In a recent statement shared on Kenya’s Ministry of the Interior official Facebook page, it was announced that the Kenyan Government has suspended the activity of Worldcoin, the digital identity crypto project. This comes as a response to concerns regarding the project’s collection of biometric data, specifically, iris and eyeball data.
The Capital Markets Authority of Kenya has also issued a separate cautionary statement, warning that Worldcoin’s products and tokens are not recognized investment products under local laws. Furthermore, the government expressed its concern about Worldcoin’s activities within the country, leading to various federal bodies, including data protection agencies, investigating the authenticity and legality of the project’s data collection.
The Financial Incentives Attached
News of Worldcoin’s suspension did not deter Kenyans from registering with the project due to the enticing financial incentives offered. Reports indicate that the free WLD tokens provided by Worldcoin were valued at around KSH 7,000 (approximately $54), a significant sum for many Kenyans. Despite the suspension, the WLD token saw a 5% increase in the last 24 hours, reaching a value of $2.408.
It is not only Kenya that has raised concerns about Worldcoin’s activities. Privacy regulators in the U.K., France, and Germany have launched separate investigations into the project’s collection of biometric data for identity verification purposes. Germany’s top privacy regulator has been investigating Worldcoin’s data collection practices since November 2022.
The Kenyan government made it clear that it would take action against any individuals who aid the operation of Worldcoin within the country. They emphasized the importance of ensuring the absence of any risks to the general public. The suspension of Worldcoin’s activities and the investigation into the project’s data collection practices reflect the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens’ privacy and safeguarding public security.
The Kenyan government’s decision to suspend Worldcoin’s activities highlights the growing concerns surrounding the collection and use of biometric data by digital identity projects. While the financial incentives may be appealing, it is crucial for governments to prioritize data protection and the legal recognition of investment products. As investigations continue into Worldcoin’s practices, it remains to be seen how this development will impact the broader landscape of digital identity projects and their approach to data collection.