Sam Altman, the now former CEO of OpenAI, has departed his role and is leaving its board, according to a company post on Friday. Nevertheless, uncertainties about his involvement with other entities like Worldcoin, the crypto project he co-founded, linger as its token depreciates on the news.
Worldcoin’s token, WLD, fell more than 13% on the day, reaching $1.91, as per CoinMarketCap data. When questioned about Altman’s future at Worldcoin or its forthcoming plans, Worldcoin refrained from responding to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
Altman’s crypto project raised $115 million in May during a Series C round led by Blockchain Capital. In March, TechCrunch reported Altman’s board position at Worldcoin, clarifying that he is not involved in the project’s “day-to-day” operations.
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Worldcoin acquires users by scanning irises through its Orb, which then allocates users an “iris code” or “World ID” providing them access to the project’s application and furnishing them with “a digital passport,” as stated by Tiago Sada, head of product for Tools for Humanity and a core contributor to Worldcoin, during TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast in September. The verification process corroboratively enables individuals to authenticate their identity, and the iris code is utilized to prevent duplicate registrations.
In August, Worldcoin encountered resistance from countries, including Kenya, which prohibited the project from scanning more citizens’ irises (disregarding initial orders). Worldcoin has confronted criticism from opponents who assert that the company targets developing economies. The project remunerates most participants (outside the U.S. and certain other countries) with 25 WLD tokens, equivalent to approximately $48, upon registration, which could be interpreted as exploitative.
Sada justified the token distribution and outreach to developing countries, contending that most projects, particularly in crypto and tech, concentrate on emerging markets, as “those are the easier ones to operate in.”
While OpenAI declared on Friday that the board “no longer has confidence in [Altman’s] ability to continue leading” the company, its statement did not thoroughly elucidate the reasons behind Altman’s dismissal or his current status with other associated organizations, such as Worldcoin.
Worldcoin’s application has been downloaded over four million times, and its active users are “more than double” globally, according to a blog post from early November. More than 2.4 million “unique humans” are registered on Worldcoin, with approximately 53,800 new accounts created in the past seven days at the time of writing, and over 59,000 daily wallet transactions, according to the company’s website.