Worldcoin signs up over 9K users in Argentina in a single day despite criticism

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Human ID project Worldcoin signed up over 9,500 users in Argentina in a single day in August, setting a record for single-day signups. To achieve this feat, facilitators onboarded participants at an average rate of less than nine seconds per person, according to an Aug. 31 announcement from the project.

Argentina has Worldcoin facilitators in 38 different locations, according to the project’s website. Most locations are in the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires.

Worldcoin is a blockchain-based project that allows individuals to prove they’re human by having their irises scanned. When a user verifies their humanness, they are given a “World ID” that can be integrated into future applications to prove they are not a bot or artificial intelligence program. The project was founded by OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, who argued that human IDs would be needed in the future as artificial AI programs become more sophisticated and less distinguishable from humans.

Worldcoin launched on July 25 and almost immediately came under criticism from data privacy advocates. Critics claimed that it is too centralized and could easily leak users’ biometric data, leading to negative consequences for users.

In their Aug. 31 post, the team claimed that many Argentinians are signing up for World IDs anyway, despite the controversy. “There was a significant increase in demand for World ID verifications in countries around the world [after launch],” they stated. This “continued into August, which saw 9.5K Argentinians verify their World ID in a single day.”

The post also stated that the surge in signups caused the Worldcoin app to “temporarily become the number one app in Argentina on the App Store.”

Related: Bitcoin-friendly Javier Milei wins most votes in Argentina primary election

Worldcoin gives its native coin, WLD, to new users after they sign up. Currently, the signup bonus is 25 WLD, which is worth approximately 10,239.48 Argentinian Pesos (ARS) or $29.25 on the open market. According to cost-of-living data from travel website Expatistan, this is enough to buy two meals from the “basic lunchtime menu” in the business districts of major cities within Argentina. The coin hit an all-time high on launch day, when the 25 WLD bonus was worth approximately 23,791 ARS, or $68.

The project claims that it “is fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and data transfer.” In response to criticism, the Argentinian government has opened an investigation of Worldcoin’s privacy practices. Worldcoin has also been suspended in Kenya, and the Worldcoin team has responded with a document arguing that it has complied with all privacy laws in the country.