Kenya Suspends Worldcoin Operations – What’s at Stake?

Why Did Kenya Suspend Worldcoin Cryptocurrency Project

Key Insights

  • The government of Kenya suspended Worldcoin due to concerns about sensitive data collection.
  • Kenyan authorities launch investigations to verify the authenticity and legality of Worldcoin’s operations.
  • Worldcoin’s use of iris scans for digital IDs raises privacy and security questions, prompting a review by Kenyan agencies.

The ambitious cryptocurrency and digital identity venture, Worldcoin, has encountered a rocky beginning in Kenya, facing a regulatory setback as the government abruptly halted all local operations linked to the project.

Kenya suspends Worldcoin over security, privacy and financial concerns

In a surprising turn of events, Kenya’s Minister of Internal Security took to social media on August 2nd to declare a suspension of Worldcoin’s activities within the country’s borders. The decision was announced pending thorough assessments by relevant public agencies to ensure that no risks or potential harm would befall Kenyan citizens.

Worldcoin Kenya
Hundreds of Kenyans line up outside KICC to undergo retina scans. Source: StandardMedia

Read also! What Could Go Wrong with Worldcoin? Examining the Risks

In an official statement, Minister Kithure Kindiki explained, “Relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities.”

What has particularly drawn the government’s attention is Worldcoin’s practice of collecting sensitive personal identification data, including iris scans, in exchange for a digital identity. The minister emphasized the significance of protecting citizens’ data and privacy in an increasingly digital age.

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The official statement underscored the government’s commitment to accountability:

Appropriate action will be taken on any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets, or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities afore described.

The Worldcoin project, which was launched on July 24, 2023, following three years of meticulous development, is the brainchild of Sam Altman, known for his leadership at OpenAI, the organization responsible for the popular AI-based conversational model, ChatGPT.

Worldcoin’s central objective revolves around addressing the impending challenge of distinguishing between human users and advanced AI bots as AI technology continues to advance. To achieve this, the startup devised a digital ID framework rooted in proof-of-personhood. This innovative digital identification system involves the scanning of an individual’s iris, creating a unique World ID for the user.

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As the Kenyan government deliberates the future of Worldcoin’s presence in the country, the project finds itself at the crossroads of technological innovation and regulatory scrutiny, illustrating the ongoing tension between cutting-edge advancements and the imperative to safeguard individual rights and interests.

At the time of writing, WorldCoin WDC is trading at $0.012, down 2.41% in the last 24 hours.

Kenya Suspend Worldcoin Cryptocurrency Project Causing the token price to drop sharply
Source: CoinMarketCap


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