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Worldcoin Unveils Mainnet, WLD Token Surges 68% on Trading Debut

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Worldcoin, the divisive digital identity project backed by Open AI CEO Sam Altman, has today launched its mainnet, a statement shared by its co-founders via the project's Twitter account confirmed. Worldcoin launched unofficially in March along with a waitlist for its Worldcoin software development kit (SDK) before releasing a gas-free crypto wallet, World App, for verified users on May 8.

A new identity and financial network

The Worldcoin protocol is at the base of an eponymous public network that entails World ID – a privacy-preserving digital identity that proves a user's unique personhood. Earlier this month, its developers said the beta version of the project had onboarded more than 2 million users via sign-ups to World ID.

In addition to the decentralized digital passport of sorts, the ecosystem also features the World App – a wallet service through which users can execute purchases and transfers using fiat or digital assets. During the beta stage, new users were offered free WLD tokens after verifying their identities by scanning their irises using a biometric (eye-scanning) device called ‘the Orb.'  Worldcoin developers said the scans are key in ensuring that a person can only have a single Worldcoin ID.

“The Orb weighs 2.8 kg, or just under 6.2 lbs. It doesn’t weigh 3.2840087588 kg, although that would be an interesting coincidence”

Worldcoin's development team, San Francisco and Berlin-based Tools for Humanity, reportedly closed a Series C round led by Blockchain Capital barely three weeks later on May 25, through which it raised $115 million to fund its ecosystem. Specifically, the team said it planned to advance its World ID and World App, which operates on Polygon.

To learn more about Polygon, check out our Investing in Polygon guide.

Mainnet launch and tokenomics

Per its tokenomics documentation released Monday, WLD has an initial supply of 10 billion, with roughly 75% allocated to its community, 13.5% to Tools for Humanity investors and 9.8% to the development team. 1.7% will be held in reserve.

“It's time, registration for $WRD is now open! All users are invited to sign up to secure their spot in our upcoming Worldcoin distribution.” Worldcoin team said.

WLD community's already minted supply of 7.5 billion WLD will be unlocked entirely over a period of 15 years. The community can then debate on introducing an inflation rate of up to 1.5% after the unlocking period has been eclipsed. The currently supply is expected to top at 143 million – 43 million to be airdropped to early users during pre-launch as part of the genesis grant and the rest to be distributed in loans with an expiry of three months.

“It seems that people who have undergone iris authentication can now claim WLD on Optimism. Currently, over 90,000 individuals are eligible to claim, with the majority able to claim around 25 tokens each,” on-chain insights tool Scopescan reported on Monday.

Access to the tokenomics docs, part of the project's whitepaper, is currently geo-restricted in some regions.

Mixed reception and criticism

Notably, the blockchain mainnet and token launches follow the Worldcoin protocol's migration to the OP mainnet – a transition process that began in February. The startup on Monday revealed plans to create 1,500 Orbs to be deployed by the end of the year in more than 35 cities across 20 countries so as to expedite user sign-ups.

However, the project has drawn mixed reactions from internet users on social platforms, with some opposing its heavily AI-influenced proof-of-personhood system that poses privacy, security and accessibility risks.

“At no time should a corporation or state own any part of the global financial system,” Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a tweet, questioning the project's unconventional and ethical approach.

Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin also expressed critical views in a lengthy article where he explained in details on the biometric proof of personhood (PoP) – the concept underpinning Worldcoin

Proof-of-Personhood (PoP) construction

Nonetheless, Worldcoin developers denied that the project stores users' data presenting in justification that the data is only used to generate a zero-knowledge proof that verifies that the user is human.

The beta phase of the project has also been faulted for predominantly focusing on the global south. Most sign-up figures coming from cities like Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and Tokyo. In addition, Worldcoin tokens are not available in the US due to regulatory issues.

To learn more about Optimism, check out our Investing in Optimism guide.

Debut on exchanges

Major exchanges, including HTX, Bybit, OKX, and Binance, have listed the token on their trading platform with plans to allow withdrawals as early as tomorrow. Other exchanges like Bitget, BitMart, Bitrue, Bithumb, and KuCoin have also communicated WLD listing.

WLD token debut (UTC +3 hrs)

The WLD token was trading at $2.80 – 68% in the green at the time of reporting.

Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.