Kithure Kindiki freezes WorldCoin as Capital Markets Authority issues fraud alert


A woman is helped scan her iris to create identification codes as part of the requirement while registering as a member of the new Worldcoin cryptocurrency at KICC Nairobi on August 1, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

The government has suspended activities of the cryptocurrency project WorldCoin pending the conclusion of inquiries aimed at establishing the safety of the data being harvested.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, in a statement Wednesday, said the move will remain in effect until assurances of the safety and integrity of financial deals are provided.

“The government has suspended forthwith activities of World Coin and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until relevant public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever,” reads the statement.

“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.”

At the same time, The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has warned of the emergence of potential fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrencies in the backdrop of the fallout from the rollout of Worldcoin- a crypto project handing out free tokens to Kenyans.

The markets regulator says Worldcoin is not regulated in Kenya and that related products including the free crypto-tokens and their derivatives are not investment products within the scope of the Capital Markets Ac

The suspension comes just days after the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) issued an advisory against the project, urging Kenyans to heighten their vigilance and ensure that they receive proper information before disclosing any or sensitive data.

Worldcoin is a new project by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman where users are required to provide their iris scans in exchange for digital identification and free cryptocurrency called Worldcoin token.

On Tuesday, long queues were seen leading to the Kenyatta International Conference Center where eye-scanning was taking place, prompting the police to stop the registration citing security concerns.

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