Kenya has become the first country to completely suspend Worldcoin's operations, while in Europe, data protection offices have initiated investigations into the project.
Kenya's Ministry of the Interior has taken action to suspend the operations of Worldcoin, a crypto protocol co-founded by Sam Altman from OpenAI. The suspension comes as a result of concerns raised by the government regarding the legitimacy and data protection practices of the project. According to a statement posted on the ministry's Facebook page on Wednesday, the government is investigating the activities of Worldcoin, particularly its involvement in the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data. The statement was signed by Minister Kithure Kindiki.
Worldcoin is striving to establish a worldwide identification system relying on iris scans, which serves as evidence of an individual's unique human identity. The project argues that such a mechanism could become essential in an economy where AI agents are actively involved. However, the initiative has faced scrutiny due to concerns over biometric data collection and the signup procedures in developing nations, with critics raising allegations of exploitation.
Following its recent launch, Worldcoin has come under investigation by multiple European regulators, including the Bavarian data protection office that oversees the firm. While these investigations are underway, Kenya stands out as the first country to take more decisive action by suspending the company's operations entirely during the local agencies' investigation.
Since its launch last week, Worldcoin has been rewarding users who underwent iris scans with WLD tokens. In the past 24 hours, the value of the token has risen by 1.9%, reaching $2.38 on crypto exchanges, as per CoinMarketCap data.
Gkritsi, E. (2023) Kenyan government suspends Worldcoin activity on financial security, privacy concerns, CoinDesk Latest Headlines RSS. Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2023/08/02/kenyan-government-suspends-worldcoin-activity/ (Accessed: 02 August 2023).