Kenyan authorities continued to scrutinize controversial project Worldcoin by grilling CEO Alex Blania on Wednesday.
At a parliamentary ad hoc meeting, lawmakers voiced privacy concerns surrounding Worldcoin.
One lawmaker said that the project’s arrival to Kenya “looks like a gang of criminals who are coming to harvest data from young people.”
Worldcoin is a cryptocurrency project launched by Silicon Valley bigwig OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. It aims to create a network of users that have verified that they are humans—and not bots or AI algorithms.
To sign up, users get their eyeballs scanned by orbs. But privacy advocates and lawmakers around the world have raised concerns about whether the biometric data that the company is collecting is secure.
And in Europe German data watchdog the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision and France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty are also examining the legality of Worldcoin.
But Worldcoin and its backer Tools for Humanity insist the project is privacy-protecting.
At yesterday’s meeting, Blania told lawmakers that “Worldcoin is designed to be privacy-preserving” as “an inherent design of the protocol.”
The Tools for Humanity’s chief legal officer Thomas Scott told the committee that Worldcoin was not mining data from Kenyans for malicious activity. “Just like Facebook, just like Uber, we are available in Kenya but we are not doing business here,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Argentina, Worldcoin is breaking records: the project said Thursday that in August, demand for World ID in the country drove a new single day record for Orb verifications when 9,500 people signed up.
“I think the first major thing that stands out is that Argentina specifically is one of the most crypto-forward countries in the world,” Blania said in the announcement.