Worldcoin's Mainnet, WLD Token Goes Live

Launch of the token comes alongside protocol launch and prior release of the wallet.

AccessTimeIconJul 24, 2023 at 5:43 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:12 p.m. UTC
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Sam Altman’s crypto project Worldcoin launched its WLD token and mainnet, the firm said Monday on Twitter. Altman is the co-founder of Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT.

The company ramped up expectations on Twitter over the weekend and Semafor first reported the news, although the launch was expected with an announcement going to the press under embargo.

A prompt to update the mobile app was shown to users on Sunday which blocked functionality in the app with the message "It's time. Join us in the World App. July 24, 2023 11 am."

WLD surged on crypto exchanges, adding more than 20%, according to CoinGecko data.

Developer access

Developers will now have access to the Worldcoin software development kit (SDK) to create tools and apps using the World ID, the project's identity protocol. In order to be fully verified, users must scan their irises using Orb, a tailor-made device that uses the scan to create a unique identifier, but doesn't process or store any related data locally, according to the company.

So far, the SDK has been available in beta mode, and verified users could have participated in four token airdrops.

"Beta tokens will get converted and they [users that participated in the beta] will be able to use those however they wish inside of World App or take them out elsewhere," said Tiago Sada, head of product, engineering & design at Tools for Humanity, the startup behind Worldcoin. The token is based on the Ethereum ERC-20 design.

Asked about the token being tradeable, Sada said "We'll see what what other parties choose to do. What we know is that there are certain features like some peer to peer concepts, that will be available from day one on the World App, and then everything else will be up to different people," meaning the developers who build with the protocol.

Biometric verification

The introduction of the token also means the project is finalizing its migration to the Optimism network, a layer 2 scaling option for Ethereum, and that Orb availability will be ramped up worldwide.

Up to now, some 200 Orbs had been made available, according to Sada. The firm plans to make 1,500 Orbs by the end of the year, and add the option to book appointments as opposed to pop-ups, Sada said. The Orbs are made in Germany, said Tools for Humanity's chief communications officer Rebecca Hahn.

Verification will be available in 35 cities in the coming months, and the app is available in 120 countries.

The Orbs have scanned over 2 million people: 32% of them in each of Asia and Africa, 19% in Latin America, and 17% in Europe, the firm said in its whitepaper.

The use of biometric data has raised eyebrows, but the company says it uses artificial intelligence to create unique codes to represent the scans and complies with "very, very local and very specific rules and regulations in each of the markets where there's an Orb," said Hahn.

For example, U.S. citizens and those based in the country cannot access the token, but they can get a verified World ID due to a lack of "regulatory clarity," said Sada. The company is confident it will see usage of the network in the U.S. based on people's excitement to sign up to World ID, Sada said.

Tools for Humanity raised a $115 million Series C in May. The round was led by Blockchain Capital with participation from a16z, Bain Capital Crypto and Distributed Global.

"In the age of AI, the need for proof of personhood is no longer a topic of serious debate; instead, the critical question is whether or not the proof of personhood solutions we have can be privacy-first, decentralized, and maximally inclusive," Worldcoin co-founder Alex Blania said in a press release.

UPDATE (July 24, 07:15 UTC): Adds confirmation, updates headline and story.

CORRECTION (July 24, 09:58 UTC): Corrects number of airdrops in sixth paragraph. Adds token price and verification details.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.

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