- This VC player is placing a big bet on the metaverse…
- Your mechanic may soon use AR technology…
- Now you can automatically turn your paycheck into bitcoin…
Beware of the Orb… the all-seeing eye.
Days ago, the Orb – or more specifically, the company behind the Orb, Worldcoin – emerged from stealth. Backed by industry powerhouses like Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase, Digital Currency Group, Multicoin Capital, Reid Hoffman, and others… this is certainly a project to watch.
But before anyone rushes out to buy Worldcoin (WDC), it’s better that we understand what this project is all about.
The company is trying hard to position itself as some kind of magnanimous organization developing a common good for everyone on the planet. It describes itself as: “A new, collectively owned global currency that will be distributed fairly to as many people as possible.”
So very thoughtful – I’m kidding, of course. Here’s how it works:
Stand in front of the Orb and allow it to scan your retina, as well as your face.
The Orb will produce a unique identifier, a code, based on a person’s retina.
Use the identifier to claim “free” cryptocurrency – Worldcoin (WDC).
Before I go further, I must provide an important reminder. In the world of high tech, if the product or service is free, that means that we’re the product.
And that’s exactly what’s happening here. Worldcoin’s ambitions are global. The company wants to quickly ramp up and capture their first billion retinas and facial scans using the Orb.
To that end, the company is hiring aggressively for “Orb Operators,” whereby you can “earn your share of Worldcoin by giving it away.” You can even “lead a new movement in your country.”
How nice! And the coolest part is that you get to walk around with this in your hands…
Worldcoin’s Orb in Action
So what’s the game here? What’s the play?
It’s actually simple and novel. Worldcoin will literally “print” a bunch of cryptocurrency out of thin air. Then it will give it away for “free” in exchange for scanning our retinas and our faces. By doing so, it will collect the world’s largest database of facial recognition and retina scans.
With that data, it will be able to train what could become the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-powered facial recognition system on the planet. And yes, that would become a multibillion-dollar business.
And it just might work.
After all, consumers around the world knowingly give all their data to companies like Google and Facebook without a second thought. And now with Worldcoin, you’ll get “free” cryptocurrency!
Are you in? Would you take the “free” money? My humble advice… Please don’t do this.
Already, more than 130,000 people have given up detailed facial scans and scans of their retinas. While the company claims to only keep our biometric data long enough to train its AI, and claims that it will keep all of our information private, we’ve seen this shell game before.
The privacy implications are frightening.
The Worldcoin Orb Operator machine has already proven to be effective. The data collected so far has been done with just 30 orbs in the field.
And Worldcoin has already lined up a manufacturer that can produce 50,000 orbs a year. This project has the potential to scale quickly and grow like wildfire.
The company raised $25 million at a $1 billion valuation a few months ago on no revenue. And with the lineup of backers that it already has – and the added attraction of having a cryptocurrency – Worldcoin will be able to fund the capture of more than a billion eyeballs in no time.
This is the power of blockchain technology. It has built-in economic incentives. If enough people start using a digital currency, the network effect kicks in quickly. And the asset – even though it was printed out of thin air – can rapidly appreciate in value.
So if any of us want to speculate on Worldcoin, I recommend avoiding the Orb and just buying Worldcoin when it is available to trade on digital asset exchanges.
We can just keep our faces and our retinas to ourselves.
Investment in the metaverse is heating up…
Venture capital (VC) firm Galaxy Interactive just raised $325 million to form a new fund. Its target investments? Metaverse technologies and Web 3.0 games.
Galaxy Interactive is one of the most prominent VC firms investing in the blockchain space. When the firm makes a move, we should be paying close attention – especially when Galaxy is raising big money for a fund that will invest in such a narrow segment of the blockchain industry.
Like us, the VCs at Galaxy clearly see a tremendous opportunity in the metaverse trend. And the firm states that its investment focus is on those metaverse companies that most effectively combine content, finance, and technology.
What this implies is that Galaxy is most interested in the projects that create the best economic incentives for users. This is something we talked a lot about recently with Axie Infinity.
As we discussed several weeks ago, many players in Southeast Asia are now earning enough money in Axie Infinity to make it their primary source of income. That’s hard to believe. But it shows how the right micro-economic framework can lead people to choose the metaverse over real life.
This is a view on the future. And it demonstrates how powerful the concept of embedding economic incentives into products can be for exponential growth and adoption. If players can make real money in a virtual world, they’ll come back day after day.
So I’ll be keeping a close eye on Galaxy’s new fund and monitoring its investments. This type of VC investment typically precedes growth in a given industry, which means we are about to see a tremendous amount of innovation in the metaverse space.
And if any readers would like to learn about the top projects and companies operating in the blockchain and metaverse spaces, please go here to gain access to my latest research.
The rise of practical augmented reality…
Mercedes-Benz just announced that it is bringing augmented reality (AR) to its service departments to help repair technicians. This makes perfect sense, and it provides us with a great practical example of how this tech will be used in an enterprise application.
I’ll explain with a visual:
Augmented Reality for Repair Technicians
This is a screenshot taken by a Mercedes-Benz repair technician on the job. Here, we are seeing what the technician saw through a Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR headset.
In the top-left corner, we can see the feed from a video call with an expert at Mercedes’ central servicing department. Whenever a technician needs assistance with a given repair job, they can call in an expert like this.
But this is more than just a video call. The expert has a feed on their screen showing exactly what the repair tech is looking at through the AR headset’s outward-facing cameras. This enables the expert to basically “teleport” in and assess the problem.
And look at those blue and yellow arrows at the right of center. That’s where the expert is highlighting the parts that the repair technician should check. No guesswork about it. No misunderstanding in language.
Compare this process to the old way. The repair tech would call up the expert and attempt to explain the problem over the phone… but there would be no visuals. That makes it difficult for somebody not on sight to diagnose the issue.
Or sometimes the tech would hold up their smartphone or email a picture, which is far from perfect. Ideally, a technician needs both hands to work with in real time. And that’s what the AR platform enables.
With technology like this, it enables a team of experts to teleport anywhere in the world. Travel will no longer be necessary as it typically has been. In a post-pandemic world, with less business travel, it’s easy to see how this kind of technology is going to really take off.
We’re going to see AR adoption accelerate rapidly in 2022. In fact, it will be one of the biggest stories of the year.
How to get your salary paid in crypto…
We’ll wrap up today with another smart move from the world’s top digital asset exchange, Coinbase. The company just announced a program where employees can “get paid in crypto.”
This is a trend we are starting to see more of. The mayors of both Miami and New York City have announced plans to take their salary in bitcoin – as have quarterback Aaron Rodgers and several other prominent professional athletes. Now Coinbase is making it simple for everybody…
The new program will allow employees to have any portion of their paycheck deposited directly at Coinbase. Then employees can have those funds converted automatically into any of the cryptocurrencies that Coinbase supports.
For example, we could determine that we want to deposit 30% of our monthly salary with Coinbase through this program. And then we could direct Coinbase to automatically convert a specific portion of those funds into bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and any other cryptocurrency we happen to be interested in.
In this way, anyone can start building a position in digital assets without having to lift a finger. Each month, the cryptocurrencies of your choice will simply show up in your Coinbase account.
Compare this to doing everything manually. First, we wait for our paycheck to hit. Then we go through the process of depositing funds on Coinbase. Then we have to purchase each cryptocurrency we want individually.
And depending on our history with Coinbase, we may even need to wait for each deposit to clear before we can buy crypto. That adds even more friction and delay to the process.
Clearly, Coinbase’s new program is far more convenient. Set it up once, and we’re done. Many companies have already connected with Coinbase and enabled this option for their employees.
And for those who haven’t, Coinbase provides simple-to-follow directions for any human resources department or payroll company to enable a portion of funds to be sent to a Coinbase account. It’s simple. Very little work is required as the company transfers U.S. dollars, or any other fiat currency, in the same way payroll is managed today.
And Coinbase users receiving their salary in their account can adjust how much of their paycheck goes to Coinbase at any time. They can also change which cryptocurrencies they automatically buy on the fly as well. It’s fantastic.
Consumers are in control of their own money and empowered to make their own allocation decisions with the click of a button.
So this is a fantastic feature. It makes diversifying into digital assets as easy as it could possibly be. I’m excited to see how fast this is adopted.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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