Worldcoin says 635K Kenyans have downloaded crypto app

Worldcoin says 635K Kenyans have downloaded crypto app

A video screengrab of a Kenyan getting their eye scanned to register for Worldcoin at the KICC grounds on Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

Over 635,000 Kenyans have downloaded the Worldcoin app, officials from the cryptocurrency project told Parliament on Wednesday.

Executives from Tools For Humanity (TFH), the Germany-based global hardware and software company that led the initial development of the Worldcoin protocol, appeared before the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee to be grilled on the suspended crypto project’s operations.

TFH’s Head of Government Relations and Public Policy Sam Sadle told the House that a total of 635,000 Kenyans were among the nearly 3 million people globally who have downloaded the app.

Sadle said of these, 345,000 people had not yet had their irises scanned with the Worldcoin Orb to verify their identity following the suspension of the project’s activities in the country on August 2.

“We have been receiving endless comments from Kenyans who want to know when we are coming back and we hope we will find a way of working with you all and the government to find a solution and bring it back to Kenyans,” he said.

The crypto project was suspended in Kenya on August 2 over data security concerns.

It had been rolled out globally on June 24 and despite its ambitions of a decentralised global currency, the project was met with privacy concerns and questions about the security of the biodata the company was collecting from Kenyans.

This was heightened by the fact that new members were getting 25 free cryptocurrency tokens after the verification process, valued at Ksh.8,256 at the time.

On Wednesday, TFH’s Chief Legal Officer Thomas Scott said they piloted the project in Kenya, Chile and Portugal countries for three years ahead of their launch in June.

Asked why they chose Kenya, Scott cited the country’s level of tech adoption.

“The level of tech adoption, talent, political stability and integrity here, we thought that this was a place alongside Chile and Portugal where the ideas alongside the technology could be tested to be improved,” he said.

“We hoped to find people who would adopt and champion it.”

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Kamau Thugge, appearing before the committee on Tuesday, submitted that CBK did not take part in licensing or clearing the proprietors of Worldcoin.

Njoroge also disclosed that the lender had no knowledge of Worldcoin’s activities in the country.

But Worldcoin on Wednesday maintained they have been in touch with the Office of the Data Commissioner since April 19, 2022, where it was registered as a data controller and not a limited company.

The company says on its website it has recorded 2,279,884 sign-ups and verifications across 34 countries.

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Citizen TV Citizen Digital Sam Altman Worldcoin Alex Blania Sam Sadle

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