(Reuters) – OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman has raised $115 million in a Series C funding round led by Blockchain Capital for a cryptocurrency project he co-founded.
The project, Worldcoin, aims to distribute a crypto token to people “just for being a unique individual”. The project uses a device to scan irises to confirm their identity, after which they are given the tokens for free.
Worldcoin has faced criticism for perceived privacy risks. In response to Altman’s tweet introducing the project in 2021, former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden tweeted, “Don’t catalogue eyeballs”.
The token will not be available to people in the United States and some other countries, according to Worldcoin’s website.
The digital asset space is looking to regain popularity after a bruising 2022 that saw several crypto ventures collapse, including the spectacular implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX.
Investors including a16z crypto, Bain Capital Crypto and Distributed Global also participated in Worldcoin’s latest fundraise.
Altman and OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, have been in the spotlight since late last year, with interest in artificial intelligence growing by leaps and bounds. He testified before a U.S. Senate panel last week and called for regulation of the technology.
(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; Additional reporting by Niket Nishant; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)