Apr 19, 2024

Tiago Sada, head of product, engineering and design at Tools for Humanity, which is developing Worldcoin joins "First Mover" to discuss the significance of digital identity and how Worldcoin plans on preserving privacy in a decentralized environment.

Video transcript

In general, I think people shouldn't trust others, right? Like that's the whole premise of crypto. I think that the whole model of don't be evil clearly didn't work. The only thing that works is you can't be evil. And so world coin is designed a way in which the teams, whoever that is or which are working on it at the time cannot be evil now or in the future. And so a lot of things go into that for starters. This is why it's decentralized, right? And this is why it runs on block. It's not just because blockchains are fun. Blockchains are actually a lot harder to build on, but they're important because you don't have to trust anyone. Digital identity is a hot topic. And on this show, we've explored solutions to digital identity that include using technologies like zero knowledge proof. World coin has been tackling digital identity in a slightly different way. If you've been following the project, you know that it became popular in 2021 when the company raised more than $100 million to realize their vision of achieving a more equitable global economy. Since then, they've launched campaigns to scan human eyeballs to gain access to aspects of their application and to get WLD tokens. Now, the project has announced that it is building a layer two ethereum Blockchain that will be based on optimism stack to offer users cheaper and faster speeds. The chain is designed to prioritize verified humans over A I bots and trading algorithms and users who scan their eyeballs to verify themselves will get special treatment. Tiago Sada is the head of product at Tools for Humanity and World Coin core team member, Tiago. Welcome back to first mover. Thank you for having me, Jen. It's always great coming by to talk about the news. Of course, there have been several different developments over the years when it comes to the World Coin ecosystem, but I got to get you to lay a foundation for me. Our audience doesn't watch every single one of our videos. Talk to me about the state of world coin today. Where are you focused? Yeah. So at its essence, World coin is basically a large network of real people, right? Just like Facebook is a network and you can do stuff there. World coin is a network of real people. Uh You have instead of a profile, you have a passport that is called a World ID that lets you prove that you're a human online while remaining anonymous uh in certain countries. Um There is the the world going token uh that you can do certain stuff with. Uh and then today we're introducing a new pillar to the project, which is World Chain, which is going to be the new home for everything that is happening. Uh And the first reason there's some cool things about World Chain that we can talk about later. But first, like why does World Chain exist in the first place is the project has just grown its current home in optimism. Uh We announced last week that the project will hit 10 million total uh registered users and just today, we hit 5 million verified users. That means people that not only have a world ID, but that have also visited or to verify it. And so the project is growing tremendously today. It represents 44% of all activity and optimism and just to be able to keep up with that pace of uh on boarding users and keep providing a good experience for existing users. It's come time to migrate to a dedicated network for the project. Well, talk to me a little bit about those users because as you know, we've spoken about this before on the show, there was some skepticism as to, you know, actually scanning your eyeballs with what the firm was going to do with that data, but it sounds like you're gaining traction. It sounds like despite that people are still opting into the world coin ecosystem. Where are your users coming from? What are they excited about? Yeah. So us come from all over the world. I think it's something like 100 and 60 countries and there's a really cool map that we just put out there today where you can actually visualize them around the world. Uh There's a lot, for example, in Germany, Portugal, in Argentina, uh most recently in Asia, we're seeing a ton of growth. And so um that is that are visiting orbs and then in even more countries, you have people downloading uh a compatible wallet, creating a World Id. And a lot of people don't know this, but you can actually already use World Id and start using it to authenticate in like discord or Reddit. Even without going to an orb just a lower level of verification of a world ID. Tell me about, give me an example, talk me through the consumer journey of using it on an app like let's say reddit totally. So let's say that you're on a subreddit and they're struggling with bots, right? Or like spam? And so today, the reddit allows you to assign roles to individual team members and you can have roles per permissions. Well, now what uh Reddit moderators can do with World Id is they can actually create a role that is this person is a verified human, right? It's almost like a blue check mark for that subreddit. So they can create special rules that can say, hey, you know what uh people can only do five comments per day. But if they're verified human, they get to do like 20 comments per day because they know that you're not above, right? So similar. There's a similar plugging on Discord, right? Where, um, you've probably been on a bunch of this crypto Discord. Um, it's crazy and I don't like saying that. It's totally crazy. It's, yeah, the experience sucks. And so, for example, today, if you go to the World Coin Discord, you'll actually get prompted to do this, right? You can uh verify your Discord account on that server with a world ID. And it depends on the world ID level you have, right? Some Discord servers will say like, hey, it's enough if you've just verified your World ID with your mobile device, other Discord servers that want to be stricter will say like, hey, you actually need like an orb verified world ID. And so that just depends how much security they want to have. Um And the cool thing is you can prove that you are a real and unique human. So basically to get that blue check mark, but fully anonymously. So using zero knowledge proofs like you were talking about, you are able to generate that proof. And so your activity across all of these websites is completely disconnected from each other. Those websites only get to know that you are a real and unique human, but without learning anything about them, why is this the solution? You know, there are a lot of different projects using zero knowledge proof for proof of identity or proof of personhood. Talk to me about how world coin is different. Yeah. So generally digital identity is a huge topic and the welcome project is just tackling a tiny part of that right now. But we think it's a very important piece which is proof of personhood. And that's just basically the problem is in a world with advanced A I when anything can be faked, like we don't know who and what to trust. You go on Twitter and you don't know if like 20,000 accounts or 20,000 people or just 20,000 bots trying to push you an opinion, right? And you talk to developers and, and founders and they are facing that in like financial services uh in like cryptos in Blockchain is clearly this is why block uh world chain is now a Blockchain that is directly integrated with World ID, even something as simple as like Taylor Swift tickets, right? She cannot put out her tickets out for sale without pos taking it over. So we think proof of personhood is a really important primitive on top of which you can then build the centralized identity and and proof of person who wrote the idea as a protocol is actually un opinionated about which type of proof of person who is first, you can have different types of verifications. The protocol currently supports two, but anyone could deploy additional types of verifications. Now specific to the orb um we actually experimented for more than four years with things like document verification, web of trust, a bunch of different ideas. And at the end of the day, it turns out that the only thing that just fundamentally allows you to prove that someone is a real person is biometrics. Now, the fun part is doing that in a way that is privacy preserving in a way that can be decentralized and open source. That's really hard. So that is why it took more than three years for the project from when it was started until it was launched. And now that that is exactly what world coin is, right? When you verify your world idea at an orb, it's able to do so without your data leaving the device, your data is actually self custodial, just like your wallet is self custodial. Uh the hardware and the software and all the A I models of the orb are open source. And most importantly, the protocol is decentralized. So everyone can see what is happening and no one can cheat. Tho do you find that people trust you when you say this? And the reason I ask you this is we've been trained not to trust the companies that collect our data because there have been so many data breaches um across different web. Two companies across governments are we're constantly told our data is protected and then it's actually not. Have you found that folks are asking this question or have you found it hard to garner that trust? So, in general, I think people shouldn't trust others, right? Like that's the whole premise of crypto. I think that the whole model of don't be evil clearly didn't work. The only thing that works is you can't be evil. And so world coin is designed a way in which the teams, whoever that is or which are working on it at the time cannot be evil now or in the future. And so a lot of things go into that for starters. This is why it's decentralized, right? This is why it runs on Blockchain. It's not just because blockchains are fun. Blockchains are actually a lot harder to build on, but they're important because you don't have to trust anyone. Same thing with the open source, right? Building open source software is like harder in many ways in particular software that is to be secure and hardware, you can imagine how difficult it is to build open source hardware. The reason those matter is so that you don't have to trust someone. Yes, there's been audits, right? And we can sit right now and talk about the many audits that uh professionals have done around the world on the privacy, the security, the integrity of the system. But at the end of the day, you would still need to trust them. So the powerful thing about something like roll coin is that you don't have to trust anyone, you can just go on github today and see exactly what is happening. Um And um and I think that's like bearing in line with the ethos of crypto. I guess what I mean is, don't the people who are going to the actual physical orbs and getting their eyeball scanned, don't they need to trust that that data is actually um not being stored uh as it's been outlined by World Coin. Yeah. Again, so all of that is open source, but it's a good question. And it's something that when the project started, we had to like, go out and figure out, right? Like how do people feel about this? And to be honest, we were surprised by just how excited people were about this, even though we designed the system in a way in which it did not require trust. The reality of things is like people understand the project, they're excited about it and they would be willing to trust if that was required. Um What we found is like with any type of technology, there's early adopters and you have like the majority and you have late adopters. And I remember like when I first got my, my first phone, my dad was like, oh, I'll never have a phone. Like you, you're the only one in this house. And then like now you cannot take it away from him. And I think we're seeing something similar to be honest with you like nowadays. And I expect that for a long time, we'll continue to be focused on just like that early adopters that like that are super excited and where they want to join. Um we don't have capacity to service them from like an orbs perspective. We cannot make orbs fast enough from like an app perspective. There's just a lot of innovation that needs to happen the ecosystem. And then most recently, just unchain capacity, what we found is that we are not just already 40% or 44% of all the activity on main net uh in peak days, which is like quite often like every week or every two weeks, our users already exceeded the capacity of the network period. And so part of why world chain is so important is that uh we just need to expand capacity to keep servicing the current users and keep welcoming users at this rate. And so what we've seen everywhere is uh anywhere you start putting orbs, it always starts with the first adopt, our focus is on uh starting to uh be able to like service them. But then as their friends and as their family understand the project, understand how private it is. Uh they understand like, yeah, it's not super intuitive that like this happens to be the most private way to use things. But it but it is um then you start seeing like this noble effect when like uh just locally in different cities and communities, people start signing up faster. What's making people excited in the regions that you outlined to go out and interact with the orb, do you think? Yeah, I think it's, it's a bunch of different reasons. Um I think it really changes per country, right? So for example, I was in Asia a couple of months ago in Japan and Korea and there uh it's, it's very much like the world ID side of things, right? Like that is if you talk with them, uh they like really understand like where A I is going and they really feel the need for proof of personhood. If you look, for example, like across the world in Argentina where like a ton of people have also joined world coin. It's actually the the wallet and the financial services side of things, right? Uh in particular, in Argentina, getting access to digital dollars is something super important. And so about 30% of all transactions in the world coin ecosystem, in particular, in Argentina, uh are just payments between people, which is something that we've always talked about in the context of crypto, but we're seeing it every day with users. And so I think that depending on which part of the world you're talking about. Um different things are interesting for different people in Europe. For example, people are just curious about crypto and uh and we hear a lot like Hey, I've never like signed up to this. I've never gotten a Bitcoin but uh but just the idea of like joining and getting my first Cryptocurrency something interesting. So it changes quite a bit depending on the, on the region you're talking about. Right. Thiago, we've talked to a bunch of different folks who are developing a lot of different layer twos. It seems that 2023 and 2024 are the years of layer two development. Why do we need so many layer twos? And I guess how are you thinking about remaining competitive as more and more layer twos pop up? Yeah, so I think that world chain will be a different type of chain. Um We've, I don't think we will try to compete for like normal users or to have like every single use case that uh that crypto has. I think there's a ton of like great L twos that already service that for example, I think like base is amazing. I think O man it has its role. Uh I think there's a lot of really cool L twos that serve the role. I think honestly just roll coin like for world chain, it starts with like just don't fit in any other L two anymore. And so we need a, a home for, for this community which is usually a very different type of community. Our users, the vast majority of is the first time in crypto they're not using a bunch of chains, they're not using a bunch of features. They're using just a handful of things that are actually useful in day to day life, whether it's payments, proof of personhood, um holding a couple of crypto assets and that's it. And so I expect that um what I would imagine that the way the world coin and the world chain ecosystem will evolve is that it will continue to grow in terms of just normal people that are trying to use things that are useful for their day to day lives. And the the couple of those that become like power users and they want to like level up or start experimenting with a bunch of other things, they'll be able to do that in other chains and that's totally fine. What's the value prop for developers? What kind of developers are you hoping come over and start building on World Chain? Yeah. So we've um we've done a couple of big announcements over the past year or two. And honestly, it was surprising just how much pool we had for developers and how much exciting we had. Um As soon as we started talking about World Chain, there's two reasons for that. First of all, I mean, obviously just the real human side of things, right? Like it's, it's a problem that everyone has every depth. And so just having a chain that will be entirely built around um verified humans. Um Of course, if you're not verified, you can still use it. But having one place with a ton of verified humans is just super useful for developers. Uh But then two, which is quite interesting. It's just distribution right at the end of the day, what developers want is they're putting a ton of work into their products and they want to reach real people like around the world. And that is something that today the world coin ecosystem has more than 10 million users, more than 2 million of those are active every day uh on the on chain. And so for developers just get access to that user base and getting to really easily ship products to them. I think that's something that they're really excited about. Uh that obviously gets compounded with all the cool things that come with world chain. So the fact that uh transactions from verified humans get priority block space, the fact that verified humans also get a free gas allowance. So it's a lot easier to get started with all of these unchain apps. And then in all the countries where the we coin token is available, these users are also receiving um their their wein grants every two weeks. And so they can use those tokens to actually extend them and use them across all of this app ecosystem. So I think that for developers just, it's the first time that they can reach users with this breath across the world uh and just ship things to them directly uh for their day to day lives. I know you mentioned payments a little bit earlier. What kind of applications are best suited for the chain if we're talking to developers, definitely things focused on normal people. And for everyday life, I would say like if this is something that like a super weird experimental thing, probably like so many things are in this industry, you can definitely deploy on a world chain, right? Like it's it's open and permission list. But I think that just in general like the type of users and the type of ecosystem that this will probably be is products built around stablecoins products that leverage civil resistance products that marry those things, right? And so a lot of we've talked to a couple of developers that have said, you know what, maybe this is the first time we can actually build under collateralized lending because you have proof of person, you have decentralized finance. Uh And so I think that a lot of use cases around both personal decentralized finance and uh and proof of personhood and the marriage of those is what you will see. We've talked about verification via the orbs. Uh what are the other tiers of verification if people can't get out to an orb and achieve that? I I'm gonna call it like the ultimate level. Yeah. So today there is three levels of verification. Um This, this is part of what we announced in December with World ID 2.0. Uh there's basically an unverified world ID, then there is something that is called device verified World ID, which means uh that uh through the app, you're able to perform a verification that gives developers some security, obviously not as much as the orb but for certain use cases, right? If you just want to make sure that people only like a video once uh that's probably sufficient. and then you have the orb verification, which is the highest level of verification that truly gives you not just really strong personhood proof of uniqueness, right? You know that a person is only doing each thing once. So for example, if you want to build a one person, one vote system, you would probably use that uh rather than uh unverified or device verified for ladies. But in the future, I imagine that the community will continue like innovating on a bunch of different levels. And at the end of the day, it will be a spectrum where or verification will always be the highest level of verification. Uh But then there's probably a bunch of things in the middle that uh people smarter than us can, can think about. And Tiago lastly, before we wrap up here, take a look into your crystal ball. Tell me about the future. You imagine what does world chain, what are the different products that World Coin has released over the last year or so? Like World ID unlock. What does that future look like? I don't know if you saw this, the story of Richard, uh the guy in, in Kenya that puts one goat with uh with World Up and with his ro coin tokens. And um and this is a person that was just walking around in the mall. Heard about world about crypto in general for the first time. Um through World coin, he downloaded World App stories in the wallet. Eventually he got verified. Uh he was getting his tokens recurrently and then eventually he bought a video and he posted about it, right? And even if the story just ended with that, I think that is amazing. But then what happened is like the entire community started uh just contributing to buy more goats. And now this guy is like an amazing story, like really cool guy um has all these goats and I think that when you look at that story, uh that is not what we can do to a person that is what all of these projects that everyone is building. Um decentralized, finance, decentralized identity, like what blockchains in general can do for people's lives. And this is what we hear all the time like where I go to to Japan or to Argentina or to Norway, these type of stories that you hear. So what roll coin is doing is just accelerating the adoption of all of these primitives that the entire community is building, right? And so I think that what happens is exactly that of times 1 billion people. Uh The Rokin project is designed to uh accelerate adoption of these primitives to at least 1 billion people. And, and to me, it's just really inspiring to see a that is working right, that it's already the fastest growing project in crypto period. But b that is actually having that type of effect around the world that we think it can have. Not just through the token, not just through the ID, but by giving all of these primitives that the entire community is building to these people as they on board into the protocol. Thiago. Thanks so much for joining the show. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Jen.

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