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Kenyan Government Forms Committee to Investigate Worldcoin Crypto Project

Hassan Shittu
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Shutterstock

The Kenyan government has formed a 15-member parliamentary committee to investigate the contentious Worldcoin project.

The committee, led by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo, has been allocated a 42-day timeframe to investigate the operations of Worldcoin comprehensively. According to local news sources, the objective is to meticulously analyze Worldcoin’s activities and deliver its conclusions to the House.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, a pivotal figure in suspending Worldcoin’s operations, addressed the House committee, expressing the government’s apprehensions regarding Worldcoin’s activities involving registering citizens and collecting iris data. Kindiki emphasized that these actions pose significant security threats.

This parliamentary assessment follows approximately three weeks after the Kenyan authorities declared a suspension of Worldcoin’s operations. This suspension remains in effect until pertinent public agencies can confirm the complete absence of any potential risks to the general public.

Three weeks ago, Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya stopped as the project failed to adhere to government directives to cease its practice of scanning users’ irises and taking personal information. In addition to the order from the government, the police conducted a raid on a Worldcoin facility located in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where they reportedly confiscated both documents and equipment.

In addition to facing scrutiny from the parliamentary committee, the Worldcoin initiative encountered outright resistance from various regulatory bodies within Kenya.

The judiciary also intervened, suspending Worldcoin’s activities after a legal case initiated by the data commissioner’s office.

As a result of the court’s ruling, all data collected by Worldcoin between April of the previous year and August 2023 must be preserved until the lawsuit reaches its conclusion.

Investigations into Worldcoin initiated by Kenya and France, Germany, and the UK.

The introduction of Worldcoin, presented by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman in July, requires users to confirm their human identity through a hardware device called the “Orb.” This device facilitates iris scanning, forming the foundation of the digital ID-centered cryptocurrency project.

Amid both controversy and anticipation, Worldcoin unveiled its unique concept. It offers its native cryptocurrency, WLD coin, to incentivize users to undergo iris scanning. 

Impressively, the trial phase alone attracted nearly 2 million participants. The distribution of Orbs, available at almost 400 locations globally, has drawn the engagement of over 2,200,000 individuals, as per the information available on Worldcoin’s official website.

The rationale behind Worldcoin’s World IDs stems from their anticipated significance in an age dominated by artificial intelligence.

These IDs are envisaged to provide individuals with a means to establish their authenticity and humanity, thereby reducing the risk of being misidentified as automated entities or robots.

For completing the verification process, participants are rewarded with 25 WLD tokens, the project’s native cryptocurrency built on the Ethereum blockchain. 

However, as the project’s reach expanded to over a dozen countries, concerns arose regarding its tactics, triggering a series of controversial reports.

The legality of Worldcoin’s approach has given rise to significant skepticism, particularly regarding the protocols and safeguards for the secure storage of highly sensitive biometric data.

As a result, governmental bodies in various nations, including Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Germany, and Kenya, have launched investigations into the project’s operations.