Following the announcement of Sam Altman’s departure from OpenAI, the WLD token associated with the iris-scanning biometric project Worldcoin, also founded by Altman, dropped 14%, according to CoinGecko.
Altman was ousted from his position as CEO of OpenAI following a review by the board, which cited a lack of candid communication affecting the board’s responsibilities. This led to a loss of confidence in his leadership by the board
For an idea of how quickly markets are reacting to the news, the price figure had to be updated twice while this post was being written. As of 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Worldcoin was trading for $1.89 per token and had a market capitalization of $218 million. In the past 24 hours, the token has seen $141 million worth of volume, roughly 40% of it coming from the WLD and Tether (USDT) trading pair on Binance.
This marks a 42% drop from WLD’s all-time high of $3.30, last seen as Worldcoin came out of beta in July.
The broader AI coins and token category appeared not to be feeling the effects of Altman’s exit. In the past 24 hours, the AI coin market cap (as defined by CoinGecko) grew by 30% to $5.4 billion.
Worldcoin is a biometric cryptocurrency project that was developed by San Francisco and Berlin-based Tools for Humanity. It was founded in 2019 by OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, along with Max Novendstern and Alex Blania, and received backing from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
The core of Worldcoin’s operation involves a mechanism for authenticating human identity online, called World ID, to counteract bots and fake identities. Users join the network by having their iris scanned with an orb-shaped scanner and receive some Worldcoin in return. This distribution mechanism is claimed to be inspired by discussions around universal basic income.
The project’s token, WLD, is a Ethereum-based token. It’s not available in the U.S., but Worldcoin’s iris-scanning orbs have been set up in the states—mainly New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
By October 2021, the project had raised $25 million initially, and within six months, an additional $100 million was secured, giving the token at $3 billion market capitalization. But as the project grew, it faced criticism. A MIT Technology Review claimed that Worldcoin acquired its first 500,000 users through “deception, exploited workers, and cash handouts.”
In the face of considerable pushback from privacy advocates, Worldcoin launched out of beta on July 2023.
But a number of governments took issue with Worldcoin using its silver orbs to scan the irises of its citizen. Kenya suspended its enrollment citing security, privacy, and financial concerns. Although Kenya is the only country to have outright banned Worldcoin from operating, the project has also faced scrutiny from the U.K, Germany, and France.
Edited by Guillermo Jimenez
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