Worldcoin, co-founded by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, faces European regulatory scrutiny just days after its launch. The project’s use of iris scans for user verification has sparked privacy concerns, prompting investigations by France, Germany, and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office. While Worldcoin persists in its approach, critics raise alarm over the handling of sensitive biometric data.

Privacy Concerns Arise Over Worldcoin’s Biometric Verification System

Worldcoin’s ambitious drive to scan the irises of millions of people and issue them “digital passports” has caught the attention of European regulators. The French privacy watchdog CNIL expressed doubts about the legality of collecting biometric data and raised questions about the conditions for storing such sensitive information. Consequently, CNIL has launched an investigation and is collaborating with the Bavarian state authority in Germany to assess the project’s compliance with data protection regulations.

Orb, A Biometric Verification Device From Worldcoin
Orb, a biometric verification device from Worldcoin

Read more: Worldcoin Faces UK Data Regulator Probe: Privacy Concerns

Even within the cryptocurrency community, concerns have been raised about the potential risks associated with iris scans. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin warned that this technology could inadvertently expose users’ sex, ethnicity, and medical conditions, making them vulnerable to data breaches. The need for a Data Protection Impact Assessment before collecting “high risk” information, as mandated by the British Information Commissioner’s Office, further emphasizes the serious nature of these privacy concerns.

Worldcoin Faces Uphill Battle Amidst Regulatory Inquiries and Skepticism

Despite claims of significant interest, Worldcoin faces skepticism about its ability to achieve mass adoption. Reports suggest that consumer interest in the project has been lackluster. While Altman claimed there have been “crazy lines around the world” and one person is getting verified every eight seconds, the numbers reveal a slow pace of adoption. At the current rate, it would take five years to register a mere 0.00245% of the population.

A Look Inside Orb - The Biometric Imaging Device
A look inside Orb – the biometric imaging device

Adding to the challenge, Worldcoin’s continued operation in Europe amidst regulatory inquiries highlights the project’s determination. The hardware responsible for iris scans, known as “orbs,” remains available in Britain, France, and Germany. However, it remains to be seen how these investigations will impact the future of the project and its expansion plans.


Privacy watchdogs in France and Germany have initiated investigations, while the British Information Commissioner’s Office is closely monitoring the situation. Despite criticism from the crypto community and privacy advocates, Worldcoin continues undeterred, but its future remains uncertain amid data protection concerns and public skepticism, drawing attention from the cryptocurrency industry and stakeholders.