Worldcoin cryptocurrency suspended in Kenya amid data risk investigations

Kenya announced on Wednesday that it is suspending cryptocurrency Worldcoin, which has an iris recognition-based verification system, pending the results of an investigation into “security and data protection” collected by firm.

Started at the end of June in Germany by the boss of OpenAI, Sam Altman, the Worldcoin system is also the subject of investigation by European regulators, especially in France and Germany.

Worldcoin is intended to be a kind of blockchain-based digital passport, allowing users to prove their identity online without sharing personal data. To obtain this sesame, the user must undergo an iris scan using a “sphere”, a biometric device made by Worldcoin.

On Wednesday, Kenya’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement that it “immediately suspends Worldcoin operations until the relevant government authorities confirm that there is no risk to the public”.

The cryptocurrency is enjoying some success in the East African country, which has been particularly affected by persistent inflation. In the capital Nairobi on Tuesday, thousands of people lined up at major shopping malls and convention centers to have their iris scanned before receiving the equivalent of 7,000 shillings (€45) in virtual currency, a AFP journalist commented. Many people then immediately resold their “token”.

“Concerned about (Worldcoin) activities related to the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data,” the government said it has opened investigations “to establish the accuracy of authenticity and legitimacy of operations, security and protection of data”. collected and how the collector intends to use the data”.

Contacted by Sources Worldcoin has yet to respond to the suspension.

In the view of some European regulators, the cryptocurrency is not yet available in the United States, where authorities are trying to better regulate the sector.

Worldcoin reportedly spent three years establishing this program, and three million people signed up during the beta period to receive a digital passport called “World ID”.

In April, BuzzFeed reported on the anger of some of them, who felt trapped by the company’s promises after agreeing to have their iris scanned.

When asked by the news channels, Worldcoin co-founder Alex Blania admitted that communication could be “better in some cases”.

About 1,500 “orbs” will be deployed around the world to allow millions more users to sign up, according to the Worldcoin website.

The token’s value, which was originally $1.70, rose to $3.56, before falling to $2.38, reported by CoincapMarket.

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