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Kenya leads global interest in Worldcoin despite ban


Global interest in Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency token linked to Sam Altman’s innovative digital ID project, has surged in the past few days. 

According to CoinJournal research which examined Google Trends data, Kenya emerged as the epicentre of enthusiasm. The data indicates a remarkable level of interest from Kenyan users, far surpassing that of other countries.

Kenya leads the pack with a Google Trends score of 100, showcasing a fervent curiosity and engagement with Worldcoin and its associated initiatives. Portugal follows closely behind at 93, reflecting significant interest as well, while Argentina, Chile, and Spain round out the top five with varying degrees of engagement.

“As the crypto market continues to evolve and innovate, initiatives like Worldcoin stand at the forefront of technological advancement, offering novel solutions to complex challenges.’’ Phil Hoey, the director of CoinJournal, said.

‘’With Kenya emerging as a hotspot of interest, the global crypto community eagerly anticipates the future developments and impact of projects like Worldcoin in shaping the digital landscape.”

Worldcoin’s ambitious project, spearheaded by Sam Altman and closely tied to OpenAI’s developments, aims to revolutionise identity verification using cutting-edge technology. By leveraging iris scanning technology and blockchain, Worldcoin seeks to provide individuals with unique digital identities, tackling pressing issues surrounding online identity verification.

The token was however suspended in Kenya in August last year after the government raised safety and data protection concerns. While announcing the suspension, the country’s Interior Cabinet Secretay Kithure Kindiki said authorities were concerned by the project and have launched investigations to ascertain the safety and protection of the data being harvested and how the harvesters intend to use the data. 

Worldcoin however responded by saying it remains committed to providing an inclusive, privacy-preserving, decentralized on-ramp to the global digital economy and looks forward to resuming its services in Kenya while working closely with local regulators and other stakeholders.

The project which was co-founded by Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI and Alex Blanca in July 2023 and saw users flock to its orbs across different parts of the country to be issued with the tokens worth about $45. However, users are only issued with the tokens once they approve that they’re actually humans and not robots by getting their eye’s unique iris pattern scanned.

Worldcoin has however revealed that it will be resuming its Kenya operations early this year. Reports indicate that the company has reached an agreement with Kenyan authorities which allows it to resume operations under new guidelines.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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