The recent announcement of Sam Altman‘s departure from OpenAI, the company behind the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT, triggered a sharp decline in the value of WorldCoin’s WLD token during the first hours.
WLD was trading at 1.86 dollars, down by 13.5% over the past day, and then fluctuated between 1.89 and 2.24 dollars, according to data from CoinGecko. The drop marks a 42% decrease from WLD’s all-time high of 3.30 dollars, which was reached when Worldcoin emerged from beta in July.
However, WLD, an Ethereum blockchain-based token, is not related anyhow with Worldcoin, which is a biometric cryptocurrency project developed by Tools for Humanity, a startup with headquarters in San Francisco and Berlin.
Crypto investors were clearly confused due to the same spelling of identity.
After OpenAi’s announcement, WLD recorded a trading volume of 141 million dollars, with approximately 40% of it coming from the WLD and Tether (USDT) trading pair on Binance.
Altman, who co-founded Worldcoin along with Max Novendstern and Alex Blania in 2019, was removed from his position as CEO of OpenAI due to his alleged lack of candid communication that affected the responsibilities of the board.
More to read:
OpenAI board fires Sam Altman over “loss of confidence”
This dismissal was ill-received by many within and outside the OpenAI community. Greg Brockman, the company’s president, was the first to resign in reaction to the board’s decision.
Since then, three senior staff members - senior staff researcher Szymon Sidor, director of research Jakub Pachoki, and head of preparedness Aleksander Madry - followed the same route, with more departures in sight.
However, over the weekend a number of news outlets speculated that the OpenAI board reconsidered its decision and was negotiating a truce with Altman, who could be reinstated as the company CEO.
This development has been facilitated by not just a heavy dissent among OpenAI staffers but also by strong disapproval by the company’s own investors.
Microsoft, in particular, strongly opposed the board’s shocking decision to remove Altman and pressed for a quick reinstatement, Bloomberg said.
Thrive Capital, the AI company’s second-largest shareholder after Microsoft, has been vocal in its disagreement, as it is yet to issue the funds needed for a tender offer for employee shares at OpenAI. The OpenAI board and Altman already sealed an agreement in principle which would result in his return as well as the resignation of all current board members – but this has not happened so far, The Verge stated.
other reports indicate that Altman was already working on a new company with plans to launch soon. Meanwhile, Cardano founder Charles Hopkinson has invited the ex-OpenAI boss to work with him on a decentralized large language model (LLM).
What is Worldcoin?
Interestingly, the broader AI coins and token category does not seem to have been significantly impacted by Altman’s exit. In the 24 hours after OpenAI’s announcement, the AI coin market cap has grown by 30% to reach $5.4 billion dollars, according to CoinGecko.
The project aims to authenticate human identity online through a mechanism called World ID, which helps combat bots and fake identities. Users join the network by having their iris scanned with an orb-shaped scanner and receive Worldcoin tokens in return, which was inspired by a universal basic income mechanism.
While it is not available in the U.S., Worldcoin’s iris-scanning orbs have been deployed in several states, including New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
Since its inception, Worldcoin has faced criticism and controversy.
Last year, MIT Technology Review claimed in an article that the project acquired its first 500,000 users through “deception, exploited workers, and cash handouts.”
Additionally, governments, including the U.K., Germany, France, and notably Kenya, raised concerns about privacy, security, and financial implications, with Kenya even suspending Worldcoin of espionage.
Back in August, reports surfaced in Nigeria that Nairobi police, in collaboration with officials from various agencies, had conducted a raid on a Worldcoin warehouse in the capital city of Kenya. Its authorities even accused Worldcoin founders of espionage.
Similarly, the Argentine Agency for Access to Public Information (AAIP) has launched a probe into Worldcoin to determine the legality of its data collection practices within the South American nation.
Despite these challenges, Worldcoin officially launched out of beta in July 2023.
As for WorldCoin, two days after the sacking of Altman, it was up by 25.11%, trading at a market price of 2.34 dollars.
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