A senior executive at the company spearheading the Worldcoin project stated that plans are in place to scale up its operations globally and bring on board more users. In addition, they have plans to let other companies utilize their iris-scanning and identity verification technology.
Worldcoin, a venture co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, was launched last week. As part of its efforts to establish an "identity and financial network," users are required to provide iris scans in return for a digital ID. In some nations, users are also granted free cryptocurrency, Reuters reports.
At various registration locations across the globe, individuals have been willingly having their faces scanned by a lustrous "orb," despite privacy advocates' worries about potential misuse of the biometric data.
Worldcoin reports that about 2.2 million people have already enrolled, the majority of which happened during a trial phase in the past two years. Meanwhile, data protection authorities in the UK, France, and Germany have expressed their intent to investigate the project.
Ricardo Macieira, the Europe-based general manager for Tools For Humanity, the San Francisco and Berlin-based organization spearheading the project, stated, "We are on this mission of building the biggest financial and identity community that we can."
In a funding round held in May, Worldcoin managed to secure $115 million from venture capital investors such as Blockchain Capital, a16z crypto, Bain Capital Crypto, and Distributed Global.
In discussions with Reuters at registration sites in the UK, India, and Japan last week, the majority of individuals stated that their reason for signing up was to claim the 25 complimentary Worldcoin tokens that the company asserts can be received by validated users.
"I don’t think we are going to be the ones generating universal basic income. If we can do the infrastructure that allows for governments or other entities to do so we would be very happy," Macieira said.
Regulatory bodies and privacy advocates have voiced their worries regarding Worldcoin's data gathering practices, questioning the extent to which users are providing informed consent and if it's appropriate for a single company to manage the data.
According to Worldcoin's website, the project ensures that the data is "completely private," asserting that the collected biometric data is either eliminated or users have the option to store it in an encrypted format.