By Johnny Lyu
As the world increasingly moves towards a digital future, more and more businesses are beginning to adopt cryptocurrency as a form of payment. However, with the rise in popularity of digital currencies comes an increase in the number of scams and frauds being perpetrated against unsuspecting users. In order to protect themselves and their customers, businesses must implement effective know-your-customer (KYC) policies and procedures.
This article will try to bring the concept of KYC verification closer to you, as well as explain the benefits of KYC compliance as a whole. Let’s get into it!
What is KYC?
KYC process is the process of verifying the identity of a customer or client. This can be done through the use of government-issued identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s license, or by other means, such as utility bills or bank statements. The goal of KYC is to ensure that the customer or client is who they say they are, and to prevent money laundering and other illicit activities.
What Are the Benefits of KYC?
There are many benefits to crypto firms implementing KYC policies and procedures, both for businesses and customers or clients.
From a business perspective, implementing KYC processes can help crypto companies by protecting them against fraud and money laundering. This is especially important in crypto, where scams are not that rare. It can also help businesses to build trust with their customers or clients, as it shows that the business is taking steps to verify the identity of those who are using its services.
From a customer or client perspective, know-your-customer can help to protect their crypto assets against fraud. It can also make it easier for customers or clients to do business with a company, as they will not need to provide their personal information each time they interact with the company.
What Are the Risks of Not Implementing KYC?
There are several risks associated with not implementing KYC regulations in the crypto world.
Financial Crime Risk
First, crypto firms that do not verify the identity of their customers or clients run the risk of being used for money laundering or other illegal activities. This could lead to criminal charges being brought against the business, as well as reputational damage.
Scams and Fraud Risk
Second, businesses that do not verify the identity of their customers or clients run the risk of being taken advantage of by scammers and fraudsters. This could lead to financial losses for the business, as well as damage to its reputation.
Failing to Establish Trust
Third, businesses that do not verify the identity of their customers or clients may have difficulty building trust with their customers or clients. This could lead to a loss of business, as customers or clients may take their business elsewhere.
Overall, it is important for businesses to carefully consider the risks and benefits of KYC before deciding whether or not to implement such policies and procedures.
Reduced Functionality and Lower Limits
Most crypto firms entice users into completing the KYC procedure by enabling additional functionalities or increasing withdrawal limits once the procedure is complete. Therefore, if the KYC isn’t complete, users may suffer from certain platform-induced limitations.
What Does KYC Mean for Crypto Exchanges?
Cryptocurrency exchanges are businesses that allow customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. In order to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and countering-the-financing-of-terrorism (CFT) regulations, crypto exchanges must implement know-your-customer (KYC) policies and procedures.
KYC requirements do not apply to decentralized exchanges (DEXs), which organize trades through smart contracts instead of a central trading desk. Therefore, users are not required to disclose their identities. However, centralized exchanges are regarded as financial institutions, and, therefore, must comply with financial regulations if they want to conduct business in certain countries.
You Shouldn’t be Afraid of KYC
Even though it may seem like a hassle, you shouldn’t be afraid of KYC. It is important to remember that KYC is designed to protect you, as well as the businesses that you do business with – especially when you are dealing with an industry as vulnerable as crypto. When implemented properly, KYC can help to prevent fraud and money laundering, and can also make it easier for you to do business with a company.
If you are asked to provide your personal information to a company, you should make sure that the company is legitimate and that you feel comfortable providing your information. You should also make sure that you understand how the company will use your information, and what steps they will take to protect it.
Why Does Crypto Need KYC?
Cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as other non-decentralized entities in the space, are subject to the similar AML and CFT regulations as traditional financial institutions. As such, they must take steps to prevent their services from being used for money laundering or other illegal activities.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to implement proper regulatory compliance. By collecting certain identifying information from their customers, exchanges can screen out those who may be attempting to use the exchange for illegal purposes.
In addition, KYC can help to build trust between an exchange and its customers. By showing that it is taking steps to verify the identity of its users, an exchange can create a sense of safety and security that may attract new customers.
Overall, KYC is an important tool that can help to create a safer and more secure business environment. However, businesses must carefully consider the risks and benefits of KYC before deciding whether or not to implement such policies and procedures.
The author is CEO, KuCoin exchange