Worldcoin Hits Record Registrations in Argentina Despite Data Privacy Investigations
Worldcoin, the identity-focused cryptocurrency project co-founded by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has announced record-breaking user registrations in Argentina despite facing an investigation by local authorities over data privacy practices.
According to a recent blog post, the project witnessed approximately 9,500 Argentinians verifying their World IDs in just one day in August, averaging one new sign-up every nine seconds.
One of the potential factors contributing to this sudden influx could be the project's offer of $50-60 worth of its native cryptocurrency as an incentive for new sign-ups. Currently valued at $3 billion, Worldcoin claims to have enrolled more than 2.2 million people globally since its soft launch in late 2021.
Worldcoin, which was officially launched on July 24, encourages users to register for a World ID using an iris scan in order to verify their online identity. Read our article to learn more.
This surge in sign-ups pushed Worldcoin's wallet, the World App, to the top of Argentina's App Store rankings. The project is primarily operational in four key Argentinian cities: Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Cordoba, and Mendoza, with the intention of expanding its reach in the region.
However, this success comes against a backdrop of increasing scrutiny from Argentine authorities. The Public Information Access Agency of Argentina is currently examining the legality and ethics of the project's data collection, storage, and usage methods.
Worldcoin's influence isn't confined to Argentina alone, as it has previously gained considerable traction in Kenya. Despite acquiring hundreds of thousands of customers, the Kenyan government suspended its operations due to data privacy concerns. By the end of 2022, over 250,000 individuals in Nairobi had registered with the project.
The project's utilization of iris scans for secure identification has previously parked privacy concerns among experts. The potential misuse of biometric data and the associated security vulnerabilities have raised alarms among privacy advocates like Edward Snowden, who has criticized the project for its data-driven approach.
In addition to Argentine regulators, authorities in France and Germany have also initiated investigations into Worldcoin's biometric data collection methods. French regulators questioned the project’s legality in the country, whereas Germany's BayLDA agency expressed fears about the company’s large-scale handling of "sensitive data" using new technologies.