July 13, 2024
Worldcoin doubles down on emerging markets amid wider criticism

‘Those are the easier ones to operate in,’ the company’s head of product says

It has been 66 days since OpenAI CEO Sam Altman launched his crypto project Worldcoin to the public, and millions have already signed up for it — some enamored by the tech, others lured by the free tokens you get on signing up, and most driven by the hype. Still, the project seemingly has just as many, if not more, skeptics and critics.

Naysayers reacted to the hype around Worldcoin with almost the same level of intensity as its backers — Kenya famously halted the project from scanning any more of its citizens — but the company is still moving forward with its big plans.

“I think it’s super healthy for people to be skeptical,” Tiago Sada, head of product for Tools for Humanity and a core contributor to Worldcoin, said on TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast recently. “At the same time, we have seen a ton of adoption . . . When we first started going out, we were expecting a lot more skepticism, but people just are really, really excited by the Orb.”

Since the project was launched, about 2.325 million people, across 120 countries, have gone face-to-face with the Worldcoin Orb to sign up by scanning their irises. In the past seven days, about 39,000 new accounts have been made, and there have been over 130,000 daily wallet transactions, according to the company’s website.

Worldcoin has also been on a bit of a world tour starting in April, hitting major cities like Tokyo, Miami, New York City and San Francisco. In particular, it’s enjoyed a bunch of traction in smaller, developing regions, though the company would like everyone to believe traction is mostly spread out across the world.

“In Portugal, more than 1% of the population has already signed up for Worldcoin, so we’re starting to see some real traction all over the world,” Sada said. The project hit that mark in February, so overall adoption in the country has probably risen beyond that number since.

As of Tuesday, the company shared that over 200,000 people had verified their World ID in Chile, marking over 1% of that country’s population as well.

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