‘We don’t sell iris information,’ says Worldcoin’s only Korean employee

A promotional image of the Orb and World ID / Courtesy of Worldcoin

What is the most reliable yet economical way to verify someone as human? Worldcoin’s answer: scan their irises.

Co-founded by Open AI CEO Sam Altman, the project scans people’s irises with a device called the Orb, links the data to its blockchain system, and certifies their “proof of personhood” through World ID. So far, it collected information from 5.8 million people across 160 countries, with the goal of becoming the world’s largest privacy-preserving human identity and financial network.

Yet, this unprecedented method has been embroiled in privacy concerns, sparking investigations in many countries, including Korea. The project has led many to wonder about the possibility of Worldcoin stockpiling and misusing the global population’s iris information.

However, Noah Kim, the only Korean employee at Tools for Humanity, the developer of Worldcoin, told The Korea Times that this is the “biggest misunderstanding.” Kim, who works as a financial controller for the firm, also oversees general issues in the Korean market.

“The sole role of the Orb is to scan irises and verify whether the scanner is a human. We create an encrypted code and delete the rest of the data immediately,” Kim said.

Hoping to dismiss “false information” regarding the project, Kim also noted that Worldcoin will continue to fully cooperate with Korea’s Personal Information Protection Commission’s investigation, which started on Feb. 29.

Choosing the unfamiliar method of iris scanning also has its reasons, according to Kim.

Face recognition is not reliable since people can change their appearance through plastic surgery. Fingerprints can be easily manipulated and are prone to 토토 alternation. Many people have their fingerprints erased due to hard work. Verifying DNA for a significant number of people is unaffordable.

“Using iris information is the easiest and fastest way to establish the system when targeting 1 billion or even 10 billion people,” Kim said.

“The information guarantees anonymity. Because these facts weren’t properly explained, I believe people are reluctant to use it. We are preparing to create more real life application cases, so I hope more people will use World ID in the future.”

Currently, World ID offers a login service to 16 websites, including Reddit and Minecraft.

But one question emerges: why should one have to prove of their humanness anyway?

Kim pointed to the sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI) as a reason. The spread of AI makes distinguishing human and non-human users on the web an important task, and its importance will only grow, according to Kim.

“When we log in to certain websites, we often encounter puzzles to verify that we are human, not robots. But AI is already sophisticated enough to penetrate these processes,” Kim said.

For instance, in the U.S., time slots for restaurant reservations, are already being sold on the secondary market after being reserved through macro bots, according to Kim. Market Kurly, one of Korea’s largest online shopping platforms, recently accused a customer of abusing new subscriber benefits by creating multiple IDs using the information of acquaintances.

“By using World ID, we hope to develop solutions to the hottest issues in Korea, such as ticket scalping,” Kim said. “We are seeking partnership in Korea, hoping to collaborate with big corporations.”

“Despite the enormous amount of coins in the market, almost none of them have proved their real use. Internally, we do not talk about coins at all. What matters to us is World ID. We consider it a success when we can offer tools that genuinely benefit people and are widely used.”

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