WORLDCOIN: The new cryptocurrency

{Photo courtesy of Techweez}


By Sophie Kinya.


A new fascination has risen in Kenyans with the launching of a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin. The digital currency initiative was introduced by Sam Altman the CEO of OpenAI earlier this week on July 24th.

Worldcoin is a project to create a digital network in which everyone can be able to participate and join the digital economy. A person’s iris pattern is scanned by Worldcoin employees using a tool called the “Orb,” which they use to collect biometric information and assist the user to obtain a World ID using the World app. This software allows scanned users to transact with their World ID when it is possible and even collect Worldcoin [WLD], at regular intervals. According to Sam Altman’s Twitter account, the development of eye-scanning technology is essential for a day when it will be harder to tell humans from robots due to the development of AI.

This project has been launched in over 30 countries worldwide among them being Kenya where 13 stations have been established. Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Mexico City, Dubai, Madrid, London, Paris and Lisbon are among the other cities.

Kenyans joined the almost 200 million users who have signed up so far worldwide.  Most of them have embraced this new development with open arms. This could be seen in the way they were queuing in supermarkets and malls around Nairobi city to have their irises scanned.

Their motivation is believed to be the token that they have been assured to receive after they complete the process. When someone signs up and is verified, they receive 26 WLD, which is equivalent to around 7000 Kenyan Shillings. In addition to that, Worldcoin is offering 1 WLD weekly in a program called Worldcoin grants.

The Worldcoin project may seem to have come as an answered prayer to some Kenyans especially light of the country’s declining economy and consequent lack of finances. However a section of Kenyans do not agree with the Worldcoin cryptocurrency. Here are some comments to what Kenyans had to say on Twitter;

“Anything to deal with giving away your data should be approached with caution. Data is the new oil and am not ready to sell it at 7k” MaxwelMogambi1.

“I am human,,why would I need to verify that,,kwani we got extra terrestrials” Fred Murithi.

“Hii ndio 666? Asking for my SDA brethren” Bayoz7.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) said in a statement on Friday that it was aware that Worldcoin has been introduced in the country and that it was handling sensitive personal data in a way that required a showing of appropriate protections in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 2019.

‘Kenyans are reminded to make sure they have the right information before submitting any personal or sensitive data,’ the statement continues, ‘as the ODPC evaluates Worldcoin’s operations to guarantee compliance with the law, people are urged to fully research how their data will be handled’.

To sign up, users must first download the Worldcoin app and create an account, after which they must visit a Worldcoin Orb station and scan their irises for identity verification. To withdraw your worldcoins to M-Pesa, first convert your crypto currency to dollars, then navigate to the dollars area of your wallet, and then click the withdraw option. After that, pick the option to withdraw to M-Pesa and enter the amount you want to withdraw in dollars. Finally, select an M-Pesa agent and complete the withdrawal process.

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