In the latest episode of Unchained, Alex Blania, the cofounder of Worldcoin, addressed several concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency project, including allegations of black market activity, privacy concerns, and the perception that Worldcoin is offering ‘free money’ to users who may not fully understand the implications of their participation.

A Black Market for Biometric Data?

Worldcoin has been facing criticism due to its unique method of distribution. The project uses a device called the ‘Orb’ to scan users’ irises as a form of biometric identification. This method, while innovative, has raised concerns about potential misuse. There have been reports of a black market for iris scans, where people sell their biometric data for others to claim the free Worldcoin tokens. This has raised serious questions about the security and ethical implications of Worldcoin’s distribution model. However, Blania said, “This is not what’s happening here.”

Blania acknowledged that while Worldcoin users can technically sell their credentials, the incentive to do so has significantly decreased since the token went live. He explained that, in his view, it’s more profitable for users to receive their airdrops than to sell their credentials to someone who doesn’t have access to their account. Despite the security measures in place, Blania admitted that there’s nothing that fundamentally prevents credential trading from happening.

Privacy Issues and ‘Free Money’

In the face of mounting privacy concerns, Blania staunchly defended Worldcoin’s approach. He underscored the project’s commitment to privacy, asserting that Worldcoin is fundamentally privacy-preserving and open-source. This, he argued, offers a level of transparency and security that is often lacking in the digital realm. “Consider the services we use daily, like Google login,” Blania said. “They don’t offer the same privacy guarantees as Worldcoin.” 

Regarding the perception that Worldcoin is offering “free money,” Blania argued that this is not fundamentally a bad thing. He pointed out that the demand surge in Kenya, Tokyo, and other places shows that people across the globe are interested in the project. However, he acknowledged that many first-time crypto users do not fully understand the trade-offs involved in using crypto, which is a problem for the entire space, not just Worldcoin.

“It’s unfair to hold me accountable for the fact that people don’t understand how crypto works, as this is a common issue in the crypto space,” Blania argued. He also noted that Worldcoin aims to onboard billions of users, and it’s unrealistic to expect all of them to fully understand what Worldcoin is and how it works.

Despite the challenges and criticisms, Blania remains optimistic about Worldcoin’s future. He believes that the project will become a “very powerful technology” and will play a significant role in onboarding people to crypto.