• The Kenyan Government has cracked down on controversial crypto project Worldcoin
• Around 400,000 Kenyan citizens had signed up to scan their iris with Worldcoin
• Kenyan authorities have suspended the activities of Worldcoin in the country amid privacy and security concerns.
Kenyan Government Cracks Down on Crypto Project
The Interior Ministry of the Kenyan government has expressed a series of concerns with the controversial crypto project, Worldcoin (WLD). As a result, they have suspended its activities within Kenya’s borders due to security issues.
Worldcoin was launched by ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman on July 24, 2020 after securing $115 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Digital Currency Group and Coinbase Ventures during its Series A round. Despite the high profile investors, such as former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, the project has been mired in controversy ever since due to concerns about data security and individual privacy.
Iris Scans Gain Popularity
Worldcoin is striving to develop a worldwide identification system that relies on iris scans as a means to authenticate an individual’s humanity and distinctiveness. The project gained immense popularity in Kenya with around 400,000 citizens signing up for it. This caused panic among officials which made its way into the Senate raising further alarm bells about potential threats from WorldCoin.
Interior Ministry Responds
In response to these fears, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki released a statement suspending WorldCoin’s activities in the country while relevant agencies carried out investigations to establish its authenticity and legality: “The Government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organization calling itself ‘WORLD COIN’ which is involved in the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data.”
It remains unclear what action will be taken against WorldCoin should investigations find it not to be compliant with existing laws or regulations. In any case, this serves as an important reminder that governments are taking digital asset regulation seriously and will take decisive action when necessary.