In my latest podcast, I’ve been discussing the vision and activities of a company called Tools for Humanity. They are developing fascinating technology that tries to address some key issues in blockchain and cryptocurrency, like identity verification. Their approach is a radical one; they propose to use iris scanning for creating a unique, non-falsifiable identity on the blockchain.
This opens the door for many new possibilities, but it also raises some significant questions and concerns. How much can we trust Tools for Humanity? Do we have faith in the security of the data in their Orb device? While I respect their vision and believe they’re moving in an interesting direction, I can’t offer an expert opinion on the safety and security aspects, as I’m not a hardware specialist.
The Dangerous Decision-Making Tree
One of my main concerns is that people may put too much faith in charismatic figures or entities, even when the fundamental aspects of a project could be flawed or dangerous. I’m reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Talking to Strangers,” which warns about the perils of overtrust. It tells stories from history where people were misled into supporting dangerous actions because they were charmed or convinced by influential personalities.
The Three Arms of Tools for Humanity
Tools for Humanity seems to have three distinct aspects. The first, as I mentioned, is their focus on identity on the blockchain. While I have my reservations, I’m not totally against this approach, especially if the data is secure.
The second aspect is a wallet linked to this identity. If the first part of their proposal works, the wallet is a logical next step. It doesn’t seem controversial to me, and it could find acceptance among various platforms and wallets if it proves to be an effective tool for crime prevention and KYC/AML compliance.
The third part is WorldCoin, which I find the most questionable and potentially sketchy. It feels like a departure from the other two elements and brings in a bunch of issues I find hard to reconcile.
WorldCoin appears to be an attempt to incentivize people to scan their irises and adopt the identity system. However, the tokenomics seem off to me. The currency is extremely diluted, and there seems to be a significant number of tokens held by early VCs and the WorldCoin team, which could potentially be dumped on the market for a profit.
Furthermore, they have set up a multi-level referral program, which seems to lean into the realm of a pyramid or MLM scheme. This is where I start to feel some serious red flags.
Value and Utility
Beyond these issues, I find myself questioning the actual utility of WorldCoin. It’s not clear to me what practical use it serves. The act of scanning your iris and getting WorldCoins doesn’t inherently create any value. If there’s no tangible or useful output, it’s just work for work’s sake. It doesn’t make sense, at least not to me.
In my view, if they had used an established cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or even a stablecoin like USDT/USDC, it could have been a different story. The introduction of their own coin with questionable utility is what tinges the whole project with an element of sketchiness.
I want to state clearly that I have a lot of respect for Tools for Humanity’s team. They seem highly knowledgeable in cryptography and are undoubtedly building something intriguing. If they had simply built the Orb without attaching WorldCoin to it, I would probably have less of an issue.
Even though I support having separate cryptocurrencies and see tokens as a way to build communities, in this case, I don’t see WorldCoin serving these purposes.
To conclude, while I find Tools for Humanity’s vision and approach interesting, I have serious reservations about some aspects of their project. I look forward to understanding their perspective better and will try to set up an interview with their CEO to discuss these points further. Stay tuned!
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