What is Worldcoin, and how does it work?
Worldcoin started with a question: “What if there were a way to freely distribute shares of a new digital token to every person on the planet?”
If such an approach had been taken with Bitcoin, what kind of impact would it have had on individual empowerment?
From here, Worldcoin was created and has grown its mission to something even bigger: enabling universal access to the global economy by building the world’s largest identity and financial public utility. Here’s what that means.
What is Worldcoin?
Worldcoin is an open source protocol, or system, created to help give everyone access to the global economy. It’s designed to be decentralized, meaning that ultimately its supervision and decision making will rest with its community of users.
The people and organizations supporting Worldcoin are developing the tools that work together to help it achieve its mission. These include:
- World ID - a privacy-preserving digital identity designed to help solve many important, identity-based challenges including proving an individual’s unique personhood
- Worldcoin Token - the first token to be globally and freely distributed to people, for both utility and future governance, just for being a unique individual
- World App - a fully self custodial app that enables payment, purchases and transfers globally using the Worldcoin token, digital assets, stablecoins and traditional currencies
Importantly, Worldcoin—through World ID’s unique digital identity—can play an important role in demonstrating humanness in an online world populated with increasingly advanced artificial intelligence.
How does Worldcoin work?
Worldcoin works in three steps.
Step 1: Download the World App
Downloading the World App allows a person to set up their Worldcoin account and access a digital wallet connected to Worldcoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital and traditional currencies including stablecoins. World App is operated by Tools for Humanity, a contributor to the Worldcoin system.
Step 2: Sign up for World ID
It’s possible to use the World App without signing up for World ID. In order to receive a free share of Worldcoin Tokens and other digital currencies, however, a person must sign up for World ID by visiting a Worldcoin Operator and verifying their unique personhood at an Orb. This process may evolve in the future to include other verification signals.
The Orb uses iris biometrics to establish an individual’s unique personhood, then creates a digital World ID that can be used pseudonymously in a wide variety of everyday applications without revealing the user's identity.
- Learn more about how the Orb works and why Worldcoin uses biometrics
- Learn more about the Orb hardware and engineering files
Step 3: Receive your free share of Worldcoin and other digital currencies
Once an individual has verified their unique personhood, they can use their World ID within the World App to learn about digital currencies and receive free airdrops of Bitcoin, Ethereum and more. After the mainnet launch, people in countries where the Worldcoin Token is available (per our Terms and Conditions) will also be able to use their World ID to claim their share of free Worldcoin Tokens.
Organizations connected to Worldcoin
Worldcoin is currently supported by two important organizations: The Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity.
The Worldcoin Foundation is a non-profit organization setup to support and grow the Worldcoin community until it becomes self-sufficient. It will do this through things like cultivating a community of developers making grants and establishing ways for the user community to participate in the governance of the protocol.
Tools for Humanity (TFH) is a global technology company established to accelerate the transition towards a more just economic system. It led the initial development of the Worldcoin protocol and is continuing to build tools and help support the Worldcoin protocol, in addition to operating the World App. Over time, TFH will continue to develop important tools for Worldcoin and beyond.
As the Worldcoin protocol develops and expands, more companies will likely join to support its growth. To stay up to date on Worldcoin updates including the launch of new features and the addition of more companies supporting the Worldcoin protocol, subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this page.