An individual, who asked not to be named and claimed to have previously worked for Worldcoin, has alleged the human identity verification project may have committed illegal acts during their employment.
In an Aug. 23 YouTube video that has since been removed, the individual said they witnessed “very questionable” activities at Worldcoin (WLD), including “sloppy and/or illegal things” prior to quitting the project before its token launch on July 24. They claimed the organization was holding some of their pay and were speaking with authorities in different jurisdictions as part of probes into Worldcoin.
According to the former employee, the Worldcoin project had a “horrendous execution,” which involved cutting corners ahead of the release of its white paper, and they had seen red flags “from day one.” They said they contacted the Worldcoin CEO and the organization’s legal team but did not receive satisfactory answers for the alleged discrepancies in its mission versus execution.
"I haven’t been paid for my hard and tedious work during ETHCC and ETH Global because I started raising questions," they told Cointelegraph. "That’s not fair and I won’t be bullied into silence and financially abused. Even if my reach is limited, I’m going to speak up for what’s deservedly mine [...] a company pretending to solve financial injustice is not supposed to cause financial harm to workers"
Cointelegraph was unable to independently verify the claims, which included them providing "specialized services" to the firm. A photo posted to X (formerly Twitter) appeared to show them with one of the project’s iris-scanning orbs. Their YouTube channel, created in September 2013, featured only one video, with the allegations against Worldcoin. An X account that appeared to be controlled by the same individual posted a photo of an ETHGlobal Paris badge with their name and affiliation with Worldcoin.
A LinkedIn page appeared to be connected to the same individual in the YouTube video — a Paris resident with experience in nonfungible tokens, Web3 projects and smart contracts. Cointelegraph reached out to Worldcoin for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The Worldcoin project started with the intention of distinguishing real people from bots by providing retinal scans for identity verification through the orbs. There were more than 2 million sign-ups prior to the launch of the Worldcoin token in July.
Ahead of the launch of the Worldcoin token and verification process, many in and out of the crypto space criticized the project, citing privacy concerns over user data. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision reportedly began investigating Worldcoin in November 2022, while the French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty reportedly called its data collection methods “questionable.” The Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom has also raised similar concerns over the project.
In August, Kenya’s minister of internal security announced the country would suspend Worldcoin’s local operations until authorities had the opportunity to assess any potential risk to residents, which reportedly included a raid and seizure of the organization’s equipment. Argentina’s Agency for Access to Public Information later announced a probe into Worldcoin’s collection, storage and use of customer data, citing security and privacy concerns.
Update (Aug. 25 at 9:45 PM UTC): This article has been updated to include a statement from the source.
Update (Sept. 6 at 2:46 PM UTC): This article has been updated after the source requested not to be identified by name.