Kenya has put a halt to Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency project due to concerns regarding its safety and security

Kenya has put a halt to Worldcoin's cryptocurrency project

On Wednesday, Kenya’s interior ministry announced the suspension of Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency project within the country. The government took this action to assess potential risks to public safety associated with the project. Founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, the project was launched recently and involves users providing their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID. Additionally, in some countries, users receive free cryptocurrency with the aim of establishing a new “identity and financial network.”

The interior minister, Kithure Kindiki, stated that relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies have initiated inquiries and investigations to determine the authenticity and legality of the project’s activities. A preliminary review conducted by the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner raised concerns, particularly regarding the practice of obtaining consumer consent in exchange for monetary rewards, which could be seen as inducement.

The Worldcoin Foundation, based in the Cayman Islands, announced that it would utilize the suspension period to collaborate with authorities and enhance understanding of the privacy measures it has in place in Kenya and other regions where it operates. The foundation emphasized its commitment to providing an inclusive and privacy-preserving decentralized on-ramp to the global digital economy. It expressed hopes of resuming its services in Kenya with close cooperation with local regulators and stakeholders.

The Kenyan government is particularly concerned about Worldcoin’s activities and intends to investigate how the gathered data will be utilized. It also warned against any engagement with the project’s activities without providing further details on the consequences.

According to local media reports, over 350,000 Kenyans had signed up for Worldcoin as of Tuesday, receiving free cryptocurrency tokens worth approximately 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49).

Since its launch, the project has drawn attention and scrutiny in several other countries, including Britain, Germany, and France.