Kenyans Access Worldcoin Cryptocurrency Through Eye Scanning Technology For Sh7,000 Tokens


This week, news of a new cryptocurrency that awards free tokens for scanning eyeballs to verify one’s humanity has been circulating the internet, and Kenyans are taking notice. Worldcoin launched on Monday, July 24 and the app rewards users with WLD tokens after they verify humanness through the scanning of their eyeballs by machines placed in 35 countries, including Kenya.

The tokens can be transferred to an official crypto exchange, like Binance, and used to purchase other cryptocurrencies which can then be sold or liquidated. The first 25 free WLD tokens are worth around Sh7,786.

James Makau, a bodaboda driver from Ruaka, told Saturday Nation that he had earned Sh6,461 by scanning his iris after signing up. He then used his tokens to buy USDT, a different cryptocurrency, and sold it to get Kenyan shillings.

At least 13 Quickmart Outlets in Nairobi have been flooded with young people in their twenties or thirties, eager to scan their eyeballs to receive the free tokens provided by the new platform. These Quickmart Outlets are the places where the unique eye scanning machines, known as Orbs, are stationed in Kenya.

“I was here by 5am because there has been a lot of talk on TikTok and Instagram about the free money Worldcoin is giving all those who download their App and subscribe,” said Brian Mwangi, a resident of Kiambu. “When you hear someone is giving out ‘free’ money just so that you can join their App, you have nothing to lose.”

Co-founded by Sam Altman, CEO of text-based artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT’s developer OpenAI, Worldcoin wants to provide everyone with access to the global market by offering a verified digital ID, free crypto tokens and a cryptocurrency wallet. According to their whitepaper, the concept is to create a digital money that is inclusive and accessible to people around the world, regardless of socio-economic status.

Alex Blania, one of the founders, explained that artificial intelligence (AI), which has advanced rapidly, makes it difficult to determine whether an online activity is the work of humans or AI. This requires the use of the “proof of personhood”, which is accomplished by retinal scans. It verifies a user’s identity by scanning their iris to create personal, secure identification codes, referred to as “World ID”, which are stored on a decentralised chain.

“The goal is simple: A global financial and identity network based on proof of personhood,” said Altman on Twitter. “This feels especially important in the AI era. I’m hopeful Worldcoin can contribute to conversations about how we share access, benefits, and governance of future AI systems.”

But those who “verify” their identity with Worldcoin don’t really know what they’re getting into. “The journey will be challenging and the outcome is uncertain”, reads an Introduction Statement by Altman and Blania on their website.

The Office of Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) warned Kenyans yesterday against sharing their “sensitive personal data” before they receive proper information about how their data will be used.

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