Iris scanning project Worldcoin (WLD) has unveiled an initiative aimed at supporting innovators working on resilient technology and promoting fairer systems.
On December 6, the Worldcoin Foundation unveiled a community funding initiative called “Wave0,” committing $5 million to this program. The grants are intended to enable developers to focus on building adaptive technology and fairer systems on the Worldcoin platform.
The initiative, supported by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, will distribute the grants through the Worldcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting WLD’s efforts. The foundation will provide $5 million in funding across three funding areas, with payments made in WLD tokens running on the Ethereum blockchain.
The grant provides for the allocation of approximately 2 million coins across three tracks in the Worldcoin Tech Tree. Firstly, up to 5,000 WLD are awarded through Community Grants for sponsorships, hackathons and similar initiatives.
Additionally, the Project Grants Track aims to support large-scale projects with grants of up to 25,000 WLD. The Open Track Grants focus on the most significant and ambitious projects that do not have a specific budget and are awarded on a case-by-case basis. The grants will support research and development projects, particularly those that address the intersection of privacy and biometrics.
Potential recipients also include projects proposing use cases leveraging Worldcoin and World ID, the protocol’s identification system. The funded projects are expected to contribute to the further development of the Worldcoin Tech Tree and focus on improvements to the World ID applications, protocol, user agents, hardware and operations.
To ensure greater inclusion, the Worldcoin Foundation may issue grants in Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) or similar stablecoins, although the protocol had previously stopped USDC payments to Orb operators in October 2023.
The foundation wants to encourage independent teams to make Orbs, the devices used for iris scanning in the Worldcoin project, thereby promoting decentralized production. Additionally, the scholarship program aims to address the scalability issues that arose during the launch of the Worldcoin token on the OP Mainnet, when an overwhelming number of users overwhelmed the system, driving the need for scaling solutions over the existing Layer 2 solutions made it clear.
Worldcoin co-founder Sam Altman is back in the leadership role after the recent turmoil
The news comes just weeks after Altman was fired from his role at ChatGPT creator OpenAI before being rehired. OpenAI’s status as a nonprofit company was reportedly a key point of contention in the dispute.
After some negotiations, Altman has returned along with President Greg Brockman, while Murati resumes her role as the company’s CTO. The agreement also includes a new set of board members, which will now include Microsoft.
Shortly after announcing their departure from OpenAI, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman were hired by Microsoft, one of OpenAI’s major shareholders. They will be part of the Microsoft team and lead an “advanced AI research team.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized that the company remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI despite the personnel changes.
Worldcoin, which launched in July 2023, has come under scrutiny due to privacy concerns from the crypto community. The protocol, which requires an iris scan to identify users, has set up registration centers in various developing countries, raising questions about its intentions.
Regulators in France and Germany have opened investigations into the project to review data collection and security systems. Despite opposition from skeptics, Worldcoin plans to expand its ID verification platform to corporations and governments.
Worldcoin has also published a paper on decentralization outlining the strategy for a protocol that is supposedly owned and managed by the people. The vision is for Worldcoin to become part of the global digital infrastructure, as robust, widespread and neutral as the Internet itself.
In November, the team said the app had now been downloaded over 4 million times. Some of the users who register seem to stick around and continue using the app even after downloading it. The app has reached 1 million monthly, 500,000 weekly and 100,000 daily active users. That’s twice as many as the number of monthly active users six months ago.
Despite these successes, the project continues to face criticism from some privacy advocates. On October 2, a parliamentary committee in Kenya ordered Worldcoin to cease operations in the country due to privacy concerns. The project complied with the order, but also issued a statement claiming to have complied with all data protection laws in the country.