On Wednesday, Kenya’s interior ministry made a significant announcement, suspending the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin until further notice. The decision came as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety, and the suspension will remain in effect until relevant agencies can thoroughly assess the project to ensure it is devoid of risk.
Prior to the suspension, Kenya boasted a large number of venues, approximately 18, where individuals could visit “Orb” stations to verify their World IDs using the company’s spherical and mirrored iris-scanners.
However, due to overwhelming demand, the Orb operators moved their stations to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) to accommodate the large number of people seeking verification.
Worldcoin: Privacy Concerns And Watchdog Scrutiny
Worldcoin, co-founded by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, has been facing extensive scrutiny from privacy watchdogs due to its unique approach. The project involves scanning human irises to provide individuals with a digital passport known as World IDs.
The company argues that these digital identities will play a crucial role in a future dominated by artificial intelligence, enabling humans to prove their authenticity and differentiate themselves from robots.
WLD trades at $2.4 on daily chart - TradingView.com
However, the legality of collecting such sensitive biometric data has raised concerns, particularly regarding the storage and handling of this information. Privacy advocates have been particularly vocal in their reservations about the data collection process, which only began nine days ago.
As a result, European regulators, including those from France, Germany, and the UK, have launched investigations into the controversial crypto project.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has emphasized that organizations must conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment before processing high-risk data.
Source: Karsten Moran for Fortune
Over 2 Million Sign-Ups Worldwide
Despite these ongoing investigations and concerns, Worldcoin’s iris-scanning orbs remain operational in several countries, including the UK, France, and Germany. Worldwide, there are 366 active orbs, with a total of 2,000 units ready for deployment.
Addressing the privacy concerns, Worldcoin’s website claims full compliance with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and transfer, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Worldcoin’s popularity has surged, largely due to the incentive offered to volunteers who sign up for the project. Individuals receive 25 WLD tokens in exchange for a picture of their irises, resulting in over 2,164,000 people from 120 different nationalities across 34 countries already having signed up.
Recently listed on major exchanges, the WLD token’s price fluctuated from $2.39 to a peak of $7.50. With one person getting verified every eight seconds, Worldcoin has ambitious plans to increase the number of orbs in major cities, expanding the capacity for sign-ups significantly in the coming months.
Featured image from Medium