The Worldcoin cryptocurrency project is embroiled in a fresh controversy as reports emerge of health issues among Kenyan participants who underwent iris scans for registration. Additionally, some participants allege they were deceived, receiving Ksh.2,000 instead of the promised Ksh.7,000 when signing up as new Worldcoin users.
During his testimony before the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee investigating the Worldcoin matter, Marube Mogusu, one of the witnesses, claimed that he developed eye problems after the iris scan, requiring medical attention. “After the scan, my eyes started becoming watery. I have been wearing prescription glasses ever since. I can’t determine if it’s a coincidence or related to the Worldcoin scan,” he informed the committee.
Another witness, Bernard Ayoo, admitted to being motivated by financial gain but asserted that he was deceived. Users had been assured $70 (approximately Ksh.7,000) but ultimately received only Ksh.2,000. Ayoo recounted, “They came to our school to register us. They used iris scans to confirm our identity as humans. After verification, they promised 25 World coins, equivalent to 70 USD. However, I received only Ksh.2,000 via M-Pesa.”
Bogita Minyega, a student, informed the committee that there was no written consent between the cryptocurrency firm and the users regarding the iris scans and the collection of private data. He stated, “They told me about the scan and mentioned a grant. I was hesitant, but as soon as they mentioned money, I agreed.”
Moreover, Minyega pointed out that some of those who signed up for Worldcoin faced social stigma, especially from peers who did not undergo the iris scan.
Central Bank of Kenya Governor Kamau Thugge, who also appeared before the committee, clarified that the CBK was not involved in licensing or approving the Worldcoin proprietors. He added that the CBK had no knowledge of Worldcoin’s activities in the country.
The seventeen-member committee is investigating the connection between cryptocurrency trading in Kenya and Worldcoin’s recent activities, with a focus on the source of the funds distributed to Kenyan participants before the iris scans were conducted.