Worldcoin Draws Argentines in Droves Despite Privacy Backlash

The controversial “iris scan for tokens” crypto project saw record numbers of Argentines onboarded last month.

A huge Worldcoin orb rising with the sun as a crowd gathers to greet it.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • The number of Worldcoin IDs doubled in 2023, reaching 2 million signees.
  • Worldcoin set a daily sign-up record in Argentina last month.
  • Critics cite deceptive data practices and exploitation of vulnerable groups in Worldcoin enrollment.

Worldcoin emerged in June 2021 with ambitious plans to deliver a crypto-powered universal basic income worldwide. Some began voicing concerns that its iris scan for “World ID” was an invasive form of biometric surveillance. Despite that, its adoption continues to grow, with the recent launch in Argentina setting another record for new sign-ups.

Worldcoin Sees Doubling of Sign-ups

Following Worldcoin’s alpha release, the project has experienced record uptake for World ID sign-ups. The team drew attention to the number of World ID sign-ups, which doubled during the first seven months of this year.

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Between January and July, World ID sign-ups went from one million to two million in less than half the time it took to reach the first million.” Said Worldcoin.

Argentine orb operators further solidified the remarkable uptake, achieving the company’s highest sign-up volume in a single day. The company revealed that 9.5k Argentines verified their World ID on July 24, which equates to one sign-up every 9 seconds.

Such was the demand that the company’s World App spent a brief stint as Argentina’s most downloaded app, beating the likes of TikTok and WhatsApp Messenger to the top spot.

Controversies Continue to Mount

Although Worldcoin’s adoption rate has been impressive, a darker, more menacing narrative lurks beneath the surface. 

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In an investigation published by MIT Technology Review in 2022, the authors interviewed 35 individuals from six countries to learn more about the sign-up process. The researchers alleged that Worldcoin used deceptive marketing practices, collected more data than acknowledged, and failed to obtain “meaningful consent.” Furthermore, in targeting low-income communities, the authors questioned the project’s ethics, highlighting moral concerns about exploiting the desperate.

More recently, Nadir Hajarabi, a former Worldcoin employee, took to YouTube to reveal his communication with multiple regulatory bodies as part of their ongoing investigations into Worldcoin’s practices. Though Hajarabi remained coy about the precise details in his short video, citing legal advice, he felt compelled to raise ethical concerns about the firm’s practices.

On the Flipside

  • World Economic Forum Global Shaper Hélder Costa urges the adoption of universal basic income (UBI) in anticipation of AI and automation’s impact on the jobs market. 
  • Worldcoin claims that its goal lies in helping to alleviate financial pressures, which represents a welcome lifeline to Argentines struggling with the nation’s high inflation rate.

Why This Matters

Worldcoin adoption continues rapidly despite ongoing controversies, indicating many remain eager to take advantage of its ambitious promises, regardless of the concerns.

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Author
Samuel Wan

Samuel Wan is a finance professional turned crypto journalist, known for his insightful reporting on market trends, regulatory changes, and technological developments within the digital asset industry. His ability to simplify complex concepts and report the facts has made him a trusted source in the crypto community. Beyond his writing, Samuel is an active mountain biker and gamer.