Why we are not Registered in Kenya, Worldcoin CEO Explains

September 7, 2023
From left to right: Sam Sadle, Head of Policy, Tools for Humanity; Alex Blania, CEO of Tools for Humanity; and Thomas Scott, Chief Legal Officer.

Worldcoin Chief Executive Officer Alex Blania has admitted that the contentious cryptocurrency firm is not duly registered in Kenya.

Appearing before the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee of Inquiry into the firm’s activities in the country, Alex Blania was at pains to explain Worldcoin’s real intentions in Kenya, especially since they lack the necessary licensing to operate from the Data Commissioner’s office.

The Founder of Truth for Humanity, a Worldcoin subsidiary, also told the committee that Worldcoin’s primary focus is on verifying individuals’ humanity and categorizing them in a unique manner. Mr Blania also insisted that his company is not involved in data mining or the subsequent sale of data.

“Yes, it is true that we are not registered in Kenya because the website of the data protection is not clear on data controlling companies and yes we can confirm that we are not seeking to harvest data from Kenyans. We are building something to protect privacy,” the committee heard on Wednesday, September 6.

Blania at the same time refuted allegations that Worldcoin coerced Kenyans into undergoing iris scans by promising them a payment of Sh7,500. He described this amount as an incentive or token, similar to what other companies like PayPal might provide.

“For example, Safaricom gives their clients Sh50 worth of airtime when they buy their lines. Does this mean that they are being coerced? No. And actually it was 25 free cryptocurrency tokens per person whose iris were scanned and not 70 as reported,” he explained.

According to Worldcoin, their mobile application is designed to be user-friendly and includes step-by-step instructions to guide users, including obtaining their consent for usage.

The company also explained its decision to set up shop in Kenya, citing the country’s high level of technology adoption compared to other East African nations.

The Worldcoin CEO defended their activities and mentioned that they have partnered with several institutions and organizations in Kenya, including Strathmore University. He revealed that the institution has been conducting iris scans in Kenya since 2021.

“The Worldcoin project rolled out globally on June 24 and so far we are in 17 countries including; Uganda, Germany, Spain Portugal, Brazil, India, Chile and the US. Our application is available currently in 168 countries,” the committee heard.

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