WorldCoin co-founder and CEO Alex Blania appeared before the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee investigating the operations of the company in Kenya amid health risks Kenyans were exposed to.
In the meeting that was held on Wednesday Blania refuted allegations that their Orbs, used to scan people’s iris caused health complications.
He noted that all safety procedures were followed during the making and certification of the technology.
“That is not possible. World Coin is produced in Germany- one of the strictest certification agencies in the World. All the certifications are listed in the document. The Orb cannot cause any health issues,” he stated.
Kenyans registering for WorldCoin in Nairobi in March 2023.
On the other hand, indicated that the company chose to establish its operations in Kenya owing to the country’s strategic positioning in the ICT industry.
He revealed that he visited the country two years ago to establish whether Kenya was the best place to set up the operations noting that he was impressed with the progress made by Kenya.
“I personally travelled to Kenya and I met with entrepreneurs to get the actual feel of the environment – Silicon Savannah. Kenya is the technology leader of Africa hence the decision to be here.
“Kenya has already made progress in mobile money technology as compared to other countries,” he stated.
During the grilling, Blania was accompanied by the company’s lawyer Thomas Scott and other officials mandated with the operations of the technology.
Regarding the need to scan Kenyan iris, the WorldCoin team stated that all images and data of iris were automatically deleted after registration.
Blania’s team indicated that the scanning of was iris was necessary as it was best to distinguish individuals.
The company noted that part of the data collected was stored in the blockchains in South Africa and Italy.
“We do not seek to harvest data and monetise it. The agenda is to protect privacy. Our goal is not to create an environment that identifies the user
“Images of a person’s iris are immediately deleted from the orb device. It is the nature of the AI models that we need data to train the model to distinguish people,” Scott stated.
The Ad Hoc committee is investigating whether there were any unlawful operations of the company which has been accused of mining data from Kenyas.
Kenyans who registered for the service received an estimated token of Ksh7,000.
As per the company, over 635,000 Kenyans registered for the technology. However, slightly over 300,000 Kenyans were verified. 335,000 Kenyans are yet to be verified. 5 million bitcoins have been disbursed to Kenyans.
Blania cofounded WorldCoin alongside billionaire Sam Altman who serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OpenAI which is behind language chatbot, ChatGPT.
A photo collage of billionaire Sam Altman making an address in the US on September 2022 (left) and WorldCoin orbs placed outside a supermarket (right).
Business Insider / WorldCoin