OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has nearly reached his goal of raising $100 million to fund his latest cryptocurrency project — and it’s all thanks to embattled crypto poster child Sam Bankman-Fried and Jeffrey Epstein’s former comrade Reid Hoffman.
The funds will be used to advance Worldcoin — Altman’s plan for a secure, global cryptocurrency that offers free crypto in exchange for a scan of users’ eyeballs.
It’s “the first token to be globally and freely distributed to people just for being a unique individual,” according to the company’s website.
Among Worldcoin’s angel investors: Bankman-Fried, who’s awaiting trial for 13 criminal charges related to stealing from customers of his now-bankrupt FTX crypto exchange, and billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who — according to a new report — visited Jeffrey Epstein’s private island.
It’s unclear how much of the $100 million was from by Bankman-Fried or Hoffman.
The fundraising was led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Coinbase, Day One Ventures and Variant Fund’s Jesse Walden, according to TechCrunch.
The investment was made at a $1 billion valuation.
The tech associated with Worldcoin’s proof-of-personhood verification, however, is still in beta, with plans to launch in the next few weeks.
It’s been slow to get off the ground since it was founded in 2019 as co-founder and OpenAI boss Altman has been busy finalizing a deal with Microsoft where the tech giant invested $10 billion in OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Worldcoin’s in-beta tech is called The Orb, which captures an image of a user’s iris to onboard them, no matter who they are or where in the world they’re located.
The image is then converted into an alphanumeric hash code — a process that can’t be reversed, TechCrunch reported.
If the code has never been uploaded before, it’s then saved into Worldcoin’s database and generates a crypto wallet with a unique QR code.
The system was created with privacy efforts in mind.
Hence, the database is full of hash codes rather than photos of eyeballs, and users are identified by QR wallet codes rather than their real names, according to TechCrunch.
Once a unique wallet is generated, users will be given free money — Worldcoin tokens.
As of Monday, $1 is equivalent to 21.97 Worldcoins (WDC), according to crypto.com.
Users onboarded into Worldcoin’s database will be given 80% of the crypto’s supply, while 10% will be reserved for the company and 10% will go to investors.
Those investors include 31-year-old former billionaire Bankman-Fried, who accumulated an estimated net worth of $26 billion during Bitcoin’s boom and became a type of poster child for crypto when he founded high-profile crypto exchange FTX in 2019.
He’s now an alleged fraudster, charged by the US Department of Justice for swindling FTX investors in a scheme that ended when the crypto company filed for bankruptcy in November.
While it’s unclear how much money Bankman-Fried contributed to Worldcoin’s $100 million fund, he was known to be very generous in his philanthropy, gifting $5.2 million to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, making him one of the largest donors to a Democratic political candidate.
Alongside Bankman-Fried, 55-year-old Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman is among Worldcoin’s investors.
Earlier this month, a new report obtained by The Wall Street Journal revealed that Hoffman paid a visit to Epstein’s Caribbean residence — also known as “pedophile island” — back in 2014.
The report revealed plans to revisit the island later that year, and also to stay the night at Epstein’s Manhattan townhome to attend a “breakfast party” with the convicted sex offender the next morning.
The Worldcoin currency will function as Layer 2 Ethereum-based crypto, meaning it leverages the speed and reduced costs of transacting on the Ethereum blockchain while still having its own economy.
Co-founders Altman and Alex Blania are using Layer 2 crypto in an effort to make the global economy beneficial to “every person on the planet, regardless of country of background,” according to Worldcoin’s site.
Blania told TechCrunch that other cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have yet to do this successfully.
“Bitcoin isn’t scalable to billions of people,” Blania said, according to TechCrunch. “As we see today, it’s very expensive because transactions are slow.”
However, the goal of onboarding every person on this planet into Worldcoin’s system is a very taxing one, considering The Orb tech is necessary but there’s only 30 Orb prototypes in existence.
Yet more than 700 users can be onboarded using a single Orb per week, as seen in early testing across South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, Blania told TechCrunch.
And each unique user onboarded via The Orb will be given a share of crypto.
This story originally appeared on NYPost