Vitalik Buterin Issues Warning on $22,500,000,000 Crypto Project From OpenAI CEO, Says Major Privacy Risks Loom
Ethereum (ETH) creator Vitalik Buterin is weighing in on Worldcoin (WLD), a newly launched crypto project from OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT.
Worldcoin aims to be a decentralized database that verifies users’ identities by scanning their irises using a hardware “Orb.”
According to Worldcoin, it plans on manufacturing 1,500 Orbs and deploying them into 35 different cities to meet the “global demand for World ID.”
Hours after its official launch, the WLD token already has a $22.5 billion fully diluted valuation (FDV) and is up 33% since going live.
Potentially the most high profile and hyped crypto project of 2023, Worldcoin has attracted criticism for potential privacy risks, including from Ethereum’s Buterin who wrote a lengthy post on the new altcoin earlier today.
According to Buterin, he sees four major risks to Worlcoin that are the most obvious, the first of which being privacy.
“The registry of iris scans may reveal information. At the very least, if someone else scans your iris, they can check it against the database to determine whether or not you have a World ID. Potentially, iris scans might reveal more information.”
The second risk, according to the billionaire, is accessibility, given that World IDs are likely not going to be reliably accessible to most people unless there are an astronomical amount of Orbs all over the planet. The last two points are centralization and security risks, including the possibility that some kind of back door is added to the system for the Worldcoin Foundation to use for its own benefit.
“Centralization. The Orb is a hardware device, and we have no way to verify that it was constructed correctly and does not have backdoors. Hence, even if the software layer is perfect and fully decentralized, the Worldcoin Foundation still has the ability to insert a backdoor into the system, letting it create arbitrarily many fake human identities.
Security. Users’ phones could be hacked, users could be coerced into scanning their irises while showing a public key that belongs to someone else, and there is the possibility of 3D-printing “fake people” that can pass the iris scan and get World IDs.”
Buterin says there are other security threats to Worldcoin’s system, which may not be specific to Worldcoin but to all “proof of personhood” projects. He mentions the possibility of people using 3D fake persons to scan IDs, the selling of IDs, phone hacking which allows bad actors to control one’s ID, or governments coercing their citizens into using the system.
“These are pretty serious weaknesses. Some already have been addressed in existing protocols, others can be addressed with future improvements, and still others seem to be fundamental limitations.”
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