Worldcoin faces setback in Kenya as operations halted

The Kenyan government declared that all Worldcoin activities will be suspended until public agencies ensure there are no risks to the general public


Rokas Tenys/iemrah/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Kenya has suspended Worldcoin operations in the country due to concerns about public safety and the integrity of financial transactions.

The country’s Interior Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, announced on Wednesday that all related activities would be suspended until relevant public agencies confirm there are no risks to the general public.

“It will be critical that assurances of public safety and the integrity of the financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens be satisfactorily provided upfront,” the politician said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Any individual or legal entity found involved in, supporting, aiding or abetting Worldcoin activity will face appropriate actions as deemed necessary, he added.

The Worldcoin Foundation told Blockworks that demand for its “proof of personhood” verification services in Kenya resulted in tens of thousands of individuals queuing for three days to obtain a World ID.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to mitigate crowd volume, verification services have been temporarily paused,” a spokesperson said.

“During the pause, the team will develop an onboarding program that encompasses more robust crowd control measures and work with local officials to increase understanding of the privacy measures and commitments Worldcoin implements, not only in Kenya, but everywhere,” they said.

Worldcoin, unveiled on July 24, requires users to provide iris scans to obtain a digital ID, also called “World ID.”

In some countries, users are offered a cryptocurrency reward as part of the initiative to establish “universal access to the global economy.”

The central feature of the project’s World ID is the use of a biometric marker, an iris scan, to distinguish humans from artificial intelligence (AI) bots. Individuals who register for this service in jurisdictions that allow it receive Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency token, WLD.

The primary objective of this digital identification system is to link your “World ID” to websites and applications, replacing conventional logins. This process verifies your real identity without the need to disclose personal information such as names and emails.

In the realm of AI development, a digital ID such as this could be crucial to differentiate humans from AI bots on the internet, according to Worldcoin. 

The project’s mission appears to be to protect individuals from AI misinformation and establish clarity in identifying trustworthy sources online.

Read More: Worldcoin is here — just not here in the US

UK, Germany and France probe Worldcoin over data handling

The Kenyan government’s decision follows investigations by other government agencies into the project. 

Arthur Cheong, founder of crypto investment firm DeFiance Capital, said that more countries are likely to follow suit soon. According to him, gathering sensitive eyeball biometric data by a single private company, not under the respective government’s jurisdiction, is deemed too critical and sensitive.

Loading Tweet..

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) revealed last week that it will be conducting inquiries regarding the project.

In a statement to Blockworks, the ICO clarified its action, emphasizing that organizations must have a valid and legal basis for processing personal data. A spokesperson highlighted that if they rely on consent, it must be given freely and withdrawable without any adverse effects.

Since Nov. 2022, a German data authority has been conducting an independent investigation into the project due to concerns about the extensive handling of sensitive biometric data. 

Furthermore, France’s privacy watchdog has also initiated its own investigation into the matter.

Updated Aug. 2, 2023 at 1:04 pm ET: Added comment from Worldcoin spokesperson.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit


The Boston Globe reports that lawyer John Deaton is weighing a possible bid


Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade will enable Uniswap v4 to optimize smart contracts for complex functionality