Sam Altman’s crypto startup Worldcoin has unveiled the World ID protocol and the decentralized biometric identification software development kit (SDK).
Introducing World ID, a new privacy-first digital identity that brings global proof of personhood to the internet.
Find out more and sign up for the SDK ⬇️https://t.co/jD7ztwbeGY
— worldcoin (@worldcoin) March 14, 2023
The new product is based on zero-knowledge proofs. It is a mobile tool that allows people to pass identification without sacrificing anonymity.
The main method of identity verification is the Orb iris scanner. However, less accurate verification methods are also available to users, for example, by phone number.
Users can get World ID on any compatible mobile wallet. One option is the World app, which is currently in beta testing.
Checking with Orb is available in Argentina, India, Spain, Kenya, Portugal and Chile. Deployment of scanners in other countries will occur later this year.
Worldcoin has singled out login as the easiest way to use for World ID. Other potential uses include social media protection and moderation, DAO voting, support for unsecured loans, and distribution of benefits.
The first demonstration of the technology will be a test for Discord, a popular social network among crypto projects.
To use the SDK, developers need to register on the waiting list. It contains a Web widget, a developer portal, a development simulator, examples, and tutorials.
Orb iris scanner submitted in June 2021. The device has drawn strong reactions from leading privacy advocates, including Edward Snowden.
“Don’t catalog eyeballs,” he urged.
Later, Worldcoin spokesperson Thiago Sada attempted to allay the concerns by removing the links between the biometric registration step and the wallet using zero-knowledge proof technology. However, he believes that concerns about the project remain.
“There are also many misconceptions. Most people don’t know that your biometric data is destroyed in the Orb,” Sada said.
Worldcoin added that users themselves decide whether to store biometric data in the device or not. However, developers advise not to turn off the option, as this helps to improve the protocol.
“The only thing the device saves is the iris code. As paradoxical as it may sound, World ID is […] the most private means of identification,” Sada said.
His argument is based on the idea that traditional KYC requires too much personal data. Sada also said that if there was a better way to verify identity, Worldcoin would have abandoned Orb.
Worldcoin was founded in 2019. One of its founders is Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.
Today, the project is estimated at $3 billion after reports of attracting $100 million from Khosla Ventures and a16z in March 2022. Worldcoin stated that it already has 1.3 million subscribers.
Recall that in June, Altman offered to pay users for scanning the retina.
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