Worldcoin, the company co-founded by Sam Altman, has reported a single-day record of approximately 9,500 new user registrations, setting a record for a single 24-hour sign-up. Argentinians verified their World ID despite the ongoing legal probe into the project over data privacy.
According to the Worldcoin announcement at the end of August, facilitators onboarded participants at an average rate of less than nine seconds per person to achieve this. According to the project’s website, Worldcoin has 38 locations in Argentina, the majority of them in the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires.
Overview of Worldcoin
Worldcoin is a blockchain-based project that enables users to prove they are human by scanning their irises. When individuals verify that they are human, they are given a World ID that can be integrated into future applications to prove that they are not a bot or artificial intelligence (AI) program. OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman founded the project and argued that human IDs would be needed as AI programs become more sophisticated and less distinguishable from humans. Despite the controversy, the post claimed that several Argentinians are signing up for World ID verification.
The post said, “There was a significant increase in demand for World ID verifications in countries worldwide (after launch). This continued into August, which saw 9.5K Argentinians verify their World ID in a single day.” The post added, “The surge in sign-ups caused the Worldcoin app to temporarily become the number one app in Argentina on the App Store.”
Worldcoin’s fundamental concept centers around facilitating online identity verification through iris scans. Currently, the project collects data from individuals in four major Argentine cities, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Cordoba, and Mendoza, extending its reach and accessibility. Worldcoin’s significant sign-ups could be the project’s incentive; its native coin offers $50-60 worth of crypto. According to reports, since its soft launch in 2021, Worldcoin has been valued at $3 billion, and over 2.2 million people worldwide signed up.
Experts from Bitcoin Decode Official mentioned that Worldcoin launched the native token of the privacy-preserving digital identity soared after listing on significant crypto exchanges and immediately came under criticism from data privacy advocates. Analyst Marcel Pechman discussed the differences between Worldcoin and most altcoins and advised investors to understand the project before considering an investment. Pechman mentioned that the Worldcoin token had two absolute outliers.
The first one was that the extremely high volume overtook the market cap, as the token reportedly traded 1.6 times its entire capitalization in the first 24 hours. Secondly, 40% of some tokens will be unlocked between July 2024 and July 2025. Pechman emphasized that it is a considerable risk for traders trying to capture 20% gains in the short term.
Critics have claimed that Worldcoin is too centralized and could easily leak users’ biometric data. The lack of transparency regarding the methods the organization uses to collect people’s data has raised numerous worldwide concerns amongst regulators and privacy advocates, as the company could create a data privacy threat.
Moreover, some reports revealed the organization’s unethical and deceptive methods to collect people’s data in the Global South. The recent record sign-ups of Worldcoin take place against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation initiated by Argentine authorities into Worldcoin’s data privacy practice. The Argentine Agency for Access to Public Information (AAIP) opened an investigation into Worldcoin’s crypto protocol to identify and ascertain the legality of its data collection practices. The Agency noted:
“The investigation will carefully analyze the process and practices about the collection, storage, and use of personal data (…) Appropriate steps will be taken to address any identified issues and ensure that the company complies with security and privacy standards.”
The Agency highlighted that the case gained public notoriety in recent weeks due to the procedure of scanning the faces and irises of several individuals in exchange for financial compensation in Argentina.
The crypto project has garnered criticism dating back as far as 2021. Privacy Advocate Edward Snowden said, “The company is simply [cataloging] eyeballs in a large biometric data collection project.”
Despite the controversy, Worldcoin claimed that it provides proof of personhood during an AI emergency and permits all to benefit in the age of AI. Despite the controversy, the post also mentioned that many Argentinians are signing up for World IDs. According to recent reports, interested users have their eyeballs scanned for $15, which allows the company to verify an individual is not an AI bot. Worldcoin gives its native coin, WLD, to new users after signing up. The current sign-up bonus is 25 WLD, worth roughly 10,239.48 Argentina pesos (ARS) or $29.25 in the open market.
Worldcoin claims it fully complies with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and transfer. The project has alarmed some Argentine regulators, and responding to criticism, the government of Argentina opened an investigation into Worldcoin’s privacy practices. Earlier this month, Worldcoin was suspended in Kenya, and the Worldcoin team has responded by saying it has complied with all privacy laws in the country.
Byline: Hannah Parker