Worldcoin’s Token Price Tumbles After the Sam Altman-backed Project is Banned in Spain

Worldcoin's Token Price Tumbles After the Sam Altman-backed Project is Banned in Spain

Spain’s data protection agency AEPD has banned Worldcoin from collecting and processing personal data in the country for three months after people complained about privacy.

The directive came after several complaints related to insufficient information, the agency said on Wednesday. The order targets Worldcoin’s biometric data collection practices, including from minors, or not allowing users to withdraw their consent.

After the news, the price of Worldcoin’s WLD token fell by as much as 14% to a 24-hour low of $6.09 before bouncing back to about $7.27 as of writing, according to CoinGecko.

The token has more than trippled in value since Jan. 10, hitting an all-time high of $9.33 on Feb. 25. Traders bet the Sam Altman-backed crypto project will benefit from the success of OpenAI, its sister company, particularly the new AI video generator Sora.

Sam Altman's Worldcoin Banned in Spain, Token Price Tumbles 
Worldcoin (WLD) price over the last 7 days. Source: CoinGecko

Banning Worldcoin

Sam Altman launched Worldcoin in July 2023, promising people in 120 countrieas free money in exchange for a scan of their irises. The project built a device called Orb, which it uses to scan eyeballs and capture unique biometric identifiers.

According to Worldcoin, the goal is to create a digital World ID that separates humans from AI. So far, the venture has scanned the irises of over four million people worldwide.

In banning Worldcoin, Spain’s Agency for the Protection of Data, or AEPD, reportedly gave the outfit 72 hours to comply with its order, which also blocks the use of previously collected data.

“The AEPD…has received several complaints denouncing, among other aspects, insufficient information, the collection of data from minors or that withdrawal of consent is not allowed,” the agency said in a statement issued in Spanish, which Google translated.

The regulator added that the decision to impose a temporary ban on Worldcoin “is based on exceptional circumstances.” It says its action will prevent the “transfer of data to third parties,” helping to safeguard the “right to the protection of personal data.”

Also read: Kenyan Regulator Sues Worldcoin Over Data Safety

The AEPD said that the processing of biometric data has special protection under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and “entails high risks for people’s rights, taking into account their sensitive nature.”

For this reason, Worldcoin has run into trouble with the French and Germany regulators in the past over the legality of biometric data collection. In Kenya, the project was sued by the government after people complained of eye problems following the iris scan.

Sam Altman's Worldcoin Banned in Spain, Token Price Tumbles 

Spanish regulator criticized

Worldcoin’s data protection officer Jannick Preiwisch said that the project operates “lawfully” in all the locations where it is available under the Bavarian data protection authority in Germany, where its owner Tools for Humanuty has a subsidiary.

The Bavarian agency (BayLDA) is the lead supervisory authority for oversight of the GDPR in the EU. Preiwisch says Worldcoin has been in communication with the regulator for months but did not receive any answers.

“For over a year, we have been engaged with BayLDA, who are the lead supervisory authority under the GDPR for Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity,” he said in a blog post.

“It is unfortunate that the Spanish data protection authority (AEPD) is circumventing established procedures under GDPR with their actions today, which are limited to Spain and not the broader EU.”

Continuing, Preiwisch said “it is also unfortunate that they are spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about our technology globally after our efforts to provide them with an accurate view of Worldcoin and World ID have gone unanswered for months.”

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