A cryptocurrency project has been called “dystopian” yet has attracted curious crowds on the opening day of its full launch.

AI enthusiast Sam Altman is leading the experiment and asking people to volunteer scan images of their irises in return for crypto coins. The entrepreneur has had success launching predictive AI platform Chat GPT and said the trial will collect eyeball scans giving users a digital identity to prove whether they are a robot or human.

The iris scanning crypto coin initiative was launched on Monday after years of development. An orb is at the centre of the Worldcoin project to collect iris scans.

Once a user has verified their identity, they can use the Worldcoin cryptocurrency access services and make payments.

Altman commented that the project was “especially important in the AI era” as platforms face an increasing problem of distinguishing humans from bots that overcome authentication barriers.