On August 1, 2023, a woman is assisted in scanning her iris to create identity numbers as part of the prerequisite for joining as a member of the new Worldcoin cryptocurrency at KICC Nairobi.
The government has halted operations of the cryptocurrency project WorldCoin awaiting the completion of investigations into the safety of the data being harvested.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki stated that the move will remain in effect until assurances of the safety and integrity of financial transactions are delivered.
“The government has immediately suspended activities of World Coin and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until relevant public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public,” the statement states.
“Appropriate action will be taken against any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets, or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities aforedescribed.”
Simultaneously, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has warned of the advent of potential fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes in the aftermath of the launch of Worldcoin, a crypto initiative that distributes free tokens to Kenyans.
According to the markets regulator, Worldcoin is not regulated in Kenya, and comparable items such as free crypto-tokens and their derivatives are not investment products under the Capital Markets Act.
The suspension comes just days after the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) issued an advisory against the project, urging Kenyans to heighten their vigilance and ensure that they receive proper information before disclosing any or sensitive data.
Worldcoin is a new project by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman where users are required to provide their iris scans in exchange for digital identification and free cryptocurrency called Worldcoin token.
On Tuesday, long queues were seen leading to the Kenyatta International Conference Center where eye-scanning was taking place, prompting the police to stop the registration citing security concerns.