Worldcoin boss photo


Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency developed by US-based OpenAI, claims to have been scanning iris images in Kenya well before the project's launch in June.

Despite a frenzied adoption as Kenyans scanned their eyes with the Worldcoin Orb as evidence of humanity against their profiles on the internet, the cryptocurrency project was stopped in Kenya on August 2 due to security of information considerations.

Tools for Humanity (TFH) representatives, who are the project's partners, went before the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday to answer questions on the operations of the cryptocurrency project.

The international hardware and software company TFH, located in Germany, was in charge of the early development of the Worldcoin protocol.

Sam Sadle, TFH's Head of Government Relations and Public Policy, stated that since the initial stages of the project in 2021, the business has been scanning people's irises in Nairobi and other urban areas of Kenya.

"We have been giving proof of humanity certification since 2021, prior to July 24. We have more than 20 sites around the city, including shopping centres like The Hub, Sarit Centre, Imaara Mall, and others," Sadle informed the committee.

"We think we touched a wide range of people around the nation."

On June 24, the Worldcoin project went live worldwide. However, the idea was greeted with privacy issues and worries about the security of the biodata the business was gathering from Kenyans, despite its dreams of a centrally managed global currency.

The free grants, according to the project's CEO, Alex Blania, who co-founded it with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, were intended to encourage Kenyans to accept the initiative.

Blania, the US financial technology platform that enables the movement of money between people using online services and email, said before the House committee, "You remember when PayPal debuted? It gave users $20 because the platform is only useful when you have money to transact."

Thomas Scott, chief legal officer of Tools for Humanity, stated that three years before the project's introduction in June, it was also trialled in Chile and Portugal.
Scott said that it was because of Kenya's high rate of technological adoption.

"We believed that this might be a place alongside Chile and Portugal where innovative concepts and technology were likely to be tested and improved," he added. "The level of tech adoption, talent, political stability, and integrity is here."
"We hoped to find supporters and adopters," he said.


Kamau Thugge, the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, testified before the committee on Tuesday that the CBK had no involvement in authorising or approving the owners of Worldcoin.

Additionally, Njoroge stated that the lender was unaware of Worldcoin's operations in the nation.

However, Worldcoin asserted that since April 19, 2022, when it was registered as a data controller and not a limited business, they had been in contact with the Office of the Data Commissioner.

Worldcoin has been launched in a number of nations, including Germany and France, despite its crackdown in Kenya. On its website, the business claims to have tallied 2,279,884 sign-ups and verifications from 34 different nations.

But the idea is also under investigation in Europe since it violates the stringent General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in EU member states.

The Information Commission Office of the United Kingdom announced that it will be "making inquiries" into Worldcoin, while the CNIL, a privacy watchdog in France, stated that the project's collection of biometric data "seems questionable." 

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