16:47 - The idea for Worldcoin
21:49 - Proof of personhood
26:01 - People without access to smartphones
27:56 - What you can do with Worldcoin
37:50 - When Worldcoin will launch
Alex Blania is the co-founder and CEO at Worldcoin, a startup issuing a new, decentralized global currency that will be distributed fairly to as many people as possible. He holds a BSc with a double major in Physics and Mechanical Engineering from the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and was previously a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.
In 2020 he co-founded Worldcoin together with Max Novendstern and Sam Altman, with the goal of connecting everyone to the global economy as fast as possible. Worldcoin plans to issue every single person on Earth one free share, which you keep in a non-custodial crypto wallet purely based on smart contracts. With it, you will be able to buy other tokens/stablecoin, buy more Worldcoin, send coins to your friends, and pay for goods and services.
When building Worldcoin, the first problem the founders had to face was that of identity: How do you issue everyone an equal identity that is pseudonymous and privacy-preserving? The answer was biometrics, which allow you to prove that you’re an unique human without actually revealing who you are. The Worldcoin co-founders have built their own biometrics device. Without having solved this issue, Worldcoin might have possibly been able to operate in regions like Europe and North America, but the incentive to attack the system would be very high.
Another issue that they will have to tackle in the pursuit of their vision is the lack of access to smartphones in certain parts of the world. For this, they draw inspiration from Safaricom, in Kenya, which has through their digital banking platform Mpesa allowed an entire country to gradually switch to digital payments, which can also be made via SMS – i.e., without a smartphone. Worldcoin does not, however, plan to charge Safaricom’s high fees of 8%.
They have yet to undergo their global launch and are currently running field tests in many locations around the world.
"If I could stop time and just do what I enjoy the most, I would do research."