Kenya’s interior ministry has announced the suspension of all local activities connected to the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, pending an investigation by government agencies into the potential risks to public safety.
Founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, the project was launched just last week and is creating waves across various nations. Worldcoin has implemented an ambitious plan requiring users to provide their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID. In some countries, users are also granted free cryptocurrency, aligning with the company’s vision to create a new “identity and financial network”.
Interior minister Kithure Kindiki expressed concern regarding the venture in a public statement, saying: “Relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities.”
The minister’s remarks reveal that the Kenyan government is troubled by Worldcoin’s activities, especially in relation to how it intends to use the data gathered. While the details were not explicit, Mr. Kindiki also warned that action would be taken against anyone found engaging with the project’s activities.
According to local media, the project has found substantial interest within Kenya, with reports indicating that more than 350,000 Kenyans have already signed up for Worldcoin, receiving free cryptocurrency tokens worth approximately 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49.09).
Since its introduction, the project has attracted global attention, including in countries such as Germany, Spain, and France. People have been queuing at registration sites to have their eyes scanned by Worldcoin’s shiny spherical “orb”.
Not only in Kenya but also in Britain, Germany, and France, Worldcoin has come under increased scrutiny. The questions surrounding the legality, authenticity, and safety of the initiative are mounting.
The actions taken by the Kenyan government may set a precedent for other nations to follow, as governments around the world grapple with the emerging challenges of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
As more individuals become enticed by the potential rewards offered by Worldcoin, the importance of clear regulatory guidance becomes paramount. How Kenya’s investigation unfolds may well influence other governments’ approaches to this intriguing and controversial project. The global community will no doubt be watching closely to see how this situation develops in the coming weeks and months.