Connect with us


Kenyan Government Suspends Worldcoin’s Activities Amid Security and Privacy Concerns




Kenya’s government has temporarily halted the activities of Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project that offers free crypto tokens to individuals who agree to have their irises scanned. The suspension follows concerns about public safety, potential privacy, and security risks, as well as the legality of the project. This initiative, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, aims to create a new “identity and financial network.”

Suspension and Investigations

Kenya’s Intervention

Kenya’s interior ministry announced on Wednesday that local activities of Worldcoin had been suspended. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said that relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies were commencing inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the activities. The ministry has warned citizens to be cautious about giving their data to private companies.

Concerns about Biometric Data: The Communications Authority of Kenya expressed concerns about how the biometric data was stored and handled.

Offering Money for Data: The project’s offer of money in exchange for data has raised ethical questions.

Private Company Handling Data: The massive amount of sensitive data in the hands of a private company is a significant concern.

Worldcoin, which insists that no data is stored and that biometric data never leaves the scanning orb, did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Local Impact

More than 350,000 Kenyans had reportedly signed up for Worldcoin as of Tuesday, in exchange for free cryptocurrency tokens worth around 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49.09). However, the suspension led to thousands of people being turned away from registration centers, with many expressing disappointment.

Global Response

Worldcoin’s activities have not only drawn attention in Kenya but have also come under scrutiny in Britain, Germany, France, and other countries. Since its launch, people around the world have been flocking to registration sites to get their eyes scanned by the shiny spherical “orb.” Regulators in several countries are evaluating the project to determine if it violates privacy protections.

Worldcoin’s Objective

Worldcoin is an ambitious project that uses an individual’s iris to create a unique digital identity, which can be linked to digital currencies managed through the company’s World App. By creating the world’s largest identity and financial network, the project aims to give ownership to everyone and establish universal access to the global economy. This initiative could also lead to the realization of universal basic income, although the details are unclear.

Concerns from Privacy Experts

Despite Worldcoin’s assurances that biometric data is “permanently deleted” after sign-up, privacy experts worry that sensitive data gathered from scanning a person’s iris might get into the wrong hands. Digital rights lawyer Mercy Mutemi commented that there were less intrusive ways to gain the information that Worldcoin is after.

Regulatory Status

The Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) stated its concern about the ongoing registration and notified Kenyans that Worldcoin was not regulated in Kenya. Kenya’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) called for increased vigilance, and the process requires a demonstration of proper safeguards under the Data Protection Act 2019.


The suspension of Worldcoin’s activities in Kenya has brought global attention to the potential risks and challenges associated with emerging technologies. The careful balance between innovation and privacy is a central issue that regulators worldwide must address. As the situation unfolds, it serves as a reminder to governments, companies, and individuals to exercise caution and due diligence when engaging with new and potentially invasive technological initiatives.