The cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, developed by the American artificial intelligence company OpenAI, is reportedly poised to resume operations in Kenya following discussions with the government.
On August 2, the government suspended the cryptocurrency project due to data security concerns.
Now, Citizen TV reports that reliable sources within government circles said an agreement has been reached, permitting the American-based firm to resume operations under new guidelines.
“Operations are set to resume in early 2024,” the media outlet quoted the unnamed source.
“Worldcoin is working directly with regulators to meet Kenya’s requirements, particularly as the Assembly considers new regulations. Stipends will remain and will expand to locations across the country.”
CEO Defends Worldcoin Activities in Kenya
When he appeared before the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee of Inquiry into the firm’s activities in the country, Worldcoin CEO Alex Blania said their primary focus was on verifying individuals’ humanity and uniquely categorizing them.
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.