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The next iteration will look similar to an “Apple product,” CEO says

It’s been a little over 180 days since Worldcoin publicly launched – and its futuristic looking Orb device is getting an upgrade, Alex Blania, CEO and co-founder of Tools for Humanity, shared exclusively with TechCrunch.

“The new orb is coming” and the “next iterations will look quite different,” Blania said during a fireside chat at a StrictlyVC event on Wednesday. He noted that he joined the company about four years ago and the Orb’s initial design predated his career at the company.

The next Orb will roll out the first half of this year and will have alternative colors and “form factors,” in an effort to look “much more friendly,” Blania shared. Overall, it is going to look “way [more] tuned down” and similar to “an Apple product,” he added.

Tools for Humanity is the company that created Worldcoin, the crypto project co-founded by Blania, Sam Altman and Max Novendstern. To date, it has raised about $250 million from investors like a16z, Bain Capital Crypto and others.

The startup is well-known across the venture capital and crypto spaces for its eyebrow-raising Orb device, which scans peoples’ irises then assigns them a “World ID” that lets users access Worldcoin’s application and a digital passport. The verification process aims to prove individuals’ identities and stop anyone from making multiple accounts.

Blania joked that many people in the U.S. are “obsessed” with the design of the Orb – and to be fair, it makes good sense. Its flagship device is a five-pound chromatic bowling ball-sized device that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. People either “hate it or they love it,” he added.

And while some may be skeptical of it, during the StrictlyVC event in downtown San Francisco, a “couple dozen” attendees scanned their irises in exchange for a World ID, according to a Tools for Humanity employee who was manning a booth at the event. The employee added that there has also been “field testing” for the new Orb.

An image of the Worldcoin Orb at the StrictlyVC event in San Francisco

Worldcoin’s Orb at the StrictlyVC event

During its beta testing period, the project focused on adoption in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Nairobi, Kenya; Lisbon, Portugal; and Bangalore, India. As a result, it faced some backlash from critics, who argued that it targeted developing economies. Separately, Worldcoin went on a bit of a world tour last year, hitting major cities like Tokyo, Miami, New York City and San Francisco in an effort to expand its presence.

Over the past seven days, more than 190,000 new accounts were created and about 3.13 million people total have signed up for Worldcoin, according to its website.

“The thesis is very simple. We race toward billions of users as fast as we possibly can,” Blania said.

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