Spain Bans Sam Altman’s Worldcoin; WLD Rally Comes to a Halt

By Ben Knight March 07, 2024 In Cryptocurrency, Spain, Worldcoin
Source: Adobe Stock
  • EU nation Spain has declared Worldcoin must immediately cease operations in the country, or else face a multi-million dollar fine.
  • The move comes on the back of increased privacy concerns regarding the project’s data processing and storage.
  • Spain is not the only nation keeping an eye on Worldcoin, with the UK and Germany just a couple of the several governments investigating the crypto project.
  • Worldcoin responded by stating that Spain has misrepresented the project and that they maintain a strong dedication to individual security.

Worldcoin, one of the crypto industry’s most controversial projects, has encountered another roadblock as the Spanish Government enters the fray. Worldcoin (WLD) had been on an inspired run of late, after being airdropped to users in mid-2023 at a price of approximately USD $2 (AUD $3). 

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As market conditions improved and OpenAI – who shares a CEO with Worldcoin – released its new video-generating product, the project started to take off. In the past month, WLD has gained a whopping 254% and at one point was trading above USD $9 (AUD $13.7). However, the momentum was stopped in its tracks slightly over the past week as governments remain wary of Sam Altman’s passion project.

Scanning Data “Entails High Risks For People’s Rights”

To understand the fracas, we must first quickly look at what Worldcoin actually does. The project is intended as a solution to the current inefficiencies with identity verification, which is not only slow, but can be spoofed rather easily. 


Worldcoin created technology – known as an Orb – that scans people’s eyes to record biometric data that can’t be falsified. With a large enough database, the tech will supposedly allow people around the world to immediately prove their identity online, while companies will save money on verification efforts.

However, Spain’s data protection agency, AEPD, has demanded an immediate halt to all Worldcoin-related activities within the nation, including gathering additional biometric scans and using previously acquired data. According to the regulators, the use of the Orb “entails high risks for people’s rights, taking into account their sensitive nature” and that the ban was necessary “in order to avoid potentially irreparable damage”.

According to the AEPD, concerns were growing among citizens amid reports of Worldcoin being used to scan the irises of children and poor communication with participants. 

Worldcoin responded by suggesting “Spain…are spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about our technology globally”.

Spain’s ban is not the first wave of criticism to hit Worldcoin, with nations like Germany investigating the project to ensure its safety. Additionally, crypto heavy-hitter and creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, was similarly concerned about the potential impact on privacy that Worldcoin’s data-collection measures may have.

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Despite the furore, Worldcoin (WLD) stabilised from its weekly fall, and has climbed an impressive 26% in the past 24 hours.

Worldcoin (WLD), weekly graph, source: CoinMarketCap

Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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