The eyeball-scanning crypto startup Worldcoin has been hit with another setback – with a report alleging user anger with the company, and some accusing its architects of being “thieves.”
As reported recently, Worldcoin has decided to halt its operations in some seven countries after logistical hurdles began cropping up.
The firm, which has been backed by the likes of Coinbase, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Andreessen Horowitz, has masterminded a project that will, it claims, distribute yet-unissued tokens to every person on the planet. It aims to do this by photographing every single human’s iris and imaging their eyes to prevent fraudulent token claims.
The company has already built up a database of hundreds of thousands of iris scans in almost two dozen countries, but per a report from BuzzFeed, some people are already unhappy with their experience with the project’s “Orb operators.”
The media outlet began its piece by reporting on the case of a 32-year-old African truck driver who had been “scanned” by the operators, wielding a “futuristic device” named “The Orb.”
When the outlet contacted him, he assumed that it was the operators, and replied:
“You are thieves. They robbed me of my money.”
Further, the media outlet claimed that the Orb operators are becoming equally “angry,” and the startup is now facing claims that it is trying to “amass millions of biometrics.”
The media outlet claimed it had interviewed a number of operators, both current and former, and had seen “confidential company presentations, Orb operator contracts, internal marketing materials,” as well as “more than 100 screenshots of discussions between Orb operators and Worldcoin executives.”
This material, it claimed, contained evidence that “hundreds of outraged messages” have been sent to Orb operators from people “demanding the money they were promised.”
Additionally, the media outlet said it had heard reports of Orb operators battling with police compliance and “facing arrest,” as well as “harassment.” The operators also complained of “late payments,” as well as a “changing wage structure” that they argued “makes the work financially unfeasible.”
Two operators were quoted as claiming that the “system could be gamed” by executing more than one signup per person. One stated that they had “repeatedly scanned around 20 of their friends one night to boost their sign-ups.” The firm conceded that repeated sign-ups had “definitely” occurred, but added that “some early [Orb] prototypes did not function properly.”
Alex Blania, the co-founder and CEO of Worldcoin, was quoted as telling the same media outlet:
“Quite surely, in some places, communication, marketing, all of those things, could have been clearer and better. And we will improve that.”
Blania also refuted the notion that Worldcoin was trying to harvest biometric data “in return for a cryptocurrency that may turn out to be worthless.”
He stated that that “is just very wrong. I don’t even know where to start. This is just very wrong.”