Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT), has introduced a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin. He has reportedly raised $100 million from high-profile venture capital investors and has already released a World App crypto wallet that can be downloaded to mobile phones. Altman has big plans to make Worldcoin the first ever cryptocurrency owned by everyone on the planet.
So what does this new cryptocurrency mean? Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), what is the world’s most popular digital currency today? Some of its early ambitions failed to materialize. Could the rise of new competitors force investors to rethink their valuation of Bitcoin?
What is Worldcoin?
Worldcoin is ethereum (Crypto: ETH) blockchain. What this really means is that Worldcoin will look (and trade) very similar to cryptocurrencies that investors are already familiar with. Some of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization are ERC-20 tokens. Shiba Inu (Crypto: SHIB) and Uniswap (cipher: UNI). Therefore, Worldcoin is not breaking new ground in this respect.
What makes Worldcoin stand out is the fact that it aims to be both a cryptocurrency and a global identification system. Sam Altman plans to distribute WorldCoin tokens to every human being on the planet with the tagline “The global economy belongs to everyone”.
This is where things get a little spooky. To get his free Worldcoin crypto tokens and sign up for a Worldcoin ID, Sam has to give Altman an eyeball scan. That’s right — Worldcoin has created its own iris scanning tool known as Orb. Once you’ve scanned your eyeballs with your Orb, you’re good to go. According to Altman, this step is necessary to verify that you are a genuine human being and is not intended to invade your privacy. He doesn’t even ask your name.
But it’s easy to see how some people on YouTube do outdoor activities with Worldcoin. This cryptocurrency launch sounds like the plot of a dystopian sci-fi movie. The creators of the world’s most powerful AI systems have created a digital identity tracking system for all human beings on the planet and require that digital identity to invest in cryptocurrencies. Already, one Ethereum developer has called Worldcoin “unreal and scary.”
worldcoin vs bitcoin
That said, Worldcoin has at least two advantages over Bitcoin. One, of course, is good technology. Bitcoin still uses the 2009 proof-of-work blockchain technology that required mining and energy-intensive computer-driven mining systems. Worldcoin, on the other hand, uses Ethereum’s latest Proof of Stake technology and technology from Ethereum’s various Layer 2 scaling solutions. According to Worldcoin, “gas-free” transactions, or free of charge, will become the norm. In layman’s terms, there are no transaction fees of any kind when moving Worldcoin.
Worldcoin also seems poised to become ubiquitous much sooner than Bitcoin. For example, worldwide he has over 1.7 million people already registered on Worldcoin. Compare this to Bitcoin. It took Bitcoin almost 14 years to acquire 1 million unique wallet addresses that hold more than 1 bitcoin.
And don’t forget that Sam Altman has ChatGPT magic dust that can be sprinkled on top of World Coins. ChatGPT has skyrocketed to 1 million users in just 5 days. This could explain why investors are offering Sam Altman his $100 million for this new crypto project. He knows how to scale up quickly. Imagine cross-promotion opportunities. What if every time you use ChatGPT you get a friendly reminder to sign up for Worldcoin? Or what if Worldcoin was the only way to pay for your premium ChatGPT subscription?
How to evaluate the value of Bitcoin?
But in the end, Worldcoin’s global expansion plans seem a little too grand. For example, Altman wants to grow the number of users to his billion in two years. However, with the current population of the planet at 8 billion, the ultimate goal of getting Worldcoin into the hands of every person on the planet seems unrealistic at best. So, I don’t think there is anything to worry about with Bitcoin at this point.
But if Worldcoin gains momentum early on, then it will be time to seriously discuss Bitcoin’s future valuation. Many of Bitcoin’s most optimistic price predictions (such as $1 million per coin) are based on the underlying notion that Bitcoin will continue to shave the world’s financial system. From my point of view, Worldcoin has the highest potential (because it is free) of other altcoins to replace Bitcoin in poor and developing markets.
I have worldcoin on my watchlist for now. This cipher is a fascinating project by the founders of ChatGPT, so it cannot be completely ignored. But that doesn’t mean I sell Bitcoin. I can’t think of any other cryptocurrency I would want to own, even if AI champions eventually take over.
Dominic Bastot has positions in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin, Ethereum and Uniswap protocol his tokens. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.