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Worldcoin’s eye-scanning orb is no longer available in France, India, and Brazil just months after announced expansion


The eye-scanning ambitions of Sam Altman-cofounded startup Worldcoin have stalled in a number of countries just six months after an expanded international rollout.

People in France, India, and Brazil, will no longer be able to use the company’s signature orb eye-scanner after the startup pulled back from those markets, TechCrunch reported. In a statement emailed to Fortune, the Worldcoin Foundation said its activities in France and Brazil were limited-time previews, not long-term rollouts, and that in India “World App continues to experience broad adoption” and that “orb-verified proof of personhood services have been temporarily paused as the protocol works to develop and roll out a bespoke, safe and orderly process that sufficiently meets the demand.”

In July, Tools for Humanity, the organization behind Worldcoin, expanded World ID, its digital identity program linked to a person’s iris scan. In an announcement that month, the startup said that soon 1,500 orbs would be available in 35 cities worldwide. Just last week the company also announced a program that would give $5 million grants to developers building with its eye-scanning technology. 

The Worldcoin cryptocurrency fell just under 1% and was trading at $3.64 on Thursday morning following the news, according to CoinGecko.

Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, and his cofounders created Worldcoin in 2020 as a way to help people prove their digital identity as AI becomes increasingly prevalent. In just a few years, Worldcoin has raised $250 million from big-name venture capitalists such as Andreessen Horowitz.

The startup has faced some regulatory hiccups recently, including a probe from French and German regulators as well as an Argentinian government agency.

Altman has also faced troubles of his own recently. In November, the OpenAI board removed him as CEO before reinstating him just two weeks later. And just this week, Altman came under fire after Fortune reported that he had quietly received $75 million from the University of Michigan for a new venture capital fund months after OpenAI’s signature product ChatGPT launched.

Learn more about all things crypto with short, easy-to-read lesson cards. Click here for Fortune’s Crypto Crash Course.

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