April 19, 2024
Concerns Rise as Worldcoin Disables Orb Function in Key Markets
Altcoins News

Concerns Rise as Worldcoin Disables Orb Function in Key Markets

In a recent development, Worldcoin, the cryptocurrency project led by OpenAI founder Sam Altman, has decided to disable the offline orb verification function in three major markets – India, Brazil, and France. The decision, as reported by Moneycontrol on December 21, has sparked concerns and comes amid a backdrop of public controversies and regulatory scrutiny surrounding the project.

The Orb, a five-pound chromatic helmet capable of scanning individuals’ eyeballs to verify their identities, was initially conceived by Worldcoin as a tool for onboarding residents in regions where traditional identification methods are not always readily available.

Worldcoin had incentivized the offline onboarding process by offering rewards in USDC (USD Coin) for local Orb operators. However, a shift occurred in November when the company began paying rewards in its native token, WLD.

According to Moneycontrol, the orb verification process in India was “silently discontinued” around 3-4 months ago, despite reports of crowds gathering in queues for Orb operators in certain parts of the country. Tools for Humanity, the foundation overseeing Worldcoin, clarified that the Orb initiative was always intended as a “limited-time access” project in India, France, and Brazil.

The onboarding process, involving the collection of sensitive data such as iris scans, has fueled numerous public controversies. Critics have raised ethical concerns, describing the initiative as a potential “dystopian nightmare.”

Regulators have also taken notice, with German financial authorities launching a probe into Worldcoin in 2022. The United Kingdom’s data regulatory body also threatened investigations shortly after the project’s launch, and Kenya has outright banned Worldcoin’s activities within its borders.

In August, security platform CertiK reported a vulnerability in the vetting processes for Orb operators. This flaw could have allowed an attacker to bypass the verification process and operate an Orb without undergoing an interview or providing proper identification.

Worldcoin’s decision to suspend the offline orb verification in key markets adds another layer to the ongoing debate surrounding the project. As ethical concerns persist and regulators maintain a watchful eye, the cryptocurrency community continues to grapple with the delicate balance between technological innovation and safeguarding user privacy and security.

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