Worldcoin Foundation Launches $5 Million Community Grants Program’ Wave0′

Hassan Shittu
Last updated: | 3 min read

The iris-scanning project Worldcoin (WLD) has unveiled an initiative aimed at supporting innovators working on resilient technology and fostering more equitable systems.

On December 6, the Worldcoin Foundation unveiled a community funding initiative called “Wave0,” allocating $5 million for this program. The grants are designed to empower developers to concentrate on constructing adaptable technology and more equitable systems on the Worldcoin platform. 

The initiative, backed by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, will distribute the grants through the Worldcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting WLD’s endeavors. The foundation will allocate $5 million in funding across three grant tracks, with payments made in WLD tokens, which run on the Ethereum blockchain.

The grant plans to allocate about 2 million coins across three tracks in the Worldcoin Tech Tree. Firstly, the community grants track allocates up to 5,000 WLD for sponsorships, hackathons, and similar initiatives. 

Also, the project grants track aims to support large-scale projects with grants of up to 25,000 WLD. The Open Track Grants will focus on the most significant and ambitious projects, with no specific budget, and will receive amounts on a case-by-case basis. The grants will support research and development efforts, particularly those exploring the intersection of privacy and biometrics. 

Other potential recipients include projects that propose use cases leveraging Worldcoin and World ID, the protocol’s identification system. Notably, projects supported by the grants are expected to contribute to the advancement of the Worldcoin Tech Tree, focusing on improvements in World ID applications, protocol, user agents, hardware, and operations.

To ensure greater inclusion, the Worldcoin Foundation may issue grants in Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) or similar stablecoins, although the protocol had previously halted USDC payments to Orb operators in October 2023.

The foundation seeks to encourage independent teams to manufacture orbs, the devices used for iris scanning in the Worldcoin project, promoting decentralized production. Additionally, the grants program aims to address scalability challenges encountered during Worldcoin’s token launch on the OP Mainnet, where an overwhelming number of users strained the system, highlighting the need for scaling solutions beyond existing Layer 2 solutions.

Worldcoin Co-Founder Sam Altman Resumes Leadership Role After Recent Turmoil

The news comes just a few weeks after Altman was ousted from his role at ChatGPT-creator OpenAI before being reinstated. OpenAI’s status as a non-profit was reportedly a key sticking point in the dispute.

After some negotiations, Altman has returned, along with president Greg Brockman, while Murati is returning to her role as the company’s CTO. The deal also includes a new set of board members, which will now include representation from Microsoft.

Shortly after the announcement of their departure from OpenAI, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman were swiftly hired by Microsoft, a major stakeholder in OpenAI; they will be part of Microsoft’s team, leading an “advanced AI research team.” Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, emphasized the company’s ongoing commitment to its partnership with OpenAI despite the changes in personnel.

Worldcoin, launched in July 2023, faced scrutiny due to privacy concerns raised by the crypto community. The protocol, which involves iris scanning for user identification, has established sign-up centers in various developing nations, sparking questions about its intentions. 

Regulators in France and Germany initiated investigations into the project, examining its data collection and security systems. Despite pushback from skeptics, Worldcoin plans to extend its ID verification platform to businesses and governments.

Worldcoin has also released a paper on decentralization, outlining its strategy for a protocol that is purportedly owned and governed by the human race. The vision is for Worldcoin to become part of the global digital infrastructure, as robust, widespread, and neutral as the internet itself.

In November, the team stated that the app has now been downloaded over 4 million times. Some of the users who register appear to be sticking around and continuing to use the app after it is downloaded. The app has reached 1 million monthly, 500,000 weekly, and 100,000 daily active users. This is double the number of monthly active users it had six months ago.

Despite these successes, the project continues to be criticized by some privacy advocates. On October 2, a parliamentary committee in Kenya ordered Worldcoin to stop operating in the country due to privacy concerns. The project complied with the order but also issued a statement claiming it had complied with all privacy laws in the country.