Kenya suspends Worldcoin activities after nearly half a million sign-ups
- The registration exercise for Worldcoin in Kenya took place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
- Registered users are entitled to 25 free Worldcoin tokens worth about $2 amounting to about Sh7000.
- The Worldcoin activities in the countries have been suspended by the Ministry of Interior for security concerns.
The activities of Worldcoin, which launched on July 24, have been halted in Kenya after a thrilling uptake by the population. The Ministry of Interior has suspended the activities including registration citing security concerns.
On August 2, Kenya’s minister of internal security announced on Facebook that the country had suspended Worldcoin operations until relevant government agencies had verified that there were no risks to Kenyans. The statement from the cabinet secretary Ministry of Interior, Kithure Kindiki read:
“Relevant security, financial services, and data protection agencies have started inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities… Appropriate action will be taken on any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities afore described.”
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in Nairobi had also warned against the ongoing registration stating that Worldcoin and its products were not regulated under the Capital Markets Act.
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) warns against the ongoing Worldcoin-related registration in Kenya. The regulator says Worldcoin & its products are NOT regulated under the Capital Markets Act
— Kenyan Wallstreet (@kenyanwalstreet) August 2, 2023
Kenya is not the first country to question the safety of data collected by Worldcoin. France’s privacy watchdog has also questioned Worldcoin’s data collection and is currently investigating the crypto project.
Why are Kenyans so excited about Worldcoin?
Despite the privacy concerns, Kenyans have been trooping in thousands to the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) in Nairobi and lining up for hours to have their eyeballs scanned for the 25 free Worldcoin (WLD) tokens which when exchanged translate to about Ksh7000.
Days after the new cryptocurrency project started registration in the country, media outlets were reporting that more than 350,000 individuals had registered.
The suspension news is a big setback for Worldcoin, which in an investor presentation had previously highlighted it had seen significant demand in Nairobi as a city. The presentation which was prepared in In December 2022, Worldcoin boasted of more than a quarter of a million sign-ups in Nairobi where it has 45 of its retina-scanning orbs positioned.