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Privacy assurance before biometrics capture: Worldcoin tries a new approach in Malaysia

Privacy assurance before biometrics capture: Worldcoin tries a new approach in Malaysia
 

Executives with Worldcoin and its parent organization recently met with Malaysian government officials, including Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, in an apparent change of tack for the biometric crypto and proof-of-humanity project’s approach to international expansion.

The Block reports the meetings included Tools for Humanity Co-founders Sam Altman and Alex Blania, and coincide with another set of announcements and releases from Worldcoin about WLD token supply and data privacy measures.

Some Worldcoin employees felt unrepared to deal with the heightened regulatory scrutiny and attention the company has been receiving, The Block says, citing an unnamed source.

The threat of regulatory fines, most recently from Argentina, has in the past appeared to prompt policy changes and introductions by Worldcoin. Examples include “Personal Custody,” added late last year, and iris code deletion and in-person age verification just weeks ago.

Worldcoin told local tech publication iProUP that the allegations against it in Argentina have not been confirmed, and that it is committed to protecting user privacy.

Taking control of the message (and coin supply)

The majority of the Worldcoin in circulation is held by registered users; 137 million WLD, the company says, out of 193 million, according to a blog announcement. Worldcoin subsidiary World Assets Ltd. is planning to sell WLD tokens from its treasury to institutional trading firms operating somewhere other than the U.S. in the months ahead. The sale would consist of between 500,000 and 1.5 million WLD per week. The purpose of the sale, the company says, is “(t)o meet the increasing demand for orb-verified World IDs around the world and support the growth of the Worldcoin network.”

An FAQ was published Wednesday by Worldcoin to address concerns around World ID issuance, privacy protections, and how biometrics are used. “The underlying biometric data is not shared with any third-party when using World ID,” the organization states.

A series of video explainers have also been released to clarify Worldcoin’s message.

“AGI (artificial general intelligence) is going to happen, and it will change how the economy operates,” Blania says in the opening moments of the first video explainer, on “Humanness in the age of AI.”  Certain areas of the internet will have to be restricted to only humans, hence the need for World ID, he explains. The alternative, according to Blania, is “government KYC at a pretty large scale for many things that we use.”

The other videos cover privacy protections, verifying humanness, zero-knowledge proofs and security audits.

The message Worldcoin wants to get across is being heard, at least by some. An article in Fortune’s Crypto newsletter recounts a comparison between World ID and Aadhaar as an enabler of digital commerce by Bain Capital Ventures Partner Matt Harris.

Next developer grant wave builds

Applications are also now open for Wave1 of the Worldcoin Foundation Community Grants Program. The first set of grantees, naturally called “Wave0,” was announced in February. For the new wave, five categories have been refined from the five broad areas offered for consideration in the first one. The categories are: improved developer experience and tooling, digital identity, ecosystem growth, governance, and one that is yet to be determined.

The initial set of grantees has made progress in the two months since they were named, Worldcoin says.

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