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Worldcoin Foundation announces grant winners

The Worldcoin Foundation has announced the winners of its grant program designed to improve Worldcoin, a project that aims to enroll the world into its digital identity service by scanning people’s irises in exchange for cryptocurrency.

The first Worldcoin Community Grants Program, Wave0, will distribute approximately 800,000 of its Worldcoin Tokens (WLD) to the winners, which include 28 projects spanning five continents. Trade publication CoinDesk has valued the total amount of grants at US$5 million.

The winning projects pitched solutions for the World ID digital identity applications and protocols, user agents, hardware and operations.

Among the grantees are Zanzibar, a project that encrypts biometric scans led by cryptographer David Chaum, Chain Partners, which proposed a hardware development project for Worldcoin’s iris-scanning device the Orb, and IDMaster, which pitched an alternative supply chain for Orbs relying on different hardware vendors. Other winners include companies such as Nethermind, which is building a social-graph-based proof of humanity on top of World ID, and Taceo, which aims to build an MPC-based iris code comparison service.

The winners hail from countries such as Belgium, Canada, Czechia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and Uruguay While the announced winners received between 1200 and 185,000 WLD tokens, the Worldcoin Foundation has also promised to give out community grants of up to 5,000 WLD.

The Cayman Islands-based non-profit issues the WLD token through its subsidiary World Assets. Alongside Tools for Humanity, the company co-founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman to develop Worldcoin, the foundation is a part of the complex business structure building the Worldcoin project.

The main task of the project is to distribute to each person in the world some of its crypto, a concept inspired by the Universal Basic Income. To achieve this, the company plans to enroll every person in the World ID digital identity by scanning their irises and verifying their “unique personhood” while keeping them anonymous.

The initiative, however, has been facing resistance from regulators worldwide, most recently in Hong Kong where the local privacy commissioner raided the company’s office. Governments’ concerns over the collection of biometric data, however, have seemingly not dissuaded people eager to get their hands on some free cryptocurrency with enrollments continuing across the world

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