Free Crypto Promises in Exchange for Scanning Eyeballs with ‘The Orb’ Falling

It’s another day in 2022, so here’s yet another intensely bizarre and dystopian story related to cryptocurrencies.

A cryptocurrency company is traveling the world, asking people to look at a giant reflective sphere in exchange for the promise of cryptocurrency compensation. BuzzFeed News (opens in new tab) explains that the currency is called Worldcoin and specifically targets countries with poor populations.

Worldcoin is setting up kiosks in countries across Africa and Asia, with staff trained to convince people to give up their biometrics. The story goes that the stall owners would offer a t-shirt and a $20 Wolrdcoin voucher once it was released, in exchange for an iris scan of the mysterious orb. The claim is that scanning is to prevent multiple enrollments from a single person, but it’s a pretty handy way to accumulate a ton of biometric data potentially at no cost.

There is the additional promise of the currency appreciation proposal once it becomes available. This smacks of unreliable business, but for people down on luck, this doesn’t sound like terrible business, no matter how evil this orb certainly is.

However, as expected by many, it seems more like a hoax, but this time it’s not North Korea (opens in new tab). Many people who signed up for the voucher report receiving nothing despite months having passed. Kiosk operators are reporting rogue work and orb issues. Generally speaking, it all looks exactly as dodgy as could be expected for everyone involved in the scheme.

Despite mounting evidence of bad faith, Worldcoin bosses are still forging ahead. The narrative is that this cryptocurrency will be used to give everyone a universal basic income. This, along with the need to collect a wider range of biometric data, are reasons given to target poorer countries. It also promises to anonymize the biometric data collected, but did not say when.

It is difficult to take any of these promises seriously, as Worldcoin has not lived up to the basics offered or provided solid timelines for any of the other promises. Instead, it just looks like a bunch of rich people targeting those desperate for their own gain. If looking at a giant orb for the promise of fake money in the future seems too stupid to be true, maybe it is.

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