The Worldcoin Foundation has announced a $5 million grant program for developers interested in “building resilient technology and more equitable systems” on Worldcoin, the non-profit’s ambitious digital ID platform.
The Worldcoin Foundation is an organization focused on distributing a new digital currency named Worldcoin. Their mission is to promote global financial inclusion by making this cryptocurrency available to as many people as possible, free of charge. To achieve this, the foundation is distributing Worldcoin to individuals who opt to participate in their unique verification process, which involves scanning the iris of an individual’s eye. This process ensures that each person only receives their share once, aiming to prevent fraud and duplicate claims.
The distribution of Worldcoin is carried out using specially designed hardware orbs, which are placed in various locations around the world. These orbs scan the iris to create a unique hash, a form of digital identification, which is used to verify an individual’s identity without storing personal biometric data. This approach is intended to protect privacy while ensuring fair distribution.
The Worldcoin Foundation’s initiative has garnered attention for its innovative use of biometric technology in the cryptocurrency space, aiming to create a more inclusive financial system. However, it has also raised concerns regarding privacy and the ethical implications of biometric data collection, especially in regions with less stringent data protection laws.
The organization’s new “Wave0” grant program is intended to support research and development projects tackling issues like privacy risks with respect to biometrics, and income inequality.
Worldcoin’s Wave0 program offers three types of grants to support various initiatives related to advancing the Worldcoin mission. The grant tracks include Community Grants (up to 5K WLD) for community organizers and smaller projects like event sponsorships and hackathons; Project Grants (up to 25K WLD) for larger-scale endeavors, as detailed on the RFP page; and Open Track Grants, which have no set budget limit and are aimed at the most ambitious projects, some aligning with the RFP page descriptions. The Foundation may opt to award grants in USDC or a similar stablecoin, considering commercial and regulatory factors.
Each grant category has distinct evaluation guidelines and timelines, with Community Grants being processed fastest, Project Grants requiring more time for thorough evaluation, and Open Track Grants having a flexible application process to align project scopes and goals.
“A robust grants program is essential for the overall health and growth of the Worldcoin community,” Worldcoin said in a blog post. “It empowers and supports builders from around the world by funding the development and implementation of the community’s most interesting, creative and beneficial projects.”
The Worldcoin project has come under scrutiny from multiple governments and regulators, including those in Kenya, Britain, Germany, and France. In Kenya, the government suspended Worldcoin’s operations over concerns about its legality and data protection practices, particularly regarding the biometric data collection of over 350,000 Kenyans. The Kenyan Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and the Communications Authority are investigating Worldcoin for potential violations of data protection laws. Similarly, data protection offices in Britain, Germany, and France are examining the project’s compliance with their respective data protection regulations.
December 8, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team