The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it has initiated an investigation into the privacy and security risks of Worldcoin (WLD), a cryptocurrency project founded by Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of OpenAI.
Launched on July 24th, Worldcoin aims to provide users with a digital identity through iris scanning and rewards them with free WLD tokens. The ICO will examine the project to ensure compliance with data protection laws and evaluate the privacy concerns arising from the collection and processing of users’ biometric data.
The Worldcoin project consists of three components: the World ID system, the iris scanning device Orb, and the World App wallet. Currently, two million users have signed up for the project, and the project is expanding iris scanning operations in 20 countries.
Despite the initial popularity of the project, some experts have raised concerns about privacy and security. While Sam Altman, co-founder of Worldcoin, stated that privacy concerns related to the iris scanning artificial intelligence would decrease when they open-sourced the code, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, raised concerns about Orb’s design, privacy, security, and certain business decisions of the company.
In response to these concerns, an ICO spokesperson emphasized that organizations must have a clear and legal basis for processing personal data. They added that if user consent is relied upon, that consent should be freely given and able to be withdrawn without detriment.
ICO’s investigation into the Worldcoin project comes at a time when the collection of biometric data and privacy concerns are increasingly being examined globally.
Following its listing on major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, OKX, and Bybit, Worldcoin’s service token WLD, which had risen by over 75%, has experienced a decline in response to warnings and ICO’s investigation. Concerns have also been raised due to regulatory issues and lack of clarity regarding the project’s decision not to operate in the United States.
Currently, the price of the WLD token has dropped by 43% from its peak of $3.58 to $2.02. The highest level reached by the altcoin in the past 24 hours was recorded at $2.92, while the lowest level was recorded at $1.92.