Worldcoin Temporarily Halts Orb Verification in Three Markets

Worldcoin has reportedly suspended its Orb verification service in India, Brazil, and France. The Orb, a distinctive helmet-shaped device designed for iris scanning, aimed to provide a unique identity verification method where traditional IDs were scarce. Despite initially drawing crowds and fostering a pop-up kiosk culture, the service has faced hurdles, with reports suggesting it was quietly discontinued in India several months ago. The Tools for Humanity foundation, overseeing Worldcoin, clarified that the Orb initiative was always intended as a “limited-time access” project in these countries.

Regulatory challenges have loomed large for Worldcoin, especially after its onboarding process, involving iris scans and the collection of private data, sparked public controversies and attracted skepticism from regulators. Countries like Kenya have outright banned Worldcoin’s operations, while German financial authorities launched a probe in 2022. The recent decision to scale back Orb-verified services in India and other nations reflects Worldcoin’s commitment to working with global partners to meet regulatory requirements and ensure a secure and transparent service for verified users.

Despite the Orb’s retreat, Worldcoin remains active in India, with its World App continuing to experience widespread adoption. The organization emphasizes that the temporary pause in Orb services is part of an effort to develop a bespoke, secure, and orderly process to meet the demand for World ID in India. Worldcoin, co-founded by Sam Altman, had embarked on a global rollout in 2023, introducing the Orb in various locations across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Worldcoin’s journey has been marked by both success and challenges. With almost five million people possessing a World ID and over 2.5 million undergoing Orb verification, the project gained momentum. However, regulatory scrutiny, including the suspension in Kenya, posed hurdles. Recently, the project announced its World ID 2.0 upgrade, integrating with popular platforms like Telegram, Reddit, Minecraft, Shopify, and Mercado Libre. The organization seeks to distinguish between bots and verified humans online while preserving privacy through these integrations.

In a notable development, Worldcoin celebrated its Shopify integration, offering free merch through a pop-up store. The event saw significant user engagement, with 2,000 orders placed from Worldcoin users in 45 countries within 40 hours. Despite the temporary setback with Orb verification, Worldcoin continues its mission to provide a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from AI online, fostering global democratic processes, and enhancing economic opportunities. As the project navigates regulatory landscapes, its commitment to compliance and user security remains at the forefront.