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Sam Altman’s Worldcoin token nears $350 million market cap, potentially netting OpenAI CEO even more cash

The company, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, converts biometric data code generated from iris scans into “proof of personhood.”
Karsten Moran for Fortune

The chatbot ChatGPT has vaulted Sam Altman’s OpenAI to a valuation of almost $30 billion. Now, another project he’s cofounded, Worldcoin, potentially has raked in millions after launching a token whose market capitalization nearly touched $350 million, according to CoinMarketCap.

On Monday, the company airdropped, or gave out for free, the token, whose name is also Worldcoin and which goes by the ticker WLD, to users of the Worldcoin application, World App. Crypto exchanges like Binance, OKX, and Bitget quickly listed the token after its release. Worldcoin reached a high of $3.31 early Monday morning, per CoinMarketCap, but was trading around $2.76 with a market capitalization of $296 million at the time of publication.

Per the white paper accompanying the release of Worldcoin’s token, there’s a maximum circulating supply of 143 million, with 43 million allocated to users already verified on World App and 100 million to market makers outside the U.S. to facilitate trading.

The white paper’s tokenomics, a portmanteau of token and economics, specifies that 75% of the ultimate supply of the tokens will be available to the Worldcoin community, while 13.5% will be available for investors, 9.8% for the initial development team, and 1.7% set aside as reserve. (Fortune accessed the white paper, not accessible in the U.S., through a VPN. The company has not handed out tokens to users in the U.S., amid crypto’s regulatory uncertainty.)

A representative for Tools for Humanity, the company building Worldcoin, declined to comment on how much Altman himself was allocated during the token drop.

Worldcoin is an attempt to combat a future A.I. dystopia that some argue, through OpenAI, Altman is directly facilitating. The vision of the project, which recently netted $115 million in a funding round led by venture capital fund Blockchain Capital, is simple: As A.I. becomes more ingrained into our daily lives, it will become harder to distinguish between humans and machines. Therefore, we need a way to verify people’s humanity, or what Worldcoin calls “proof of personhood.”

The solution is pure science fiction—put into reality. Worldcoin scans people’s eyeballs through what it calls an Orb, a reflective metal ball that whirrs and blinks as it turns someone’s iris into cryptographic code. Then, all those who have been scanned will receive recurring grants of crypto as universal basic income, given A.I.’s propensity to put us out of work. Worldcoin has also recently unveiled World ID, a means for other applications to verify people using its platform through Worldcoin’s protocol.

Currently, the project, which aims to scan billions of eyeballs, has only scanned a bit more than 2 million, according to the white paper. Those individuals, if not based in the U.S., received an airdrop of 25 WLD tokens.

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