Worldcoin Paris office checked by French data watchdog

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

PARIS (Reuters) – WorldCoin’s Paris office was checked by France’s data watchdog this week, amid global regulatory pressure on the digital currency firm co-founded by ChatGPT-founder Sam Altman.

France’s CNIL watchdog said in July that the legality of the Worldcoin biometric data ‘seemed questionable’.

“Checks took place at the Worldcoin offices,” a CNIL spokesperson said on Thursday, confirming an earlier Politico report that the checks occurred on Wednesday.

Worldcoin officials did not immediately respond to an emailed Reuters request for comment on the CNIL’s latest checks.

The CNIL spokesperson declined further comment.

Worldcoin requires users to provide their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID and, in some countries, in exchange for free cryptocurrency. Its website says it has signed up 2.1 million people, mostly in a trial over the last two years.

In response to the CNIL’s initial July probe, the Worldcoin Foundation had said Worldcoin was designed to protect individual privacy, has built a robust privacy programme, and is committed to meeting regulatory requirements.

The Worldcoin Foundation is a Cayman Islands-based entity which describes itself as a “steward of the Worldcoin protocol”.

OpenAI, the company which has created ChatGPT, is backed by Microsoft.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Additional reporting by Martin Coulter in London; Editing by Alexander Smith)