Thursday, July 25, 2024

A special Kenyan parliamentary committee, responsible for scrutinizing the operations of Worldcoin in Kenya, has officially reprimanded a key government official for providing conflicting information about the cryptocurrency project’s licensure status. The committee also declared that Worldcoin’s “Orbs” devices did not receive the necessary approval from the Communications Authority of Kenya, thereby violating local laws.

Worldcoin’s Questionable Operation Without Proper Licensing

The investigative committee from the Kenyan Parliament, led by Chairman Gabriel Tongoyo, recently admonished Eliud Owalo, the Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and Technology, for his inconsistent comments regarding the licensing status of Worldcoin. Owalo’s statements, dated September 11, suggest the likelihood that Worldcoin has been operating without the obligatory licensing for slightly more than a year. News previously reported that Owalo was understood to have initially endorsed the cryptocurrency venture. However, the Cabinet Secretary seemed to reverse his stance, later accusing Worldcoin of failing to meet the conditions of its licensing agreement. Consequently, a specialized committee was constituted by the Kenyan parliament to ascertain the factual status of Worldcoin’s licensing, among other matters.

According to an article published in The Nation, the committee’s findings indicate that Owalo’s testimony casts doubt on the legitimacy of Worldcoin’s licensing claims.

The committee’s report stated, “In his testimony, Cabinet Secretary Owalo acknowledged that Worldcoin began data collection activities in public spaces on May 31, 2021, and only sought registration as data controllers in Kenya on August 22, 2022. This is a full year after initiating their operations in the country, contravening the Data Protection Act of 2019.”

Nevertheless, the committee observed that Owalo has refuted claims of previously asserting that Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya were in full compliance with regulatory requirements.

Lack of Authorization for “Orbs”

Alongside issues related to licensing, the parliamentary committee also discovered that Worldcoin’s retina-scanning devices, known as “Orbs,” were not sanctioned by the Communications Authority of Kenya. The committee additionally contended that Worldcoin’s transfer and storage of user data on Amazon Web Services servers located in South Africa infringed upon Section 48 of the Data Protection Act.

Legal Status of Worldcoin’s Affiliated Companies

With respect to the license status of Tools for Humanity Corp and Tools for Humanity Gmbh Germany, companies associated with the Worldcoin project, the committee noted, “Neither of the two companies are listed in the Business Registration Service database of registered businesses or corporations in Kenya. This implies they lack the legal authority to conduct any form of business within the jurisdiction of Kenya, as stipulated by the Companies Act of 2015.”

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cryptocurrency Regulation

What is the key issue discussed in this text?

The primary focus of this text is the investigation by the Kenyan Parliament into Worldcoin’s licensing status and the inconsistent statements made by Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo.

Why was Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo reprimanded by the parliamentary committee?

Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo faced reprimand due to his contradictory statements regarding Worldcoin’s licensing status, which raised questions about the cryptocurrency project’s compliance with regulatory requirements.

What were the findings regarding Worldcoin’s licensing?

The parliamentary committee found that Worldcoin may have operated without the necessary license for over a year, as it started data collection activities before applying for registration as data controllers, which was in violation of the Data Protection Act of 2019.

What issues were raised concerning Worldcoin’s “Orbs” devices?

The committee discovered that Worldcoin’s retina-scanning devices, known as “Orbs,” lacked approval from the Communications Authority of Kenya, potentially putting them in violation of local regulations.

What was the status of the affiliated companies of the Worldcoin project?

The affiliated companies, Tools for Humanity Corp and Tools for Humanity Gmbh Germany, were found to be absent from the Business Registration Service database in Kenya, indicating that they lacked the legal authority to conduct business activities within the country as per the Companies Act of 2015.

More about Cryptocurrency Regulation

  • [ News](insert link)
  • [The Nation](insert link)
  • [Data Protection Act of 2019](insert link)
  • [Companies Act of 2015](insert link)
  • [Communications Authority of Kenya](insert link)


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1 comment

TechieTalks October 4, 2023 - 12:02 am

“Orbs” not approved? That’s a big red flag for tech compliance. Kenya’s Data Protection Act should be taken seriously.


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