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Kindiki slams the brakes on Worldcoin mania

Authorities in Kenya have suspended activities of Worldcoin, an entity that has caught the attention of the country in recent days for gathering citizens data through scanning of people’s iris.

Unaware of what they are getting into, jobless and needy Kenyans have been racing to acquire an iris scan from WorldCoin, the latest crypto craze, because they have been promised the chance to make a quick buck right away.

At the same time, the ministry of Interior says it has started investigations to establish “authenticity and legality” of Worldcoin activities in Kenya. In particular, sleuths will be seeking details on the protection of the data being harvested and how the company intends to use the data later.

Worldcoin plan

“The government has suspended forthwith, activities of Worldcoin and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever,” said Interior Cabinet Secretray Prof Kithure Kindiki.

“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,” Prof Kindiki added.

On its website, Worldcoin says it aims at establishing universal access to the global economy regardless of one’s country or background. The platform claims that it is designed to become the world’s largest human identity and financial network, giving ownership to everyone. “All with the intention of welcoming every person on the planet and establishing a place for all of us to benefit in the age of AI,” it explains.

Already, the platform indicates that it has managed to mobilise close to 2.2 million sign-ups. What’s more, people in a total of 34 countries have underwent Orb verifications or iris scans and it has managed 120 countries with verified World ID users.

Read also: King of crypto surviving the winter crash

Value of WLD tokens

On Tuesday, thousands of Kenyans meeting at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) were dispersed by the police as they came to receive free tokens called WLD after having their eyes scanned. The value of the WLD 25 tokens is currently estimated at Kes7,786.

Worldcoin is one of the most ambitious initiatives to come out of the blockchain boom. It uses a blend of cryptocurrency and biometric registration to create a new type of worldwide identity service. The sign-up bonuses are the magnate that has seen millions of people from Nairobi to Bengaluru city in southern India, and Hong Kong, lining up for Worldcoin eyeball scans and an easy crypto token.

Last week, the Office of Data Protection Commissioner warned Kenyans from using Worldcoin due to concerns about data privacy. Immaculate Kassait, the data commissioner, urged users to sign up for Worldcoin with greater caution.

“The ODPC is aware that Worldcoin has now been launched and is processing sensitive personal data in a manner that requires a demonstration of proper safeguards under the Data Protection Act, 2019,” reads a statement from the commission.

jwambua@maudhui.co.ke