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The Truth: Exploring Kenya’s Decision to Suspend Worldcoin Operations

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Over the last few days there has been a lot of noise about Kenya’s decision to suspend its operations of newly launched Worldcoin, a new cryptocurrency that uses a unique method of identification to reduce the risk of fraud. The cryptocurrency aims to distinguish between a human and AI bot, by scanning the eyes with the use of an orb device.

The cryptocurrency platform, combines AI technology with cryptocurrencies and blockchain in an open source protocol to give anyone access to a global economy.


According to Worldcoin whitepaper, World ID is a privacy preserving proof of personhood. It enables users to verify their humanness online while maintaining their privacy through zero-knowledge proofs, via a custom biometric device called the Orb.

World ID aspires to be personbound, meaning a World ID should only be used by the individual it was issued to. It should be very difficult to use by a fraudulent actor who stole or acquired World ID credentials. Further, it should always be possible for an individual to regain possession of a lost or stolen World ID.

The project which officially launched in 2021, has now surpassed the 2 million user mark with active users in 120 countries. Verification through the orb is active in 34 countries, however, there have been rising concerns that it may be a data security risk.

Some of the countries with pop-up locations for registration include; Portugal, Spain, Singapore, Japan, and U.S.A.

According to Reuters, Kenya’s interior minister Kithure Kindiki announced in a statement that, “Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities.”

The Citizen Digital reported that the Cabinet Secretary for ICT and Digital Economy, Eliud Owlao said that Worldcoin, is operating legally in Kenya.  Within day’s of its launch Kenyans flocked to shopping malls and other outlets to begin with the registration process. After 1 week, 350,000 Kenyans registered for Worldcoin.

Alex Blania from Worldcoin recently tweeted that TFH has temporarily paused World ID verifications in Kenya while they continue to work with local regulators to address their questions. He also apologised to Kenyans for the delay and emphasised that World ID is primarily built for privacy.

Taking this into consideration, the Kenyan government and Office of Data Commissioner is equally concerned about the well fare of its citizens and the possibility of Kenyans being exploited. In an interview on am live NTV, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy, Eliud O. Owalo stated; “It is a cause of concern for us and we are addressing it as a whole government approach.”

The Authority and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) also released a joint statement on 2 August, raised a number of regulatory issues with Worldcoin, warning Kenyans over the activities of crypto platform.

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