Worldcoin Foundation Expresses Disappointment Over Hong Kong Ban

The Worldcoin Foundation has voiced its disappointment with the recent decision by Hong Kong regulatory authorities to ban its operations. The foundation asserts that it operates lawfully and fully complies with data privacy laws, including Hong Kong’s Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

In a statement to, a spokesperson for the Worldcoin Foundation emphasized the organization’s commitment to lawful operation and data privacy compliance. “This includes the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance of Hong Kong, among many other similar statutes across other markets,” the spokesperson stated.

Worldcoin highlighted its mission to prepare humanity for the age of artificial intelligence by enhancing privacy standards through strategies like data minimization, user control over data, and advanced technologies such as personal custody, iris code deletion, and secure multi-party computation. The foundation argues that these measures ensure user data is handled with the highest levels of security and privacy. “Unfortunately, the authorities in Hong Kong overlooked these aspects in their evaluation of the humanness verification process,” the spokesperson added.

The response follows the Hong Kong privacy regulator’s finding that Worldcoin violated local privacy laws by handling biometric data in a manner deemed “unnecessary and excessive.” Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung Lai-ling stated that the collection of face and iris images by Worldcoin contravened local rules. The Privacy Commissioner issued an enforcement notice directing Worldcoin to cease all operations involving the scanning and collection of iris and face images in Hong Kong.

Worldcoin, founded in 2019 by Sam Altman, Max Novendstern, and Alex Blania, aims to create a global digital identity platform using iris-scanning technology. In May 2023, the project secured $115 million in a Series C funding round led by Blockchain Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Bain Capital Crypto, and Distributed Global.