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Worldcoin has a good story to tell but not the one world regulators are interested in

Worldcoin has a good story to tell but not the one world regulators are interested in

Without judging the significance or veracity of the successes that digital ID organization Worldcoin’s executives have claimed this summer, the volume seems to be keeping pace with ominent news.

Worldcoin says that 2.3 million have enrolled in its iris biometrics-secured World ID globally since the project’s late-July launch. CEO Alex Blania has been out front in the marketing blitz, telling reporters that there are 1.7 million monthly active users of the company’s wallet, called the World app.

Blania trumpeted this week that, for the first time, a half-million World app transactions were mediated by the software on one unspecified day.

While not an accomplishment, Worldcoin says it is placing 1,500 iris scanners, called orbs, around the world, having started with maybe 225 of the biometric mirror balls at launch. It claims to have created 2,000 so far.

People enrolling with an orb are paid 25 Worldcoin tokens, a sum valued at US$27.75 on deadline. Tokens peaked at $2.43 one month ago.

A strain of cynicism about Worldcoin, its tokens, orbs, utopian goals and business practices exists, but that’s among the rabble on social media. The real threat is found in the increasing numbers of national regulatory agencies who wonder if everything at Worldcoin is on the up and up.

Reuters reported August 31 that CNIL, France’s digital-business watchdog, has rifled through Worldcoin’s offices in Paris to see how its cryptocurrency operations are holding up.

No word on what a visit like that looks like. It is the second similar investigation of Worldcoin by CNIL since the project’s launch. According to the news agency, CNIL had questions about the legality of Worldcoin’s biometric data operations.

Business publisher Bloomberg has summarized other inquiries of the identity firm’s biometric data-handling practices from Argentina, Kenya, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Germany. Blania chose not to operate in the United States rather than deal with what was expected to be aggressive government questioning.

Trade publication CryptoSlate, meanwhile, has published a look specifically at Blania’s regulatory headache in Argentina.

About 9,5000 residents reportedly have enrolled in World ID. Some percentage of that total are hoping to get out of inflation that is disabling Argentina’s economy.

There, the questioner is the Agency of Access to Public Information, which was created in part to protect personal data. CryptoSlate says agency officials plan a “comprehensive review of Worldcoin’s processes and procedures related to acquiring, retaining, and utilizing” citizen’s data.

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