Over the weekend, Andrew Yiu of the World Dollar Foundation reached out to Cointelegraph to discuss a project he is working on to deliver 10,000 World dollars to everyone on Earth.
“World Dollar is a libertarian digital currency project where every person in the world, not just one country, is able to receive 10,000 World dollars (WLD) once,” Yiu wrote. “This is the only way that World dollars will be issued; there are no special individuals or groups who get to have 50%, 10% or even 1% of the money supply reserved just for them.”
A press release from earlier this week suggested 10,000 WLD are worth about US$5, putting the currency’s total market cap at more than US$35 billion (at five bucks per human being).
When the giveaway was first announced back in the summer, Bitcointalk.org users were quick to indicate their suspicion about a coin that required users to turn over some kind of identity data.
Earlier this week, we had a chance to speak with Yiu about these concerns and his plans for growing the World Dollar Foundation.
Cointelegraph: How are you verifying the IDs people submit: manually? Is there not another, less intrusive way to ensure the 10,000 coins go to a unique person each time?
Andrew Yiu: The first issuer of World dollars, Coin Autonomy has an ID verification policy of either A) a scanned copy or photo of a government-issued photo ID submitted to Coin Autonomy, or B) a social network profile (Facebook/ Twitter/ Linkedin/ Google+) in combination with either an identity assured miiCard or Airbnb (verified through Jumio) profile.
It was the decision of Coin Autonomy to go ahead with this policy, but there is nothing preventing Coin Autonomy and other future World dollar issuers from developing and implementing new ID verification methods that are both secure and unintrusive for people claiming their World dollars.
This is one of the great things about the decentralized, competitive nature of the World dollar network. An interesting development could be the distributed identity system being built as we speak by Ripple Labs, but with little details known about it at this time we can’t know for sure whether World dollar issuers will look to make use of it.
Note that for anyone to become an issuer, they must sign a contract with us wherein they are liable to a fine of 10,000 World dollars per every fake or duplicate claiming of World dollars discovered. This fine is payable to us, the World Dollar Foundation, and we go on to destroy the 10,000 World dollars.
If too many fake or duplicate claims are discovered, they cannot continue to issue World dollars. More information on the rules that apply to World dollar issuers will soon be made available to the public in a document available for download from our website.
CT: Can you describe the technology behind the World Dollar unit of currency? Is it a Ripple IOU?
AY: World Dollar is a decentralized multi-platform monetary system where each person is issued once with 10,000 World dollars. As such, there isn't any one “technological protocol” or payment platform behind it; it is up to issuers to decide which platforms they wish to issue World dollars on (for example, Ripple). If an issuer wants to issue World dollars on their own technology platform where there is a cryptographic protocol similar to Bitcoin and its derivatives, they are free to do so.
Currently, our first issuer is only issuing World dollars on the Ripple platform. Technically, everything on the Ripple network is an "IOU," and "gateways" are responsible for ensuring that they have enough USD, BTC, etc., to transfer to users if they wish to withdraw their balances from the Ripple network.
However, when an issuer issues World dollars on Ripple and transfers 10,000 WLD to a user, it isn't really an IOU, as the user now has 10,000 WLD, and the issuer no longer has that 10,000 WLD.
The issuer does not owe this particular user any amount of World dollars. If this user wishes to withdraw his/her WLD from the Ripple network, they can do so with any issuer operating on Ripple, and the WLD on Ripple will be destroyed (by sending it back to the Ripple account which created the World dollars, ~WorldDollar) and reissued on another payment platform.
We can confirm that we are in advanced talks with a mobile payments platform. When this is finalized, people will also be able to download an app for free on which they can receive, transfer and spend their World dollars.
CT: Who are the members of the World Dollar Network? How can our readers independently verify the trustworthiness of network members?
AY: Currently, only Coin Autonomy is officially a member of the World Dollar network, but there will be many more to follow. Coin Autonomy is a London-based startup that is building up its team as we speak, and it has certain administrative matters it is still getting on with.
As we understand it, they will soon add in a “team” section of the website, which should help in building trust (as people can deal with real, public faces, rather than anonymous ones). They might also set up Trust Pilot on their website, which would provide reliable, independent reviews of the services they provide.
Of course, people don’t actually have to submit their photo ID to Coin Autonomy if they don’t want to, for they can use miiCard or Airbnb (verified through Jumio) instead, who have established very good reputations for providing reliable and secure identity checking services. Your readers can take a look at their websites if they wish to learn more about them.
CT: Why would someone submit their own personal data in exchange for coins that, as you have reported, are trading for a total of about 5 bucks right now?
AY: Good question. Well, first off, we need to recognize that even though they are trading at 5 bucks right now, they could be worth much more in the future. World Dollar is at its very earliest stages, and indeed Cointelegraph would be the first to actually release an article covering the concept and the actual mechanisms underlying the World Dollar monetary system.
We imagine that as awareness of World Dollar grows, and in turn the number of people who claim grows, the valuation should also grow; we expect network effects will have a significant role to play.
But then the question still remains: Why claim now rather than later? Some people take pride in being a first adopter, recognizing the value of something before the masses do.
A claim of World dollars also acts as a signal of rebellion, a vote against the present monetary system, which we believe amounts to the perpetual misappropriation of resources by banks (and governments) at the expense of the rest of society.
Many of our early claimants were made aware of us by our featured article on Zero Hedge. Indeed, the raising of serious challenges against the present, debt-based monetary system is an important role of the World Dollar Foundation. It goes without saying that if confidence in our present monetary system collapses, World Dollar could prove to be an exceptionally attractive alternative that people can turn to.
Of course, if people don’t wish to claim their World dollars right now, we are not forcing them to. They may otherwise be interested in trading World dollars, and potentially (in the future) betting on its price movements through options markets. We would also highly recommend anyone interested to sign up to important updates about World Dollar from our website.