Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buteren published a blog post raising concerns over the recently launched WorldCoin human identity verification system.
While exploring Sam Altman’s project WorldCoin and its operational mechanics, Buterin sheds light on broader concepts, including the Proof of Humanity approach.
WorldCoin, along with other identity solutions such as Proof of Humanity, BrightID, Idenum and Circles, believes that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will gradually blur the lines between human and machine, creating significant challenges in differentiation.
WorldCoin provides its users with a unique “digital passport” that allows them to prove that they are humans and not bots.
This huge catalog is achieved through the use of orbs, machines that scan a person’s eyeballs to create a World ID.
Buterin Addresses Major Concerns Regarding Worldcoin
While agreeing that this system of proof-of-identity provided by WorldCoin is valuable for solving “anti-spam and anti-concentration-of-power problems,” he added that it also brings great risks. Buterini wrote:
“If Proof of Individuality is not resolved, it becomes very easy for decentralized governance to be captured by very wealthy actors, including hostile governments.”
However, Buterin also pointed out that if a system like WorldCoin continues to be as decentralized as promised, it will “avoid reliance on centralized authorities and reveal the minimum possible amount of information.”
The co-founder of Ethereum’s first concerns were related to privacy – and the act of scanning someone’s iris.
Buterin feared it could yield much more data than it could see, including a person’s gender, ethnicity and even some medical conditions.
Buterin questions WorldCoin’s accessibility
Buterin also expressed concern over access and centralization within the WorldCoin Foundation and security.
According to the latest figures from WorldCoin, as the year progressed, they made 1,500 orbs accessible in 35 global cities, leading to a significant increase in the total number of weekly registrations from 40,000 to 200,000 individuals.
In total, WorldCoin estimates that two million people have already signed up for World ID.
However, Buterin expressed skepticism, saying “even with very large-scale distributed manufacturing, it would be difficult to reach a world where there is an orb within five kilometers of everyone.”
In his closing remarks, Buterin emphasized his belief that a world without proof of personhood presents its own set of risks and potential dangers.
He acknowledged that building a flexible system would be neither straightforward nor fast.
“I certainly don’t envy people doing this work, and many years will probably be needed to find a formula that proves effective.”