The local operations of the Worldcoin cryptocurrency project have been suspended as per Kenya’s interior ministry, which is currently assessing potential risks to public safety. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, initiated this project, which was recently launched. In certain regions, users are offered complimentary cryptocurrencies to help build a novel “identity and financial network” by providing their iris scans for digital ID purposes.
As the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner reported, their preliminary investigation into Worldcoin’s operations revealed several concerns. One of the issues highlighted was the potential problem of obtaining customer agreement through financial rewards, which could be seen as an enticement.
Furthermore, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki released a statement confirming that various security, financial services, and data protection agencies have initiated inquiries and investigations to verify the authenticity and legality of the abovementioned activities.
The Worldcoin Foundation, based in the Cayman Islands, has declared its intention to utilize the suspension period to collaborate with the relevant authorities to enhance their understanding of the privacy protections they have implemented in Kenya and all locations where they operate.
In their statement, Worldcoin reaffirmed its dedication to offering an inclusive, privacy-preserving, and decentralized gateway to the global digital economy. They anticipated resuming services in Kenya while closely cooperating with local regulators and other stakeholders.
According to Kindiki, the government expressed concerns about Worldcoin’s operations, and agencies are investigating how the company intends to utilize the collected information. He mentioned that participants involved in its operations would be subject to punishment without providing further specifics.
Since the program’s launch, registration sites worldwide, including in Kenya, Germany, Spain, and France, have witnessed significant numbers of people coming forward to have their eyes scanned by a dazzling, spherical “orb.”
Furthermore, the initiative has faced criticism in France, Germany, and Britain.Local media reported that over 350,000 Kenyans registered for Worldcoin, participating in exchange for free cryptocurrency tokens valued at approximately 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49).