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Worldcoin Registration Raises Data Privacy and Security Concerns in Kenya

Over 350,000 Kenyans have eagerly signed up for Worldcoin. The new cryptocurrency introduced by American Artificial Intelligence company OpenAI, launched just last week.

Kenyans flocked KICC in large numbers for worldcoin registration.
Kenyans flocked KICC in large numbers for worldcoin registration. Source: Daily Nation

Worldcoin offers a unique registration process involving the scanning of one’s eyeballs. This is done through an orb to obtain a digital identity known as World ID.

The registration process has sparked a frenzy across the country. Thousands of Kenyans have flocked shopping malls and other outlets where the registration is taking place. Wangeci Mwangi, a consultant with Worldcoin, confirmed that as of Tuesday, 350,000 Kenyans had already undergone the eyeball scanning process.

Participants in the registration receive an enticing offer of 25 free cryptocurrency tokens. These tokens are referred to as WLD. The tokens are currently valued at a substantial Ksh.7,786.

An actual worldcoin registration process underway at KICC.
An actual worldcoin registration process underway at KICC. Source: Daily Nation

However, the demand for registration has not been without challenges. The Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC), faced long queues that stretched all the way to City Hall. This was the initial venue for the registration.

The overwhelming crowds prompted the intervention of local police, who halted the exercise due to security concerns. Officers advised the Worldcoin team to seek larger venues such as the Nyayo or Kasarani stadiums.

Despite the intensity surrounding Worldcoin, the project has come under scrutiny from the Office of Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC). The commission has urged caution among Kenyan citizens. Mainly due to data privacy concerns.

Sam Altman, OpenAI's CEO. OpenAI is worldcoin's parent organization
Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO. OpenAI is worldcoin’s parent organization

Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait, stated that Worldcoin must comply with the Data Protection Act, 2019. Seeing as worldcoin is handling sensitive personal data, the commission is currently assessing the project’s practices.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has defended the project’s privacy measures. The company’s website asserts that the cryptocurrency venture is “completely private,” offering options for data deletion or encrypted storage for users.

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The Worldcoin Cryptocurrency Craze

Despite the reassurances, the ongoing enthusiasm for Worldcoin has led to clashes with law enforcement. Following the suspension of the registration exercise at KICC, police asked the participants to vacate the venue. The Worldcoin team is now working to find an alternative location for their practices.

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As the registration storm continues, some Kenyans remain reluctant to leave the KICC venue. While Kenyans eagerly await further developments, the future of Worldcoin in the African nation hangs in the balance.


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