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Kenya panel urges shutdown of Worldcoin’s crypto project within country

A Kenyan parliamentary panel called on the country’s information technology regulator to shut down the operations of cryptocurrency project Worldcoin within the country until more stringent regulations are put in place.

The government suspended the project in early August following privacy objections over its scanning of users’ irises in exchange for a digital ID to create a new “identity and financial network”.

Worldcoin was rolled out in various countries around the world by Tools for Humanity, a company co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. It has also come under scrutiny in Britain, Germany and France.

The project still has a virtual presence in Kenya and can be accessed via the Internet, even after the August suspension.

The regulatory Communications Authority of Kenya should “disable the virtual platforms of Tools for Humanity Corp and Tools for Humanity GmbH Germany (Worldcoin) including blacklisting the IP addresses of related websites,” the ad hoc panel of 18 lawmakers said in a report.

It also called for the suspension of the companies’ “physical presence in Kenya until there is a legal framework for the regulation of virtual assets and virtual services providers.”

Worldcoin’s press office said it had “not seen anything official announced by the Committee directly.”

The panel’s report will be tabled at the National Assembly for consideration and adoption at a later date.

During the suspension of data collection in August, authorities said the project’s method of obtaining consumer consent in return for a monetary award of just over $50 at the time bordered on inducement.

READ:  Worldcoin to resume Kenya operations after police drop investigation

Registering to use the platform involved long lines of people queuing to get their irises scanned. The parliamentary panel’s investigation found that Worldcoin may have scanned the eyes of minors as there was no age-verification mechanism during the exercise, its report said.

The panel also asked government ministries to develop regulations for crypto assets and firms that provide crypto services and called on the police to investigate Tools for Humanity and take any necessary legal action.