Worldcoin may face UK data regulators inquiry days after launch: Report

The newly launched controversial crypto and ID project Worldcoin could face inquiries from data regulators in the United Kingdom as it raises concerns over privacy and critical biometric data safety, according to a Reuters report.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) — the U.K.’s data regulatory body — acknowledged the launch of the crypto project in the country, and said it would examine the project and make further inquiries concerning data laws, reported Reuters.

When Cointelegraph reached out to the ICO to ask about its reported probe into Worldcoin, the agency declined to comment. A spokesperson for the regulator said that they “have not announced anything publicly to confirm or deny if we are looking into Worldcoin. Until then, I would not be able to pass comments.”

The digital identification-centered crypto project launched on July 24 and was co-founded by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman. The project secured $115 million in funding in May from Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Crypto and Distributed Global. Worldcoin onboarded over 2 million users during its beta phase despite many sharing concerns over the nature of the project.

Related: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testifies in ‘historic’ Senate hearing on AI safety

While those numbers might look impressive, a study by MIT Technology Review claimed that the majority of the first one million users were onboarded using “deception, cash handouts and exploiting workers” in developing countries. Several aspects of the project have not gone down well with the crypto community, from concerns over the security of users’ biometric data to privacy concerns.

Apart from an inquiry in the U.K., Worldcoin’s native token WLD will not launch in the U.S., with none of the U.S.-based exchanges, such as Coinbase or Kraken, listing it. The project developers cited regulatory concerns in the U.S. as the key reason behind the decision. However, many crypto proponents believe it qualifies as an unregistered security.

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