Kenya Suspends Worldcoin: Data Safety Concerns

Kenya suspends Worldcoin over data safety concerns, sparking a global conversation about balancing innovation in crypto with user data protection.

Aug 3, 2023 - 13:03
Oct 19, 2023 - 13:50
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Kenya Suspends Worldcoin: Data Safety Concerns
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In the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrencies, the safety of user data is of paramount importance. Recently, Kenya made headlines by suspending the operations of Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project, over concerns related to data safety. This move by the Kenyan government has sparked a global conversation about the balance between innovation in the crypto space and the need to ensure user data protection. 

Worldcoin is a controversial cryptocurrency project that uses an individual's iris scan to verify their identity. The project was launched by Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, and it aims to create a unique digital identity for each user, which can then be linked to digital currencies managed through the company's World App. Worldcoin has set up shiny, silver orbs in major cities around the globe, where people can get their eyeballs scanned to create their unique digital identity.

Kenya's Suspension of Worldcoin

The Kenyan government recently ordered Worldcoin to halt its data collection activities in the country. This decision was made due to concerns about potential privacy and security risks associated with the project. The Communications Authority of Kenya stated that it would evaluate Worldcoin due to a "lack of clarity on the security and storage" of the iris scans it was collecting. There was also "uncertainty" surrounding the cryptocurrency attached to the project.

One of the main concerns raised by the Kenyan government was the incentive Worldcoin was offering to people to get their irises scanned. According to a report, Kenyans received 25 worldcoins — amounting to around 7,100 Kenyan shillings (about $50) — just for signing up for the service. This raised questions about the true intentions of the project and whether people were fully aware of what they were signing up for.

The Global Reaction

Kenya's decision to suspend Worldcoin's operations has not gone unnoticed. Regulators in France, Germany, and the UK are also evaluating the project and whether it may violate privacy protections. Despite these concerns, Worldcoin maintains that "biometric data never leaves the orb" and is "permanently deleted" after you sign up. The company instead saves your IrisCode — a unique set of numbers that represents your identity.

The future of Worldcoin in Kenya is uncertain. The suspension will remain in place until the Kenyan government can thoroughly investigate the project and its potential risks. This situation serves as a reminder of the importance of data safety in the world of cryptocurrencies and the need for regulatory oversight to ensure the protection of users.

Philip Bohmer Philip is a seasoned journalist that brings clarity to the complex world of cryptocurrencies through his articulate and insightful articles. His passion for blockchain technology fuels his writing, making him a trusted voice in the rapidly evolving digital currency landscape.