According to Worldcoin, their controversial Orbs have scanned the eyes of over 200,000 Chileans. This is the next step towards the inevitable gloomy future that awaits privacy enthusiasts. For others, however, it is simply free money.
Carlos Santibaez, a 29-year-old Chilean from the small southern town of Llanquihue, told Decrypt that he had his eyeballs scanned in September 2022 primarily for curiosity. The WLD token had no monetary value at the time. Since then, he has earned more than $150 and continues to acquire WLD tokens.
He brought out an important fact that many Worldcoin opponents neglect. “After a bit of reading, I found that their data collection is less invasive than what other companies keep,” he stated. “This made me think: ‘Well, at least I’m making something off this information.'”
Santibaez also mentioned the big-name investors who are financing Worldcoin as guarantors for the project’s success. “Seeing that Worldcoin was such a big project,” he stated, “I didn’t want to be left out.”
According to Coingecko, scanning your eyes gives you 25 WLD tokens, which is around $42 at the time of writing.
Thriving in Emerging Economies
In certain nations, such as Chile, that is a substantial sum of money. The minimum wage in the world’s longest country is $512 (or $460,000 Chilean pesos). Receiving 8% of their monthly salary for simply scanning their eyes may be too good to pass up.
Worldcoin has shown success in emerging economies with populations comparable to Chile. According to the company, Argentina, a nation with high inflation rates, saw one sign up every nine seconds in August.
Kenya, across the Atlantic, saw similarly long lineups, with local media reporting more than 350,000 registrations. In a country where the minimum salary rarely exceeds $100 each month, these findings are not altogether shocking.
Kenyan authorities have since prohibited Worldcoin operations, citing worries about privacy.
Others in Chile are merely signing up for the novelty.
Javier Santelices, a 25-year-old Chilean student, told Decrypt that despite being a crypto-skeptic, he passed a stand and decided to test it out. “I’ve never really understood crypto,” he stated. “They were giving money away, so why not?”
He concurs with Santibaez that other companies are already secretly collecting the majority of people’s data. “This is no different from what everyone else does on the internet,” he stated.
Despite the massive numbers claimed by the corporation, the controversial Worldcoin initiative has received little regulatory scrutiny in Chile. The country is well-known for its economic liberty and thriving tech culture. It is also in the vanguard of artificial intelligence in the region, ranking first on the Latin American Artificial Intelligence Index (or ILIA, as it is known in Spanish).
However, having 1% of the population sign up for Worldcoin has surprised some.
“I find it strange that the public perceives the crypto world to be a scam, only to later stand in long lines for a bit of ‘free money,'” Francisco Daz, a Chilean anthropologist who researches DAOs, told Decrypt.
For the better part of two years, Daz has been an active participant in talentDAO, a study collective investigating how these types of organizations work. He explained to Decrypt how DAOs have developed, abandoning the “old formula” of creating a governance token without evaluating its usefulness.
In terms of his own country, Daz believes Worldcoin’s success is “probably due to the economic incentive.” And, taking into account the country’s minimum salary, he reasoned, “It’s not a small amount of money.”
In a globalized world, rising costs cause the emergence of emerging economies to further dwelve into potential cryptocurrencies such as Worldcoin. Because no government in the world completely recognizes the worth of any cryptocurrency, we may see an increase in the lower working class seeking to cling on to anything valuable to them. Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies are volatile in many respects, what alternatives did they have?