Worldcoin Project Faces Government Ban in Kenya

Freshly launched, the brand-new Worldcoin initiative is already facing a ban from the Kenyan authorities. Indeed, Kenya’s Ministry of Home Affairs has taken the radical step of suspending the Worldcoin project’s activities on its territory. This decision stems from concerns about the collection of users’ iris scans as the only biometric data.

Radical suspension of Worldcoin operations in Kenya

After being rolled out in 35 countries, including Kenya, with an offer of free tokens to users, the Worldcoin project caught the attention of a variety of users, prompting them to rush to sign up to the platform.

However, Kenyan authorities are concerned about the biometric data collection process of this project initiated by Sam Altman, general manager of OpenAI.

The verification process, at the heart of the Worldcoin project, is based on iris scans using a biometric device called an “orb”.. The aim of this project is to create a kind of digital passport using blockchain technology.

This Wednesday, August 2, via an official statement posted on its Facebook page, the Ministry of the Interior has clearly stated that the project cannot be implemented on Kenyan soil.

In this release, Kithure Kindiki, Minister of the Interior expressed serious concerns about the preservation of citizens’ personal data, in the context of the use of iris scans as unique biometric identifiers.

Kenyan government’s decision: a blow for Worldcoin?

The Kenyan government‘s decision represents a serious obstacle for the Worldcoin project, despite the fact that the company had highlighted Nairobi during a presentation to investors, underlining the strong demand in this capital.

It should be noted that this measure has been taken pending the results of investigations into the security and protection of data collected by Worldcoin. These investigations are also being carried out by French and German regulators.

Previously, Kenya’s data regulators had urged citizens wishing to register with Worldcoin to be extra vigilant

Despite these warnings, local media reported on Tuesday a notable increase in Worldcoin registrations, with over 350,000 Kenyans enthusiastically signing up to the platform. In recognition of their commitment, users receive tokens worth around 7,000 Kenyan shillings, or US$49.09. 

So far, other nations such as the USA have formally banned the roll-out of this project. Despite this, Worldcoin continues to manufacture its orbs, with the aim of rapidly increasing the number of people scanned worldwide.