- Worldcoin, the biometric service, desires governments and businesses to adopt its ID management system.
- Concerns about privacy data collection have led to several instances of scrutiny for the project.
Biometric Crypto-ID System
Launched only last week, Worldcoin is a decentralized biometric ID management system. Using specially created iris scanners called ‘orbs,’ the network allows anyone to scan their eyes to prove who they are.
The project was specifically built to counter the increasing presence of bots and AI-generated IDs that can deceive platforms, websites, and more.
With its orbs already deployed in several countries, the project allows anyone to sign up by scanning their iris, proving they are humans. The scanned data can then be used for several applications, such as logging in to websites and platforms.
Tied into this is its WLD token, allowing anyone to use it for payment and even creating a localized financial system.
“I don’t think we are going to be the ones generating universal basic income. If we can do the infrastructure that allows for governments or other entities to do so we would be very happy.”– GM Europe at Tools (Worldcoin), Ricardo Macieira
Now, Worldcoin is offering services to the corporate world and governments, where security and ID management is crucial for security and data access.
Worldcoin claims to offer one of the most robust ID management systems. Banking on the encryption power of blockchain, the project says it intends to become the largest human identity network.
Governments Raise Privacy Concerns
Worldcoin has been the center of attention for regulators and privacy advocates since its inception. Many are concerned about a single entity having control over such a large amount of private data. Researchers from MIT raised initial concerns in April 2022 through a study.
African nation Kenya has already banned Worldcoin in the country. Its Ministry of Interior said it would only allow Worldcoin to operate in Kenya after relevant agencies certify it poses no threat to Kenyan nationals’ private data.
It alleged that Worldcoin engaged in deceptive marketing, attracting initial sign-ups and collecting more personal data than disclosed.
Worldcoin’s website states that users can delete or encrypt their data at the time of sign-up. This hasn’t stopped regulators from scrutinizing the project, though.
German authorities were investigating Worldcoin as far back as November 2022. French data protection watchdog CNIL is also raising concerns about privacy and protection. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (OCO) has also raised alarms and has said it will look into the platform and its operations.
Big Names Back Worldcoin
Based in Berlin, Worldcoin is operated by Tools of Humanity, a project co-founded by OpenAI (ChatGPT) CEO Sam Altman. The project is also backed by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, Distributed Global, and Bain Capital Crypto, securing $115 million in May this year.
Since its launch on July 24, Worldcoin has had over 2 million users scanning their iris to sign up in its beta phase.