IFF Explains: Worldcoin

On July 24, Worldcoin, an iris-based cryptocurrency backed by Sam Altman, OpenAI’s Chief Executive, launched globally. Revolutionary as a digital currency operating on proof of personhood may sound, we have our reservations – read our explainer now:

How does Worldcoin work?
→ Download the application
→ Have one’s iris scanned by an orb
→ After the scan, an individual is added to the database of verified humans
→ Creation of a unique cryptographic hash that is tied to a person

While the iris scan isn’t saved unless you opt for it, the hash can be used in the future to prove the person’s identity anonymously through the application. Given the lack of clarity on how this technology will be used fuels concerns around privacy, security, & transparency.

Our concerns with Worldcoin include:

  1. Collection of excessive data resulting in the violation of the data processing best practice of data minimisation.
  2. The risk of breached biometric data where harm may be irreversible given it can not be changed like passwords.
  3. Worldcoin orb operators are agents, not employees, making it a principal-agent relationship thereby increasing the risk of low accountability if data is mismanaged.
  4. The introduction of such extensive data collection mechanisms w/out adequate data protection legislation in India.

To learn more about the nitty gritties of how Worldcoin operates, our privacy concerns regarding the project, and our recommendations going forward, head over to our blog to learn more!