Worldcoin, the blockchain project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has successfully closed a $100 million seed funding round. The round saw the participation of both new and previous investors, including a16z, Coinbase’s venture capital division, Khosla Ventures, and Sam Bankman-Fried. The funding news is a positive signal for a crypto industry that has seen a drastic drop in venture funding for Web3 startups, from $9.1 billion in Q1 2022 to $1.7 billion in 2023, an 82% YoY decrease, according to Crunchbase.
Worldcoin’s ambitious goal is to bring biometric identification to Web 3.0, collecting and developing ID authentication support for retina scans. However, the use of biometric data as a security and authentication standard may raise concerns about privacy and surveillance. While Worldcoin aims to create a world that demands biomarkers to use apps and do business, it is not the inevitable outcome. Moving biometric data to the blockchain and using Web 3 techniques to manage private, personally identifying info for Internet users might be the safest, fairest, and freest way to do it. Web 3 can use zk-proofs and multi-party computation to keep that data private while proving to servers that request it that the user is who they say they are.
As a blockchain biometrics project, Worldcoin’s success in raising $100 million shows there is still enormous VC demand for investments in the crypto space, despite the year-long crypto winter that just may have ended in January, a string of failed crypto companies in recent months, and an epic regulatory battle with U.S. regulators.