Hong Kong Fires Probe At Worldcoin’s Iris Scanning Over Privacy Concerns, Price Drops By 10%

Hong Kong authorities have launched an investigation against Worldcoin's iris scanning method, due to privacy risks.
Hong Kong Fires Probe At Worldcoin’s Iris Scanning Over Privacy Concerns, Price Drops By 10%

Key Insights

  • Hong Kong authorities have launched an investigation against Worldcoin's iris scanning method, due to privacy risks.
  • The Hong Kong authorities doubt the adherence of Worldcoin's methods to privacy laws.
  • Similar probes in Kenya and India led to WLD suspensions, raising concerns about Worldcoin's ability to expand.
  • Worldcoin's price dropped 4% and trading volume fell 60% following the Hong Kong investigation.
  • WLD's future remains uncertain, but its price could stage a comeback if important support holds

Worldcoin's popularity surged again in 2024, after reports that the project's iris scanning "Orbs" would be getting a redesign, and how Vitalik Buterin mentioned it as a prime example of a good way to combine AI and Blockchain technology.

According to recent news, however, the WLD project has come under fire from the Hong Kong authorities over privacy concerns with how it collects user data.

The Probe On Worldcoin

WLD was founded in 2021 by Alex Blania, a former employee of Airbnb and Dropbox.

The project simply uses round devices called Orbs to scan the irises of its users, verify their identity, and then assign them a World ID.

The Worldcoin project claims that these iris scans are encrypted and stored on the blockchain, to make sure that only one World ID can be assigned to a single person.

However, the Hong Kong authorities aren't so sure that the WLD project takes user privacy seriously.

This week on 31 January, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) in Hong Kong came out with an announcement.

According to the announcement, WLD is set to be investigated for "serious risks to personal data privacy."

Per the announcement, the PCPD says that it is now investigating six locations where WLD operates in Hong Kong, and will be needing documents and information about the project's operations.

The Concerns From The PCPD

In particular, the PCPD is concerned with how Worldcoin collects and processes sensitive data from its users, particularly their iris scans.

The PCPD believes that WLD is violating requirements for the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO), which governs how data is collected, and how privacy is handled in Hong Kong.

To put things simply, the PCPD simply wants to make sure that the data collected by WLD is used specifically for the world IDs they claim to be issuing, and nothing else.

So far, WLD has not commented on the issue but has previously stated that WLD "does not store any personally identifiable information" and that the iris scans are "transformed into a unique code that cannot be reverse-engineered.

Worldcoin also claims that its iris scans use "state-of-the-art encryption" and "the highest standards of data security" to protect the data on its blockchain.

Why This Might Cripple Worldcoin

Hong Kong is not the only country that has launched a probe against WLD.

We have also seen similar circumstances around major Worldcoi hubs around the world like Kenya and India, where Worldcoin's operations have either been suspended or paused indefinitely due to privacy concerns or legal uncertainties.

If we see something similar to what has happened in Kenya and India in Hong Kong, the PCPD could heavily sanction WLD, and may even order it to leave the country, correct the data it has collected, or even delete it completely.

Worldcoin could also be hit with a heavy fine, or be handed over to the courts for for criminal prosecution if it finds any hints that Worldcoin breached the PDPO regulations.

Furthermore, the trust and reputation of WLD could also go down the drain, if any evidence surfaces that the data collected is being misused or even sold.

Overall, we have seen a hint of the things that can go wrong, when it comes to Worldcoin's 24-hour price action.

Worldcoin Dumps Heavily

In events that may be related to the WLD sanction in Hong Kong, Worldcoin has declined by nearly 4% over the last day, according to CoinMarketCap.

Worldcoin's trading volume has also declined by around 60% in the last 24 hours, to around $87 million.

Worldcoin's price
Worldcoin's price

The price of WLD has normalized from an intraday low of around $2.23 to $2.52 where it now sits.

Worldcoin's price action
Worldcoin's price action

WLD currently trades on top of an ascending trendline as shown by the daily chart above.

However, the constant intra-day declines put the cryptocurrency at risk of breaking under this trendline and crashing in price.

On the flip side, things aren't over yet.

The cryptocurrency's price hasn't broken below this trendline yet, meaning that the price of Worldcoin could still stage a comeback, rallying from the current $2.82 to as high as $5 at the least.

Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, but it will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.

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