Free crypto promises in exchange for scanning eyeballs with 'The Orb' falling through

Glowing orb steals money
(Image credit: Future)

It's another day in 2022 so here's yet another intensely bizarre and dystopian story related to cryptocurrencies.

One cryptocurrency company has been travelling the world, asking people to stare into a giant reflective orb in exchange for the promise of crypto compensation. BuzzFeed News explains that the currency is called Worldcoin and has specifically been targeting countries with poor populations. 

Worldcoin has been setting up kiosks in countries across Africa and Asia manned by staff trained to convince people to give up their biometric data. The story goes that the stall holders would offer a t-shirt and a voucher $20 worth of Wolrdcoin once it launches, in exchange for an iris scan in the mysterious orb. The claim is the scan is to avoid multiple single person signups, but it's a pretty handy way to amass a tonne of biometric data at potentially no cost.

There's the additional promise of the proposed appreciation of the coin once available. This reeks of untrustworthy dealings, but for people hard on their luck, that doesn't sound like an awful deal, no matter how evil that orb most certainly is.

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However, as expected by many it seems like more of a scam, but this time it isn't North Korea. Many people who signed up for the voucher report receiving nothing despite months having passed. Kiosk operators are reporting dodgy workings and issues with the orb. Generally speaking, it all seems exactly as dodgy as one might expect for all involved in the scheme. 

Despite the mounting evidence of bad faith, Worldcoin bosses are still pushing ahead. The narrative is that this crypto will be used to give everyone a universal basic income. That along with needing to collect a broader range of biometric data are reasons given for targeting the poorer countries. It also promises to anonymise the collected biometric data, but hasn't said when.

It's hard to take any of these promises seriously given Worldcoin hasn't delivered on the basics offered or given solid timelines for any of the other promises. Instead it just looks like a bunch of rich people targeting the desperate for their own gains. If looking into a giant orb for the promise of future fake money sounds too stupid to be true, maybe it just is.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.

No, she’s not kidding.