Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Discusses Worldcoin’s Biometric Proof of Personhood

Co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin explored the idea of biometric evidence of personhood, a subject that is gaining popularity in the Ethereum community, in a blog post from July 24, 2023. The article “What do I think about biometric proof of personhood?” examines the possible benefits and difficulties of decentralized proof-of-personhood solutions.

According to Buterin, proof of personhood is a kind of real-world identification that claims a certain registered account is run by a real person, preferably without disclosing whose actual person it is. The “unique-human problem” is addressed by this idea, which has become the subject of various initiatives, including Proof of Humanity, BrightID, Idena, and Circles.

One of the most ambitious projects in this space is Worldcoin, co-founded by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. Worldcoin’s approach to proof of personhood is unique as it relies on sophisticated biometrics, scanning each user’s iris using a specialized hardware called “the Orb”. The goal is to distribute these Orbs globally, making it easy for anyone to get an ID.

Buterin acknowledges the criticisms Worldcoin has faced, including privacy and security concerns around the Orb, design issues in its “coin”, and ethical issues around some choices the company has made. He also discusses the broader concerns about whether biometrics are a good idea at all and the potential risks of proof of personhood in general, such as privacy leaks, coercion by authoritarian governments, and the challenge of maintaining security while being decentralized.

The blog post also explores the importance of proof of personhood, stating that it is valuable because it solves anti-spam and anti-concentration-of-power problems, avoids dependence on centralized authorities, and reveals minimal information. Without proof of personhood, decentralized governance becomes easier to capture by wealthy actors, including hostile governments.

Buterin also discusses the potential applications of proof of personhood, which include airdrops for token distributions, voting in DAOs, protection against bots/sybil attacks in social media, and an alternative to captchas for preventing DoS attacks, among others.

Despite the potential benefits, Buterin acknowledges the challenges that biometric proof-of-personhood systems face, including privacy concerns, accessibility issues, and centralization risks. He also explains Worldcoin’s solutions to these problems, including as its long-term dedication to decentralization, its use of ZK-SNARKs and other cryptographic tools to safeguard users’ anonymity, and its possibility for auditing Orbs to make sure they are constructed appropriately.

In conclusion, Buterin’s paper offers a thorough examination of the idea of biometric evidence of personhood, as well as its possible advantages and drawbacks. It presents a fair viewpoint, taking into account both the necessity for major issues to be addressed as well as the potential for these systems to tackle important problems.

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Worldcoin Whitepaper Analysis: Revolutionizing Digital Identity and Global Finance

The whitepaper for the Worldcoin project, which aims to create a global identification and financial network, was just released. This paper gives a thorough summary of the project’s goals, guiding principles, and future strategies. The purpose of this post is to examine the key points mentioned in the Worldcoin whitepaper.

The creation of a worldwide “proof of personhood” system is at the core of Worldcoin’s aim. With the help of this system, people might verify their individuality and humanity without having to reveal their real-life identities. This idea is crucial in the current digital age since it is becoming harder to distinguish between people and AI bots. According to Worldcoin, designing customized biometric hardware is the solution to this problem.

Worldcoin’s identity verification system, known as World ID, is designed to be privacy-preserving. It uses zero-knowledge proofs to verify an individual’s humanity while maintaining their privacy. The system operates through a custom biometric device called the Orb, which is designed to issue AI-safe proof of personhood verifications. The Orb is operated by a network of independent local businesses, and all images taken by the device are promptly deleted to ensure privacy.

The Worldcoin token (WLD) is issued to all network participants to align their incentives around the growth of the network. This strategy is particularly crucial in the early stages of the project to overcome the “cold start problem”. If successful, the Worldcoin token could become the most widely distributed digital asset.

Worldcoin’s infrastructure also includes the World App, the first wallet app that supports the creation of a World ID. To engage with the Worldcoin protocol, individuals must first download the World App and visit a physical imaging device, the Orb, to get their World ID Orb-verified.

Worldcoin aims to increase global equality of opportunity by providing universally accessible decentralized financial and identity infrastructure. The project envisions a future where everyone, regardless of their location, can participate in the global digital economy. This could fundamentally change the way humans transact value, identify themselves, and interact on the internet.

Worldcoin’s vision for the future includes instant and borderless financial transactions, protection against bots and spam messages, and the fairer distribution of limited resources. The project also sees potential for global democratic governance mechanisms and a path to AI-funded Universal Basic Income (UBI).

While Worldcoin’s vision is ambitious, it’s important to note that the project is still in its early stages. The success of the project will depend on various factors, including the widespread adoption of the Worldcoin token, the effectiveness of the Orb device in verifying personhood, and the development of applications built on top of the Worldcoin infrastructure.

In conclusion, Worldcoin presents a novel approach to the challenges of digital identity and financial inclusion. By leveraging custom biometric hardware and blockchain technology, the project aims to create a globally inclusive identity and financial network. However, the realization of Worldcoin’s vision will require significant technological advancements and widespread adoption. As with all emerging technologies, potential users and investors should conduct their own due diligence before getting involved.

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