What are we supposed to ponder now?

Orb Ouchies

Eyeball-scanning orbs are, apparently, not a dime a dozen — and now, a Sam Altman-backed crypto startup is running out of them.

As Semafor reports, the Altman-backed Worldcoin crypto startup, which uses bespoke metallic orbs to scan one's iris and verify their identity, is running low on the spherical devices after giving out somewhere between 300 and 500 of them.

This news, as the site notes, has been confirmed by Alex Blania, the CEO of the Tools for Humanity startup that acts as Worldcoin's parent firm.

Launched with the help of the OpenAI CEO last year, Worldcoin made waves with its unique proposal: scanning your eyeball with its orbs, which are roughly the size of a kiddie bowling ball, to verify that you are indeed human, and give you some crypto in exchange.

There was, as with everything else in late-stage capitalism, a catch: Americans who volunteered to have their irises scanned were not able to get crypto because of federal regulations, so those who did — including this Futurism reporter — were compensated solely with bragging rights and a very unique photo.

Queue Up

Blania told Semafor that he expected the orbs, which are manufactured in a single German factory that he declined to name, to travel around the world. Instead, people began traveling to the orbs in hopes of getting free crypto, leading to huge lines as people queued up to get their eyeballs scanned.

Despite being investigated by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom over its allegedly shoddy privacy protocols and being straight-up banned in Kenya for the same reason, Worldcoin orbs have seemingly proliferated to the point that there's now a shortage. Never bet against free money!

Earlier this month, a man claiming to live in Kenya — which, again, has banned the startup and its currency, though it would be easy enough to circumvent that with a VPN — said on X-formerly-Twitter that he'd used Worldcoin to buy a goat for Easter. Once crypto Twitter got a hold of the man's claim, people began sending him more money to buy more goats, which he did with aplomb.

While it remains unclear how the alleged Kenyan was able to obtain the currency if Worldcoin was banned in his country, the yarn also demonstrated that Worldcoin is somewhat flourishing despite its regulatory issues. As Semafor points out, its lack of a business plan is also inscrutable. (It's reportedly eyeing a partnership with OpenAI, Bloomberg reports — though that does seem a bit incestuous, if you ask us.)

Now that it's running out of orbs, it's hard to say how much further this controversial Altman startup can go — but it would be nice to finally get some money for letting it scan my eyeballs last summer, dammit.

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