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Worldcoin: OpenAI’s CEO Initiates Iris Scanning And Crypto Integration – What To Know

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(CTN NEWS) – Following its global debut, Worldcoin has captured the focus of privacy authorities worldwide, triggering significant concerns that have even led the Kenyan government to enact an indefinite suspension of its operations.

The global identity venture, supported by prominent figures in Silicon Valley, finds itself entangled in inquiries probing the robustness of the safeguards surrounding the biometric information it gathers.

Here’s a breakdown of key details about Worldcoin and the apprehensions it is engendering:


Worldcoin emerges as the brainchild of Sam Altman, renowned as the CEO of OpenAI, the pioneering entity acclaimed for its artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT.

Worldcoin, in collaboration with its endorsing entity Tools for Humanity, endeavors to furnish individuals with an impregnable form of identification, impervious to theft or replication.

Employing a device called “orbs,” Worldcoin generates a distinctive “World ID” by scanning an individual’s irises, capturing their irises’ visual profile.

A prospective application for this identification lies within online services, where individuals frequently grapple with the burden of memorizing multiple passwords and usernames for diverse websites they enlist on.

The vulnerability of these platforms has been demonstrated by various security breaches resulting in the compromise of usernames and passwords. Instead of relying on outdated methodologies like passwords, individuals could seamlessly register using their World ID.

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While Worldcoin primarily functions as an identification initiative, it leverages cryptocurrency to incentivize user participation.

The Worldcoin token is presently valued at approximately $1.90; however, its valuation is largely grounded in speculative factors rather than its current practicality as a medium of exchange.

Officially introduced in July, Worldcoin’s launch entailed a promotional strategy wherein early adopters received a quantity of cryptocurrency equivalent to around $50 to $60, contingent on their jurisdiction.

Notably, the majority of the countries where Worldcoin debuted do not extensively employ or embrace cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, the provision of $50 holds substantial significance in developing nations where sign-ups are being sought, including countries like Kenya, where the average monthly earnings amount to roughly $170.


A significant surge of interest surrounds Worldcoin, with a recent scene in Nairobi illustrating this phenomenon.

Thousands of Kenyan residents formed queues at a registration hub where Worldcoin employed iris scanning technology, rewarding participants with 25 coins, equivalent to around $50.

Among the predominantly youthful assembly, a designated line catered to mothers who patiently awaited their turn with infants fastened to their backs.

Numerous individuals in the queue shared with local media that they had undertaken considerable journeys based on word-of-mouth about the dispensation of “free money.”

Although they admitted their lack of comprehension about the purpose behind iris scanning and the destination of the acquired information, their primary motivation was the financial incentive.

Among those queuing were university graduates, their presence underscoring the prevailing issue of high unemployment in Kenya. A sentiment of discontentment regarding the escalating cost of living was palpable among many.

In response to these events, the Kenyan government has enacted a suspension on new registrations for Worldcoin. This decision stems from an ongoing inquiry into the adequacy of safeguarding individuals’ information.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki disclosed last week that investigations encompassing the security and handling of harvested data, along with the intentions of the data collectors, have commenced.

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Worldcoin’s utilization of orbs to amass biometric data via iris photographs has ignited privacy apprehensions.

While Worldcoin asserts that this data is employed to forge a distinct and impervious form of identification, privacy experts harbor reservations regarding potential alternative applications, such as personalized marketing endeavors.

This unease has prompted various nations, including France, Germany, and Kenya, to launch investigations into Worldcoin’s operations.

The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision has initiated an extensive probe into Worldcoin and Tools for Humanity, scrutinizing their data security protocols.

This scrutiny revolves around whether the rights of individuals who submitted personal data were duly respected.

Michael Will, the office’s director, emphasized that individuals should have been adequately informed about data usage and afforded the right to object, erase their data, or revoke consent.

Safeguarding the data against unauthorized access is also vital to thwart identity theft, as per Will’s statement.

France’s data privacy regulator has voiced reservations about the legality of Worldcoin’s data collection methods and information storage. This has prompted an investigation, with jurisdiction granted to the German privacy authority under Europe’s stringent data privacy regulations.

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office has initiated inquiries regarding Worldcoin as well.

Privacy experts express concerns that even Worldcoin might eventually fall prey to criminal infiltrations akin to data breaches suffered by other major corporations.

Biometric data, they assert, is already being traded in markets like China, raising the specter of such practices spreading to other regions.

Pete Howson, a professor of international development at Northumbria University, underscored the stakes involved, particularly in economically disadvantaged countries where Worldcoin operates:

“When biometric data gets leaked, especially in the poor countries where Worldcoin’s been operating, people’s lives are on the line.”

Worldcoin addressed these concerns in a recent blog post, acknowledging the privacy issues but emphasizing the optional nature of data sharing.

The company emphasized that no personal data is automatically disclosed and users have the discretion to decide what, if any, data to share with third parties while using World ID.

Previously, Worldcoin had asserted that it adheres to industry best practices to secure user data, pointing to a security audit conducted by two firms in late July.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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