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Data Protection Commissioner warns Kenyans of Worldcoin

Kenya’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has sounded the alarm over Worldcoin and its ongoing operations in the country.

“The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) calls for increased vigilance from the public as it continues to engage with Worldcoin, an entity processing activities of iris data through an Orb, to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, 2019,” a statement from the office reads.

Worldcoin, “a new identity and financial network owned by everyone”, has been making the waves in Kenya over the last few days with crowds being reported in many areas in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, registering for the service for which little is known about locally.

“Worldcoin consists of a privacy-preserving digital identity (World ID) and, where laws allow, a digital currency received for simply being human,” Worldcoin says of itself in a statement dated 24th July that it released as it announced its rollout around the world.

“You can now download the World App, the first protocol-compatible wallet, and reserve your share. After visiting an Orb, a biometric verification device, you will receive a World ID. This lets you prove that you are a real and unique person online while remaining completely private.”

Worldcoin is really a crypto project that looks to create a global digital identity and financial network “for everyone”.

Those who have their irises scanned using the project’s device, called an orb (pictured above), to create the so-called World IDs are gifted Worldcoin tokens (WLD). Worldcoin reportedly has 13 stations set up in Kenya where Kenyans have been lining up to have their irises scanned. The tokens can be used in the aforementioned World App to make purchases, payments as well as be transferred to other parties. They can also be cashed out using crypto exchanges such as Binance, where Worldcoin is listed and can be traded.

Worldcoin was founded in 2020 by, among others, Sam Altman, the former head of startup incubator Y-Combinator who is today famously known for being the CEO of AI runaway success OpenAI, the maker of popular conversational AI platform ChatGPT.

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