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Kenya bans ChatGPT founder’s ‘eye-scanning’ crypto project Worldcoin

Kenya bans ChatGPT founder's 'eye-scanning' crypto project Worldcoin

In a recent development, the Kenyan Ministry of the Interior has taken decisive action against the cryptocurrency, Worldcoin (WLD). On Wednesday, August 2, the ministry issued an official statement on their Facebook page announcing the suspension of Worldcoin’s operations within the country.

The move comes in response to mounting concerns over the cryptocurrency’s collection of citizens’ iris data, prompting the government to initiate investigations into various aspects, including economic implications, security risks, and data protection concerns. 

The government’s decision to suspend its operations indicates the seriousness with which it views the potential risks associated with the platform’s handling of sensitive personal information.

Notably, the primary concern raised by the Kenyan authorities centers on Worldcoin’s collection of iris data from its users. Iris data, being a unique biometric identifier, raises privacy and security issues when mishandled. The government aims to protect its citizens’ personal information from any unauthorized use or potential misuse.

Worldcoin launched last week

Last week marked the official launch of a groundbreaking project initiated by Sam Altman, CEO of artificial intelligence (AI) company OpenAI. This innovative initiative presents a unique proposition to its users, requiring them to submit their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID. 

The co-founder of the platform that developed the well-known chatbot ChatGPT, which has triggered a renewed interest in generative AI, had announced the release of the 10 billion tokens into circulation – 75% allocated to the Worldcoin community – earlier on July 24.

Furthermore, in select countries, users are offered an enticing incentive of free cryptocurrency as part of a larger vision to establish an entirely new “identity and financial network.

“Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities,” interior minister Kithure Kindiki stated.

As of Tuesday, local media outlets have reported an astounding surge in sign-ups for Worldcoin, with over 350,000 Kenyans eagerly registering for the platform. In exchange for participating, users are rewarded with free cryptocurrency tokens, amounting to approximately 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49.09).

Since its inception, Worldcoin has garnered significant attention worldwide, attracting individuals from various countries such as Kenya, Germany, Spain, and France. Enthusiastic users from these nations have been flocking to registration sites, eagerly awaiting their turn to experience the unique process of having their eyes scanned by a captivating and sleek spherical “orb.”

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