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Eye-scan crypto, Worldcoin criticized as ‘MLM Ponzi business model’

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If you want crypto but don’t have the cash to spare, you still have something to give in exchange: your eyeballs. Or more specifically, your biometric data.

This is the premise of Worldcoin, a new crypto project that wants everyone to have some of its WDC. But to make sure that recipients don’t come back twice, users have to accept an eye scan from an “orb.”

Not surprisingly, crypto influencers and watchers had a lot to say.

An ‘eye-palling’ accusation

A Twitter user [@zachxbt] who goes by “zach” compiled some information about the Worldcoin project before accusing it of having a Ponzi-type business model.

What’s more, Zach claimed that Worldcoin could give user data to third parties. Worldcoin, however, insisted that wallet-generating certificates couldn’t be linked back to the original user.

The next issue was Worldcoin’s funding. According to the company, investors included Coinbase, Multicoin, and even FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Adding to that, 20% of the 10 billion WDC supply will reportedly be used for a foundation and the investors.

For his part, podcast host Peter McCormack commented,

“This is terrible beyond words.”

McCormack also advised Worldcoin co-founder Sam Altman to “read the room.” Further, zach tweeted his viewpoint too.

Getting the side eye

In a video shared by Zach and credited to”Worldcoin University,” a man is seen promoting the initiative. He said,

“Because when we give you an orb, we’re not only giving you a key that can unlock Worldcoin to everyone in your region. We’re also giving you a mini-business to run.”

The video’s narrator went on to add that orbs could be rented out and that orb-owners would still be rewarded for sign-ups achieved by orb-renters. The presenter also suggested creating a committee of distributors to work “underneath” the orb-owner.

For this reason, user Zach accused Worldcoin of having a “MLM ponzi business model.

While the same presenter also tried to compare Worldcoin to Bitcoin, the analysis did not go down well.

One might think that not many would give up their biometric info so easily. However, according to Worldcoin’s website, more than 130,000 users have signed up. Moreover, this was allegedly accomplished with “less than 30 prototype Orbs in the field.”

As previously reported, Altman acknowledged the criticism. After defending Worldcoin’s privacy model, he concluded,

“All that said, I definitely underestimated the visceral reaction to using biometrics for identity verification (e.g., I love FaceID and I was surprised to hear from people who don’t) and it didn’t come through in Worldcoin’s field tests. Interesting update for me.”

‘Vision-ary’ views

One expert who also slammed the Worldcoin project was NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The privacy rights advocate advised people not to “catalogue eyeballs.”

Snowden also pointed out that in spite of Worldcoin’s privacy preservation measures, data could always be stored without consent or misused. Furthermore, he worried that even if the eye scans were deleted, past data could be used to identify future scans.

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Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a Masters in Journalism and her areas of study include crypto-regulation, digital society, privacy, and intersectionality. Ask her about film photography and philately.