- Kenya is the first country to completely halt Worldcoin operations.
- European data protection authorities have also begun investigations.
In the realm of digital innovation and finance, cryptocurrencies have emerged as a transformative force with the potential to revolutionize traditional financial systems. However, not all cryptocurrencies are met with open arms, and recently, Kenya has taken a decisive step in suspending the operation of Worldcoin, a controversial cryptocurrency.
This suspension came amidst growing concerns about privacy and data protection, as Kenyan authorities grapple with the implications of this global digital currency.
On August 2, the Minister of Internal Security in Kenya made a public announcement on Facebook, stating that the country has decided to suspend all activities related to Worldcoin. The suspension will remain in effect until various relevant public agencies have thoroughly assessed and certified that the cryptocurrency poses no risks to Kenyan citizens.
Minister Kithure Kindiki emphasized that a comprehensive investigation is underway, involving pertinent security, financial services, and data protection agencies. The primary objective of these inquiries is to establish the authenticity and legality of Worldcoin’s operations within the country.
Worldcoin’s data gathering practices have been drawing increased attention and scrutiny from regulators worldwide in recent times. Just a few days ago, France’s data protection regulator, the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), raised concerns about the legality of Worldcoin’s data-gathering methods.
According to reports, Worldcoin is currently under investigation by CNIL due to suspicions that the company’s data collection and storage techniques might not fully comply with the relevant laws and regulations governing data privacy in France.
The Kenyan Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that it was “immediately suspending Worldcoin activities until the relevant government agencies certify the absence of any risk to the public.”
Despite facing regulatory hurdles, Worldcoin’s orbs, which are devices used for iris scans, are still operational in several countries. Notably, two orbs are deployed in Britain, one in France, and two in Germany.
Furthermore, on a global scale, there are currently 366 active orbs, and the company has already manufactured and prepared 2,000 units for deployment.
Worldcoin’s founder, Sam Altman, has asserted that the orbs are verifying one person every eight seconds, showcasing the scale and efficiency of their biometric verification process. Undeterred by the challenges, Worldcoin has announced ambitious plans to expand their presence in major cities in the coming months, with the aim of increasing the capacity for user sign-ups by a factor of five.