Sam Altman has dominated the headlines over the past few days, with endless speculation about his next steps following his ouster as CEO of OpenAI on Friday.
But OpenAI isn’t Altman’s only project. He co-founded cryptocurrency company Worldcoin in 2020 and continues to serve as the head developer of the startup, Tools for Humanity.
Amid the drama over Altman’s role at OpenAI, questions have emerged about the nature of his continued involvement in Worldcoin, which raised a $115 million funding round in May and launched its token in July.
According to a source close to the matter, Altman’s role at Tools for Humanity “is not expected to change” and he has had a “steady and valuable level of involvement,” including providing input on product design, joining hands-on meetings, and making appearances. On public events such as Token 2049.
Eyeballs and orbs
The world first learned about Worldcoin in 2021 Bloomberg An article exposing one of the most ambitious (and bizarre) companies to come out of Silicon Valley in years.
The concept sounded like it was straight out of a sci-fi movie: Worldcoin would prove a person’s “personality” by scanning their iris to verify their humanity and reward them with a special crypto token.
The idea is that every unique human being could sign up for a future “universal basic income” program in which the world’s population would be eligible to receive regular payments from an organization yet to be identified.
Altman founded the company alongside Max Novindstern, who had worked at Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater and money transfer startup Wave, and hired the young physics doctor. Student Alex Plania as CEO of the company. Altman previously served as president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, leaving the organization in 2019.
As Altman’s other startup, the nonprofit OpenAI, moves forward with its own projects, Worlcoin’s mission has taken on new importance. like luck As reported in March, Worldcoin began positioning its “proof of identity” concept almost as a safety check for AI. By validating people’s humanity, the Worldcoin system can also ensure that internet users are real people – not bots.
Furthermore, as AI transcends human jobs, Worldcoin’s universal basic income model could also help “distribute the upside of all this technology to as many people as possible,” according to Plania.
The crossover between Worldcoin and OpenAI has drawn criticism, as Worldcoin appears to aim to offset the potential excesses of OpenAI products like ChatGPT.
“One Altman entity is creating a problem, and the other is selling a solution to the problem they created,” said Elizabeth Rainieres, a privacy expert and senior research associate at the Oxford Institute for AI Ethics.
Worldcoin has also faced regulatory issues, with the token not being launched in markets including the US, and the user onboarding process in Kenya being put on hold due to government privacy and security concerns.
Worldcoin aims to function as a decentralized protocol, but the project is currently managed by Tools for Humanity, which Altman co-founded. Although he doesn’t have a “day-to-day role,” according to the source, he is still involved in the project and tied to its success.
The price of the Worldcoin token, also known as Worldcoin, fluctuated along with the news cycle about Altman’s fate over the weekend, falling nearly 10% after news emerged that he had been fired by OpenAI’s board, then rising nearly 40% when the OpenAI board looked… Administration to return him to his position. . The price was hovering around $2.40 at press time after falling below $2 on Friday.
On Worldcoin’s Discord server, users speculated about Altman’s future with the company, as well as his importance to the project.
“I only trade WLD because of Sam Altman and OpenAI, that’s the only reason I trade,” one user wrote. Another wrote: “With Sam Altman resigning, how will this project continue…”
Two major investors in Worldcoin said luck They have not received any communication from Tools for Humanity about Altman’s role, suggesting it will be business as usual. David Bachman, managing partner at cryptocurrency-focused CoinFund, said Altman is an “important part” of Worldcoin’s development.
“I’m glad it’s going to continue and that this isn’t a struggle,” Bachmann said. luck. “At least so far, I’m glad he’s largely unaffected by this weekend’s incident.”
Backman added that OpenAI’s rapid collapse due to employee disputes, after it was valued at about $80 billion, shows the need for decentralized developer platforms like Worldcoin.
Worldcoin reached 4 million users of its app in early November.