The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced on July 25, 2023, that it plans to initiate an investigation into Worldcoin, a project overseen by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. The investigation is set to commence shortly after the announcement. ICO is the data regulator in the United Kingdom.
The ICO’s decision to scrutinize Worldcoin comes in the wake of the project’s unique approach to user participation. To be part of Worldcoin, individuals are required to submit iris scans. In return for their participation and the biometric data they provide, participants are rewarded with a digital identity and free cryptocurrency.
Following a successful test period that included two million participants and beginning on July 24, 2023, Worldcoin was introduced to the general public. During the same time period, eyeball scanning activities were extended throughout twenty countries, some of which included locations in London.
According to the market tracker CoinGecko, the value of a Worldcoin token first skyrocketed when it was launched on Monday, reaching a high point of $3.30.
The launch of Worldcoin’s native token, known as WLD, did not include the United States due to concerns over various legislations. As a result, US-based cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken did not support it, a decision directly influenced by the prevailing regulatory environment.
Addressing privacy concerns, the Worldcoin Foundation has stated that it adheres to stringent privacy rules and is consistently evaluating local laws and regulations to ensure compliance.
The foundation asserts that it operates in full accordance with all laws and regulations governing the collection and transfer of biometric data, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. This regulation outlines the procedures for data collection from individuals and the channels through which it must be disseminated.
Worldcoin, co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has gained significant exposure as ChatGPT, another project by OpenAI, continues to gain widespread popularity.
The company secured substantial investment in May from prominent firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Crypto, and Distributed Global, totaling $115 million.
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