Kenyans love get-rich-quick schemes

The greed for easy money will be the end of us

In Summary

• Kenyans flooded the streets for Worldcoin until government had to shut them down

I don’t know anything about Worldcoin, and I don’t want to know anything about it. As soon as I saw the story trending and pictures of hundreds of Kenyans lining up in the streets of Nairobi to sign up for it, I already knew nothing good was going to come out of it. We have been conned so much and have been exposed to the greatest swindlers of all time, yet we still keep giving money to these ‘investors’, hoping to someday hit it big.

You know what they say about hope, it is the enemy of hard work. Hope is what clouds our judgement. Hope is what gives us the courage to finance con artists who sell us rosy get-rich-quick schemes. Hope from desperate poor people to become rich is the reason why there will always be con artists in the world.

These little Ponzi wannabes learnt from the greatest swindler of all time. Charles Ponzi was the greatest scammer of all time, so much so that centuries later, we still refer to schemes of similar nature as Ponzi schemes. These types of scams are usually investments into a business run by an operator who promises almost double returns on the investment with little or no risk. Meanwhile, the scammer uses new investors to pay back the original investors, which is why there will always be people who swear by that scheme.

The success of Bitcoin made humans very eager to invest in e-commerce. Internet-based stocks and investments are all the rage right now. The sudden success of Bitcoin was sheer luck. Most importantly, it was a one-off thing. The company will never experience the same high results it did before becoming a global phenomenon. The initial investors cashed out and ran.

Curiously, as I embarked on this article, I decided to research what Worldcoin is. Unfortunately after a thorough perusal of their website, I still don't know what it is. Here is what the website says:

"Worldcoin aims to establish universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background. It is designed to become the world's largest human identity and financial network, giving ownership to everyone. All with the intention of welcoming every person on the planet and establishing a place for all of us to benefit in the age of AI."

I have an advanced degree in journalism and great interest in analysing literature, and I still don't understand what that paragraph means. It's a lot of nothing about something that tries to sell us everything. If you break the paragraph apart, you realise they haven't told us what it is they actually do.

Alas! They still got Kenyans to flood the streets so much so that the government had to shut them down. Everybody wanted a piece of the free pie. I bet the hype started with a rumour about how one can get rich or 'free money'.

I don’t watch Andrew Kibe and I’m not a fan of most things he says, but his last show addressing the topic of Worldcoin made me realise we have one thing in common: we are both very critical of get-rich-easy schemes. Kibe ridiculed the people for being such easy targets of these scams and told them they ran into the scheme with their eyes open, so if they get scammed, they probably deserve it. He also chastised Kenyans for crying about the difficult economic situation, yet they have money to invest in get-rich-quick schemes.

Kibe and I are of similar mind when we ask Kenyans this: If these opportunities cost you a tonne of money, then why can’t you use that money to better yourself in the first place?

Money grows through profit. Profit is made when you put your money to work. Work being the key word.

As Kibe said on his show, “If you hear of an easy money scheme towards the left, then run to the opposite side!”

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