The new cryptocurrency and digital identity project, Worldcoin, is facing a rough start in Kenya, with the government halting all local activity associated with it.
Kenya’s minister of internal security took to Facebook on Aug. 2 to announce that the country has suspended the activities of Worldcoin until relevant public agencies had certified the absence of risks to Kenyans.
“Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities,” Minister Kithure Kindiki said in a statement.
The minister stressed that the government of Kenya is specifically concerned with Worldcoin collecting crucial identification information like iris scans in exchange for a digital ID.
“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 statement said.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Worldcoin project was officially launched on July 24, 2023, after three years of development. The project was co-founded by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI — the firm behind the popular artificial intelligence (AI)-based chatbot ChatGPT.
Worldcoin’s mission builds on expectations that it will become too difficult to differentiate between humans and online bots as AI technology grows. To differentiate humans from AI, the startup created a digital ID system based on proof-of-personhood. Such a digital ID is generated by scanning an individual’s iris and giving them a World ID.