Tools for Humanity, the firm behind Worldcoin, has secured $115 million in Series C funding. Blockchain Capital led the funding round, with a16z, Bain Capital Crypto and Distributed Global participating.
The funding announcement follows a report by the Financial Times that said that Sam Altman, co-founder of Worldcoin and CEO of OpenAI, was engaged in advanced discussions for a new financing round. The initial target for this round was reported to be $100 million.
The funds will boost research and development and support the growth initiatives for both the Worldcoin project and the World App, a crypto wallet designed for the Worldcoin ecosystem.
The funds also will be allocated to developing an alternative solution to the widely criticized CAPTCHA test. General partner at Blockchain Capital Spencer Bogart mentioned that while CAPTCHA has been relatively successful in differentiating between bots and humans, its effectiveness has diminished with the emergence of more advanced automated systems, particularly AI-powered ones.
Worldcoin, currently in its beta phase, is an Ethereum-based token that seeks to establish a system resembling a universal basic income for people globally. The project aims to build the world’s broadest identification and financial network, centered around World ID and the Worldcoin token.
Ultimately, the project aspires to evolve into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO)-like entity, incorporating decentralized decision-making processes.
Although Worldcoin specifies that U.S. residents and certain other restricted areas are ineligible to receive Worldcoins, the company asserts that it has successfully onboarded nearly two million users across five continents.
Worldcoin’s initiative to distinguish ‘humans and bots’
As part of its efforts to develop an alternative solution to the CAPTCHA test, Worldcoin has been developing a five-pound chromatic sphere called the Orb. It is used to verify the human identity of account holders through retina scans. However, this initiative faced immediate criticism.
Experts raised doubts about the project’s promise to provide a share of its new digital currency to people who undergo an iris scan. Commenting on the project, Bogart hoped that Worldcoin could offer more transparent information that could assure a broader audience.
He also acknowledged that this is a significant challenge for Worldcoin, as gaining people’s trust requires addressing their skepticism and ensuring they feel confident about the situation.
I thought Worldcoin was some dystopian Orwellian nightmare, then our team invested hundreds of hours evaluating what the project’s contributors have actually built and I completely changed my mind – why we led the latest financing
— Spencer Bogart 𓇼 (@CremeDeLaCrypto) May 25, 2023
Bogart initially had negative impressions of the initiative. However, after a thorough evaluation by the Blockchain Capital team, they recognized the potential of World ID in introducing an innovative privacy-preserving concept.
The general partner explained that the process involving the Orb device differs from what people may perceive. Instead of storing the actual image of the iris, the Orb captures a picture and generates a unique encoding called an “iris code.”
Then, the original biometric data is discarded immediately, ensuring that only the iris code leaves the Orb. Even so, skeptics dismissed it as another cryptocurrency scam, questioning the ability of a young startup collecting biometric data to ensure user privacy.
Despite the controversies, Worldcoin’s Orb has embarked on a global tour, bringing its innovative technology to cities around the world. This spring and summer, the Worldcoin team will join forces with local community members in select cities to organize Web3 meet-ups, provide educational sessions and address inquiries about the protocol.
Commencing in Tokyo this past April, Worldcoin enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of the Orb in the following cities from May through July: Berlin, Dubai, London, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo.