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Vitalik Buterin reflects on Worldcoin’s proof-of-humanity

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Vitalik Buterin reflects on Worldcoin’s proof-of-humanity

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder, shared his perspective on Worldcoin’s (WLD) human identity verification system, launched earlier today.

Buterin’s blog post revolved around Worldcoin and its vision, as well as the overarching theme that informed the development of the Worldcoin token—proof-of-humanity. He underscored the importance of this concept as artificial intelligence had progressed and the boundary between humans and machines had begun to blur.

Several platforms, including Worldcoin, Proof of Humanity, BrightID, Idenam, and Circles, posited that as bots became increasingly proficient, humans might face existential threats, which a universal basic income could help alleviate. These concerns, in Buterin’s view, underscored the necessity for digital human verification systems.

Buterin suggested that such systems could address issues like spam prevention and power distribution, provided they maintained their commitment to decentralization. This decentralization would help reduce reliance on centralized authorities while preserving minimal data exposure.

However, Buterin wasn’t oblivious to the potential hurdles these systems might encounter. He outlined four key areas of concern: privacy, accessibility, centralization within the Worldcoin Foundation, and security. He also referenced a brief panic moment for Worldcoin on June 27 when speculation of an attack arose due to a significant number of Safe deployments to Optimism.

Steve Dakh, an Ethereum Attestation Service (EAS) developer, responded to Buterin’s post, suggesting that systems like Worldcoin might have complemented EAS, which provided a platform for creating, verifying, and revoking on/off-chain attestations.

Buterin concluded that at that time, there was no “perfect form of proof-of-personhood.” He anticipated three distinct strategies for addressing this problem, potentially uniting into a hybrid solution. He advocated for community involvement in auditing, implementing checks and balances, and holding these systems accountable.

Despite acknowledging the complexity of designing and implementing these systems, Buterin’s main assertion was that without proof-of-personhood, the world may increasingly be at the mercy of centralized identity solutions, money, small closed communities, or a mixture of these.

The enthusiasm for Worldcoin was evident, as sign-ups for Worldcoin World ID had exceeded 2 million just a week before launch, doubling the initial count in half the time. With these developments, the discourse on proof-of-personhood and its role in our digital future remained an important conversation.