What Is KYC Crypto and Why Does It Matter?

The Crypto world has been, for years now, a force to be reckoned with. But, as all things good have to end, crypto had to be regulated, at least in some ways, by the official governments worldwide.

If you’re sweating right now – don’t worry; it’s not the end of Crypto as we know it, although it’s a little bit the end of crypto as we know it.

So – what has changed? To combat the “illegal” (or should we say – untraceable) crypto uses, the whole sphere has to abide by KYC laws.

It is set to help out the customers against some pretty bad actors on the market. KYC process is critical in financial institutions are they can mess up people’s finances, and the governments need to find a way to protect them.

So, if you live in the United States, Australia, or Canada, you’ll probably need to hear this.

What Is KYC?

cryptocurrency exchanges

KYC means – Know Your Customer. Those are the guidelines of the financial service to protect people from unfair business practices.

KYC procedures focus on anti-money laundering (AML) when it comes to banks, but it also works in the case of the smaller market players. It aims to make sure everyone involved in the operations is who they claim to be. That means people must be verified to get in with those restrictions.

The other vital aspect is that many anti-bribery laws are in place. It’s important with a rigid identity verification process to ensure that all parties involved are not shady individuals.

It is, after all, essential to make sure that our financial institutions are as protected as they can be from bad actors and people profiting from illegal and immoral acts.

The Problem With “Crypto”

Coin bitcoin - crypto kyc

Of course, if you’re a crypto enthusiast, you are probably not highly pleased with that, as it undermines the effort of all the crypto-people to create a world free of government strings. As you can probably see in the movement’s name, it should be rather crypto, not out-in-the-open currency market.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are often regarded as working under the radar. It means that there are many agents playing the crypto market legally, and there is no issue with that, but – there are many shady people there as well.

Many organizations use crypto instead of actual cash because it is untraceable, it’s secret, it hides the customer’s identity, and it’s sometimes used for laundering money, meaning – it’s all the things that KYC regulations are fighting against.

What Does It Mean for Cryptocurrency Exchange?

crypto coins on the board

Well, a lot. The crypto market is rapidly growing, and, as we naively thought, our “parents,” the government, would not get a hint of something going on. Well, we were mistaken.

The myth of the untraceable crypto world has fallen, so let’s raise another one, or better – see what it means in the grand scheme.

So, first of all – no, the crypto transactions can still take place; the whole crypto world did not get nuked, as some commentators would like to say, and we can still pretty much do the same, of course, by crypto KYC regulatory compliance.

The best thing about this is – you’ll probably never even notice it. Let’s face it – 99% of people probably do not care about doing some illegal stuff; they just want to trade, make money, create NFTs, and just overall – have excellent and legal financial transactions. Well, now all those transactions will have KYC verification.

It means mostly that KYC processes will look for illicit cryptocurrency transactions and can find customers’ identities more easily.

Is It Bad?

Still – it is not. Of course, we have to say that you will not be as anonymous as you’ve been before, and the crypto KYC process will be included in most of your transactions, but it’s not like the whole thing is going down.

And, of course, it’s not like preventing terrorist financing is the primary goal of those regulations, although it would be great if it could be the effect of it.

Decentralized World of Crypto

The world of crypto is primarily decentralized. It does not have a governing body running everything; the money in the crypto market mostly depends on the crypto market. Well, to be more specific, it was supposed to be, but the “real-life” events have a way of getting under the skin of many investors who were scared of additional regulations. Or war. Or famine. Or most of things that could potentially influce the “traditional” markets.

Traditional financial institutions have had to include Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations in their transactions for years, and it’s not like it stopped financial crimes before cryptocurrency.

On the other hand, it made them work a little bit for it, so it does nothing.

As in all cases, robust identity verification is mainly to gather information.

A Little Bit of “History”

So, what happened in the real world? Well, a lot. Let’s start with a company you may have heard of called Binance. Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and, like most crypto exchanges nowadays, it has to adhere to the new regulations.

One of the most prominent players in this market announced in 2021 that all the new customers using this cryptocurrency market exchange would have to provide an ID issued by their respective governments.

The same goes for BitMEX, another big player. Earlier, in 2020, a US prosecutor found BitMEX guilty of many crypto exchange violations. Finally, a settlement of 100 million dollars was reached.


After those high-scoring exchanges went through with the KYC regulations, it significantly impacted the whole market. The most powerful being – people started rolling out of this business not to get their identities released to the public.

ShapeShift, another big player, stated that after the robust KYC policies were incorporated into their structure, about 95% of the users left their site. Although the site was connected to some laundering money schemes, it is not reported as true or false.

Either way, the departure was confirmed and the only way for the site to stay float was to change into DEX, a completely different business model.

Why did it do it? Well, it’s simple – anonymous transactions are good as long as a group making those transactions consist of individuals. When you introduce a governing body that takes care of everything – then a lot of things can change. More of it – later.

Centralized VS Decentralized Exchanges

bitcoin coin, ethereum coin,xrp coin on keyboard

ShapeShift became a decentralized crypto exchange. What does it mean? Well, in short, the difference is in detail. Or should we say – a lot of more information? Centralized Exchanges are those where a group of investors, and developers have a lot of cryptocurrencies, with some level of control over them, and they sell it, more or less, like banks. They take the crypto money form the vault and sell it to customers.

Centralized Exchanges

It works pretty much the same as the natural banks would. We have money. If you want to “buy” from us money, let’s take it out of our vault. Simple as that. But there’s a catch. You have to have some central body to organize it. Like a major bank, a bank that gathers all the money can also give out the exchange rate and profit off of margin.

Decentralized Exchanges

The decentralized exchange, on the other hand, does things a little differently. If there is a will, there is a force, as people used to say. So, if there is a cryptocurrency on the market, and there is a buyer, there will surely be someone willing to pay good money for it.

And, what may be the most important thing, KYC regulations do not apply to decentralized exchanges. Thus, you can still be anonymous. You can still get into the crypto world, and the only thing is – you cannot use centralized exchanges.


What does it mean in practice? Well, centralized crypto exchanges are exciting because they have a lot of products with good prices and are sort of a hub for all things crypto. It also makes all things safer because, with that much-centralized control, you can easily control the flow of the currency and its source, while bringing the attention of the big players as well. Meaning – governments.

What Will Happen to Crypto Exchanges?

They will be, drum rolls, OK. Fortunately, there are many ways to go around those regulations, and crypto exchanges are not really “settled” in a place. Of course, it could be much easier just to go ahead and work within Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, or anywhere where those regulations apply. Preferably – without those regulations.

Companies will then probably just go overseas and sell their crypto to the customers through shell companies. There are many examples of it, with CipherTrace or BitMEX controversy.

KYC measures are getting under the skin of many people in the crypto sphere, so you can bet on the fact that companies will try to get around it. 

But What If Crypto Wanted KYC?

Here’s a tough nut to crack. What if it’s a good thing? After all, if you’re about being fair and square about your crypto activity, you will probably have no reason to worry, right? There have been multiple instances of some nefarious activity that would be against KYC requirements and, overall – good taste.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re not advocating for it or anything, but perhaps more people would get into crypto if there were some kind of regulations happening in this world. 

It would be great for the image of this world, and for sure, it could make a difference in public perception of it.

Maybe KYC compliance will make some of the crypto firms obliged to take more care of their financial intermediaries and transparency of their actions.

What is KYC Crypto – Conclusion

bitcoin coin

We hope that you enjoyed this article. Crypto assets are and will be very important in the future, and we have to be extremely careful with how we go about them. Any regulations coming our way should be a necessity, not something that a person in a suit thought would be a good idea.

We all know and love all the crypto security and anonymity it gives us, but we need to find a consensus on where we should stand when it comes to crypto security, as a community of like-minded people.

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