French Privacy Regulator Investigating Worldcoin for ‘Questionable’ Practices

French Privacy Regulator Investigating Worldcoin for 'Questionable' Practices

Worldcoin (WLD) Faces Investigation by French Data Protection Regulator

The crypto project Worldcoin, developed by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, has come under investigation by the French data protection regulator, the CNIL, for its “questionable” practices. The regulator expressed concerns regarding the legality of Worldcoin’s data collection and the conditions for preserving biometric data. Specifically, Worldcoin scans retinas to prevent individuals from claiming crypto rewards more than once. The CNIL spokesperson stated that they have initiated investigations, collaborating with Bavarian privacy regulators who hold primary responsibility under EU law.

Worldcoin, which launched on Monday, is championed by its proponents for its potential to expand the reach of cryptocurrency beyond Bitcoin. However, it has aroused the attention of privacy watchdogs, including the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which emphasizes the importance of freely given consent and the ability to withdraw personal data without repercussions. The Bavarian data protection regulator has not provided additional information regarding the nature of its investigation.

While Worldcoin has yet to respond to requests for comment, the project previously assured CoinDesk that it adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU law governing biometric data collection and transfer. They continue to assess local regulations to maintain compliance.

At the time of writing, WLD tokens were trading 2% lower, valued at $2.17.

The Controversy Surrounding Worldcoin’s Data Collection Practices

Worldcoin’s utilization of biometric data, particularly retinal scans, is at the center of the ongoing investigation by the French data protection regulator. The project implemented this technology to prevent individuals from claiming crypto rewards more than once, aiming to ensure fairness and integrity within its system.

However, the CNIL raises concerns about the legality of this data collection. The collection and storage of biometric data necessitates stringent privacy and security measurements to safeguard individuals’ personal information. As the CNIL statement suggests, the conditions for preserving such data may not meet the necessary legal standards and might infringe upon individuals’ rights to privacy.

It is essential to recognize the importance of striking a balance between technological innovation and privacy rights. Biometric data, such as retinal scans, is highly personal, as it is inherently tied to an individual’s unique characteristics. Therefore, the protocols surrounding its collection, storage, and usage must be carefully developed and aligned with legal frameworks like the GDPR to ensure the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights.

The Role of Regulatory Authorities in Safeguarding Data Privacy

The investigation initiated by the CNIL, in collaboration with Bavarian privacy regulators, emphasizes the significance of regulatory bodies in upholding data privacy standards. The Bavarian data protection regulator’s involvement highlights the importance of regional and national authorities working collectively to address privacy concerns arising from emerging technologies.

In the digital age, where technology advances at a rapid pace, it is the responsibility of regulatory authorities to monitor and assess the practices of projects like Worldcoin. By doing so, they can evaluate whether these projects adhere to established regulations and ensure that individuals’ privacy rights are adequately protected.

The Implications for Worldcoin and the Cryptocurrency Industry

Worldcoin’s current situation highlights the potential challenges faced by cryptocurrency projects in terms of privacy compliance. While the project claims to comply with the GDPR and assess local regulations, the investigation by the CNIL suggests that there may be additional considerations and complexities involved in meeting legal requirements across different jurisdictions.

This incident also emphasizes the importance of open dialogue and cooperation between cryptocurrency projects and regulatory authorities. By working together, these parties can foster an environment that encourages innovation while safeguarding individual privacy rights and ensuring compliance with existing regulations.

Ultimately, the outcome of this investigation will have broader implications for similar projects within the cryptocurrency industry. It will shape the discussions surrounding data privacy and influence the development of best practices and guidelines that projects should adhere to when dealing with personal data.


Worldcoin, the crypto project founded by Sam Altman of OpenAI, is under investigation by the French data protection regulator, the CNIL. The CNIL has raised concerns about Worldcoin’s data collection practices, specifically the scanning of retinas to prevent individuals from claiming crypto rewards more than once. The investigation aims to assess the legality and preservation conditions of biometric data collected by Worldcoin.

While Worldcoin asserts compliance with the GDPR and ongoing assessment of local regulations, this investigation highlights the challenges faced by cryptocurrency projects when dealing with data privacy regulations. The outcome of this investigation will not only affect Worldcoin but also shape discussions surrounding data privacy in the cryptocurrency industry at large. Regulatory authorities play a crucial role in monitoring and ensuring the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights in the face of evolving technologies.