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Worldcoin launches

Welcome back to The Benchmark, a weekly newsletter read by thousands brought to you by Alongside, where we cover the latest crypto news, interview builders in the space, and dive into new projects.

Market Check-in

This Week in Crypto

Worldcoin launches, with some turmoil.

Worldcoin is none other than Sam Altman’s ambitious cryptocurrency project that aims to distribute wealth more equitably across the globe, while providing proof of humanity. Worldcoin is led by Alex Blania, a physicist turned founder. The approach of Worldcoin involves the Orb, which scans people's irises to create a unique biometric identifier. This identifier is then used to distribute Worldcoin's cryptocurrency in a way that ensures each person can only claim their share once. The ultimate goal is to onboard billions of users and distribute the financial gains from artificial general intelligence (AGI) fairly to all.

With that said, the project has faced significant challenges. The logistical difficulties of scanning billions of irises and skepticism towards the initial pitch of "get some free crypto" have been major hurdles. Early recruitment attempts in developing countries led to accusations of exploiting the poor to build a biometric database. These early missteps led to criticism and skepticism, forcing the Worldcoin team to reassess their strategies and implement tighter operations and protocols.

Vitalik, Ethereum’s founder, wrote a few words about his thoughts on the project. Vitalik’s concerns include the potential for deep fake attacks, the difficulty of preventing ID selling, and the risk of coercion in biometric proof-of-personhood systems. He also mentions the challenge of preventing the renting of IDs for vote selling. Full article below:

Here’s what ZachXBT, the famous onchain sleuth who openly opposes the project, had to say:

Despite these setbacks, the Worldcoin team remains optimistic about the project's potential. They argue that as AI becomes increasingly capable of impersonating humans, biometric proof of identity is inevitable. They believe Worldcoin offers a path to implement this in a way that preserves privacy and is open by nature. They seem acknowledge that the project remains a moonshot, with many risks and challenges to overcome on the road to widespread adoption, especially convincing people there are no bad intentions.

The SEC suggests biting back

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawyers have indicated a likely appeal to overturn parts of last week's Ripple Labs decision in a separate enforcement case against TerraUSD and Luna creators Do Kwon and Terraform Labs. The SEC lawyers argued in a filing to Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that parts of the Ripple decision were wrongly decided and should not be followed in the case against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon. They also stated that the SEC staff is considering various avenues for further review and intends to recommend that the SEC seek such review.

The filing signals a likely appeal of the part of the Ripple decision that determined that "blind bid" or "programmatic" sales of XRP to third parties did not fit all the criteria of a securities offering. The SEC lawyers argued that the Ripple decision "appears to improperly add" a requirement that promise of return be made directly to an investor, and that each investor know that their money "was going directly to the promotor." They also argued that the decision takes an unusually narrow read on what normally defines a security investment. If an appeal is made in the Ripple case, it would go to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Two Bills on the Table for Regulators

U.S. lawmakers are set to convene for a "markup" on July 26 to discuss two bills concerning digital assets and stablecoins. The House Financial Services Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture will review and amend the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, which provides guidance for determining whether a digital asset is a security, registration requirements for exchanges and brokers, and the establishment of a joint advisory commission. Lawmakers will consider a bill introduced by Patrick McHenry, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, outlining regulatory recommendations for stablecoins and stablecoin issuers. If approved, the bills will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.

More reading from this week

1/ Judge Mulls Gag Order for SBF Leaked Diary

2/ BTC Whale Exchange Inflow Share hits 1-year high

3/ DeFi Assets Consolidate Gains as Market Cools

5 Books For Smarter Investing

Becoming a smarter investor is easy with the right mentors and lessons. Here’s a few recommendations from us on better understanding why passive investing works:

"The Psychology of Money" by Morgan Housel: An insightful book with a fresh perspective on money and investing, exploring the psychological factors that impact our financial decisions and the common behavioral pitfalls that could undermine our financial health.

"Trillions" by Robin Wigglesworth: This book delves into the transformative impact of index and ETF investing on global markets, tracing the history and examining the far-reaching implications of this trillion-dollar industry.

"Stay the Course" by John C. Bogle: Authored by Vanguard's founder, this book advocates for a long-term, disciplined investment approach, presenting a thoughtful critique of Wall Street while emphasizing the importance of low cost index investing.

"Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?" by Cary Siegel: This personal finance book offers 99 real-world money management principles, providing the financial education that many wish they had received in school but did not.

"The Bogle Effect" by Eric Balchunas: A tribute to John Bogle's contributions to the investment world, this book delves into the revolutionary concept of index fund investing that Bogle pioneered, its impact on investors, and its influence on the financial industry.

Less trading, more investing.

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