The government of Kenya has suspended all activities relating to enrollment for Worldcoin, a cypto project co-founded by Open AI’s Sam Altman.
This is coming amid high expectations that the project will soon be launched in Nigeria soon to allow Nigerians to participate in what Altman described as ‘sharing technological prosperity.’
Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Interior and National Coordination, Kithure Kindiki, announced the suspension on Wednesday, citing concerns with the authenticity and legality of Worldcoin’s activities in the areas of security, financial services, and data protection.
Kindiki said the suspension covers both Worldcoin and “any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya” and will remain in place until the authorities determine “the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever.”
Announcing the suspension at a time many Kenyans were already in queue to get enrolled and receive a free token worth $54, Kindiki said:
- “The Government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organization calling itself ‘WorldCoin,’ which is involved in the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data. Accordingly, the Government has suspended forthwith, the activities of ‘WorldCoin’ and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya.
- “Relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities, the safety and protection of the data being harvested, and how the harvesters intend to use the data.
- “Further, it will be critical that assurances of public safety and the integrity of the financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens be satisfactorily provided upfront. 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.”
- Altman announced the launch of Worldcoin on July 24 with a declaration that the project could “drastically increase economic opportunity, scale a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from Al online while preserving privacy, enable global democratic processes, and eventually show a potential path to Al-funded UBI.”
According to information available on Worldcoin website, the project has been launched only in two African countries including Kenya and Uganda.
The project is working towards its launch in Nigeria and other African countries while crypto-loving Nigerians are already anticipating the launch via messages on Worldcoin’s Twitter handle.
Worldcoin has raised over $500 million to create a “proof-of-personhood” network. It’s doing this by registering “verified humans” through the scanning of eyeballs by way of its Orbs, and it’s been luring users to come in for scans by offering them “free” crypto tokens in exchange.
Tools for Humanity, the team building Worldcoin, is said to be creating an app that will link up with these global IDs, using Worldcoin tokens for payments, purchases, and transfers, alongside other cryptocurrencies and fiat-backed stablecoins.
When Worldcoin eventually launches in Nigeria, it will also pass through the scrutiny of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDBP) the agency enforcing data protection across all sectors in the country.
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