Multimillionaire venture capitalists and Azealia Banks want your eyeballs in exchange for a cryptocurrency that few actually use.
That’s the simplest way to describe Worldcoin, a recently announced project from former Y-Combinator head, Sam Altman, and a cadre of like-minded wealth-monger investors including Coinbase and (shudder) Andreessen Horowitz. According to an interview yesterday with Bloomberg, Worldcoin is (yet another) altcoin with intentions to distribute a crypto variation on universal basic income (UBI) to everyone involved. “I’ve been very interested in things like universal basic income and what’s going to happen to global wealth redistribution and how we can do that better. Is there a way we can use technology to do that at global scale?” Altman said in a recent interview.
UBI is certainly good in theory (although not in the ways most rich people imagine it), but one thing that almost certainly is not good in theory or practice is the means by which Altman hopes to standardize Worldcoin for the masses. “Among the many parts of its plan, Worldcoin has designed an orb-shaped device that would scan a person’s iris to construct a unique personal identifier,” explains Bloomberg. More specifically, it’s a silver, “spherical gizmo the size of a basketball” that does the scanning and is already being tested on a small-scale in some cities.
If you’re on the fence about a privately funded Phantasm orb distributing a deregulated UBI via your retinas, don’t worry: Azealia Banks is also here to assuage your concerns... yes. That Azealia Banks.
$25 million in recent backing investments — Would it surprise you to learn that Altman’s absurd, ethically nebulous Worldcoin orb project has caught the eye (so to speak) of some extremely wealthy venture capitalists? According to reports, the cryptocurrency recently raised an impressive $25 million in funding from the people at aforementioned places like Coinbase and Andreessen Horowitz, along with LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, and Day One Ventures.
Strange projects raising huge sums of cash is nothing new, but it’s a tad more concerning when those projects involve crypto-colonialist theory and privacy concerns.
Banks has been on the Worldcoin train for a moment — Meanwhile, Azealia Banks has referenced Worldcoin (which has technically been around since 2013) in multiple Instagram posts over the years, and previously alluded to “moonlighting” as a creative director for the company.
"This is a cryptocurrency product. The plan is for this to be a hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies that also serves as an ultimate form of identification," Banks once wrote in one Instagram story uncovered by Motherboard. "We eventually plan for this item to serve as a passport, drivers license, credit card/wallet, employing the users own biometrics (DNA/heartbeat) as its passcode, making it completely fraud free. this [sic] version will simply act as a hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies with an accompanying facial recognition software ala China's Smilepay." Because China’s facial recognition tech is working out so well for everyone.