity says the Worldcoin token distributed to beta participants is also available for blockchain transactions.
Co-founded in 2019 by Sam Altman, Alex Blania and Max Novendstern, Worldcoin aims to increase economic participation by focusing on privacy and decentralization. In May, Worldcoin raised a combined $215 million in funding, led by Blockchain Capital and a16z, respectively.
The Worldcoin Foundation serves as a governing body for the Worldcoin ecosystem, including World ID, Worldcoin Token (WLD), Worldcoin Orbs, and World App.
“In the short term, the Worldcoin Foundation focuses on creating the necessary governance mechanisms to ensure the right price for the long term,” said Sada. “At the same time, it is committed to making non-profit decisions for the good of the protocol.”
Sada explained that the idea behind World ID and the World App is to differentiate between humans and AI, an important task when launching universal digital basic income and preventing fraudsters from gaming the system.
“World ID is essentially a digital passport,” said Sada decode. “It’s a global digital internet passport that uses zero-knowledge proof, so you can get verifications that show you’re a person.”
A common refrain in cryptocurrencies is the desire to “bank the unbanked”. While that bit of hyperbole has cooled since the collapse of several cryptocurrency exchanges, Tools for Humanity believes Worldcoin may have what it takes to provide financial services to the estimated 4 billion-plus people who lack those services.
“It’s like the ‘Avengers Infinity War’ event for us,” Sada said. “Across the board, a bunch of different products and teams are shipping like crazy.”