Crypto and Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines seem to be an unhappy marriage — pseudonymity in the digital currencies’ DNA doesn’t match the old-school centralized protocols of traditional finance, but cohabitation is inevitable for the maturing industry. 

The tension never really goes away, but even before recent months’ market failures for crypto, the regulators have been clearly hogging the blanket, nudging the established platforms toward more strict authentication procedures and cutting the privacy-hardline players off the market.

Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson expressed a popular opinion from the industry side in the United States Congress when he told legislators that no regulators are doing a good job with KYC and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) safeguards at the moment. But, will the crypto community reach the point both technically and reputationally when it would get an opportunity for a more decentralized and more private KYC system?

From passport snaps to third-party databases

It is hard to imagine today, but KYC — while a standard for the traditional financial system for a few decades — has only recently become a default feature for the largest players in crypto. 

For example, Binance announced a more strict identification procedure for users only in 2021 after a series of legal controversies across the globe. Needless to say, there is still a myriad of smaller exchanges that are managing to evade the regulators’ attention and disregard the global call for tighter KYC.

But, things will hardly go as smoothly for those who prefer to exploit…

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