Worldcoin allowed to resume operations in Kenya after year-long probe

Worldcoin, the crypto startup co-founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, has been authorised to resume its iris-scanning operations in Kenya after a year-long government probe

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Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency startup co-founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, has been permitted to resume its iris-scanning operations in Kenya after a year-long investigation into privacy and regulatory concerns was concluded. The Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officially closed its probe, citing no further police action as necessary. However, Worldcoin must now register its business in Kenya, secure requisite licences, and vet its vendors to maintain operations.

Worldcoin’s activities had been suspended nearly a year ago due to compliance issues with Kenyan security, financial services, and data protection laws. A parliamentary committee recommended shutting down the company altogether, citing violations of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, and labelling its activities as potential espionage. It was also found that Worldcoin and its parent entity, Tools for Humanity, were unregistered in Kenya, and had not received approval to use the Orbs, considered telecommunications equipment.

Thomas Scott, Chief Legal Officer of Tools for Humanity, expressed gratitude for the fair investigation and said this is merely a new beginning. He highlighted the company’s commitment to working with Kenyan authorities to advance Worldcoin’s mission and create economic opportunities. While Worldcoin has resolved its immediate regulatory hurdles in Kenya, it continues to face significant scrutiny in other countries, including ongoing investigations in Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

The situation has highlighted challenges in regulating new technologies, particularly around privacy and compliance. In response, Kenya is developing a regulatory framework for virtual assets, aiming to provide clearer guidelines for crypto startups like Worldcoin. The outcome could pave the way for more structured compliance pathways amid the rapid advancements in digital finance and identity systems.