Why I scanned my iris for crypto and you should too




A year ago


View on Twitter

🔥 I scanned my iris to participate in an experiment for global currency, UBI, biometric sybil-resistance and crypto. Here’s what @worldcoin is, how it works, how it might not work, and why I’m very excited about it anyway.

✨ Worldcoin is an attempt at creating a collectively-owned global currency that gets distributed fairly and anyone has access to. To get there, they want to allow everyone to claim a free share of it. 💸

This presents an issue. We need a way for every person on Earth to be able to prove that they are human (instead of a bot), and that they haven’t already claimed their share. 🤖 This is called Sybil Resistance, and it’s one of the hardest problems in decentralized systems.

To overcome this issue, they have designed a device called The Orb. The Orb scans a bunch of metrics to ensure that you’re an actual, living human (proof of liveliness) and your iris and uses them to create a unique string, used to check wether you’ve already claimed your coins.

All of this calculations are done on-device, meaning none of your personal data ever leaves the orb and gets deleted ASAP. Thanks to modern cryptography and zero-knowledge proofs, the string isn’t associated with your metrics or your wallet, fully preserving your privacy. 🥷

For the geeks: Worldcoin is built on top of Ethereum (it uses Hubble, an open-source optimistic L2), and Semaphore (an open-source ZK project). The Worldcoin token is an ERC-20, and which will be bridge-able to @optimismPBC, @arbitrum, the Ethereum mainnet and many others. 🚀

The Worldcoin project has already onboarded over 130k users since May, with only 30 prototype orbs. The plan is to ramp up orb production, and have hundreds out there soon. They’re estimating around +300M users onboarded in the next year. That’s +300M new Ethereum users. 🔥

Some people might not like that this project is being funded by Silicon Valley money. From Worldcoin’s limited supply of 10B tokens, 20% is reserved for them (10% for investors and 10% for the team). IMO, this was necessary in order to get the funding required to get started.

Some friends also expressed concerns that these aren’t problems you can solve with technology, or that they might not have taken the time to understanding the context. I don’t have an answer to that, nor feel qualified to come up with one. However, I still think it’s worth a try

I’m a tech optimist, maybe one of those naive ones who’s views aren’t yet fully grounded on reality. But I believe that crypto and tech can keep changing the world for the better as they already have done multiple times before.

There will be edge cases and things left to figure out. This is just a pre-release after all. Still, even if it ultimately fails, it’ll leave us with one of the first biometric-based sybil resistant solutions, increased crypto adoption and some lessons for the next time we try.

To learn more about @worldcoin: - Here’s a 11 min read about the protocol and the launch: https://worldcoin.org/how-it-works - Here’s a 3 min read on the privacy considerations: https://worldcoin.org/privacy-by-design All those resources are linked from the homepage: worldcoin.org WAGMI.