Why KYC and AML Exist
If you’ve ever used a digital currency exchange or purchased an NFT, it’s likely that you will have had to perform a know-your-customer (KYC) check to verify your identity. KYC checks are a key part of the worldwide financial system’s infrastructure and enable digital currency enterprises to remain compliant with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. These requirements are critical in preventing cryptocurrency from being used for crimes such as human trafficking, money laundering, and terrorist financing.
Nonetheless, numerous digital currency advocates believe that centralized entities having oversight of cryptocurrency transactions goes against the founding principles of the space. Regardless of this, KYC and AML policies are not going away any time soon, and digital currency exchanges are no exception.
Understanding KYC and AML
Know-your-customer (KYC) procedures intend to prevent fraudulent account creation and use by confirming a customer’s identity. It involves multiple steps to comprehend the nature of customers’ activities, verify the legitimacy of their funds, and assess associated money laundering risks.
KYC policies were first introduced in the United States in the 1990s to combat money laundering. They can range from basic information like name and email address to more detailed requirements such as address and photo identification. The goal is to protect consumers from identity theft, money laundering, and fraud.
Anti-money laundering (AML) policies have been around since the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. These policies deter criminals from using banks or exchanges for money or digital currency laundering. They require enterprises to keep records and file reports that help identify and prosecute money laundering by criminal organizations, terrorists, and tax evaders.
Did you know?
Know-your-customer policies in the United States became mandatory under the USA Patriot Act of 2001. By October 2002, the Secretary of the Treasury finalized regulations making KYC compulsory for all United States banks.
KYC and Cryptocurrency
Digital currency exchanges like Coinbase, Binance. United States, Gemini, and Kraken, although not fully regulated yet, use identity verification to comply with KYC regulations. These exchanges require customers to verify their identity by supplying basic information like name, email address, and date of birth. To access full functionality, customers must provide additional information such as government- announced identification and a face scan.
Although while KYC and AML intend to protect consumers and the financial system, privacy and cryptocurrency advocates see these policies as an invasion of privacy that can attract cybercriminals and identity thieves. There are likewise concerns when bankrupt cryptocurrency companies’ documents become public, potentially revealing users’ identities and transactions.
KYC and Web3
The threat of doxxing is a genuine concern for numerous individuals who value their privacy. Several propose a newer version of KYC built around reputation and limited identity verification processes that align with Web 3.0 principles.
Corporations like Civic offer online identity solutions for Web 3.0, including uniqueness verification through Civic Pass and managing online identity, NFTs, wallet addresses, and reputation on the blockchain through Civic.me. Other projects such as Polygon ID, Astra Protocol, and Parallel Markets intend to provide seamless customer identification and compliance processes in the Web 3.0 space.
KYC’s Future in Crypto
KYC remains a contentious subject in an industry built on privacy and permissionless transactions. Nonetheless, as governments show increasing interest in cryptocurrency and Web 3.0 activities, and the legacy financial system integrates further with the cryptocurrency space, KYC is here to stay. Developers can strive to make the procedure as painless as possible.
Hot Take: The Future of KYC in Crypto
KYC and AML policies have become integral to the worldwide financial system and are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Although while they may contradict some of the founding principles of the digital currency space, their implementation is critical for preventing financial crimes. Nonetheless, privacy concerns and the risk of doxxing remain valid points of contention for numerous individuals. As the cryptocurrency industry evolves, there is a need for innovative approaches that balance regulatory requirements with privacy and security. Projects like Civic and others are exploring Web3-friendly versions of KYC that prioritize reputation and limited identity verification processes. In the end, finding a middle ground between compliance and privacy will be essential for future of the KYC in crypto.
Demian Crypter emerges as a true luminary in the cosmos of crypto analysis, research, and editorial prowess. With the precision of a watchmaker, Demian navigates the intricate mechanics of digital currencies, resonating harmoniously with curious minds across the spectrum. His innate ability to decode the most complex enigmas within the crypto tapestry seamlessly intertwines with his editorial artistry, transforming complexity into an eloquent symphony of understanding.