2018 has seen a surge in business for compliance advisors that help crypto services like exchanges and ICOs verify customer identities and make sure funds are legitimate. These advisors are helping crypto-related business determine if the individuals and organizations they are transacting in cryptocurrencies with are not ‘bad actors’ — exposed to illicit activities or involved in other suspect behaviors.
The rationale behind this is to help make those in the crypto-space more compatible with financial institutions bound by KYC (know your customer), KYT (know your transactions), and AML (anti-money laundering) requirements. More and more companies, small and large, are familiarizing themselves with the ID checks and money source verifications of which are commonplace in the world of traditional finance, in attempts to head off potential future regulatory troubles.
“The start of Q4 to end Q4 [there was] a 10x increase in checks for crypto clients,” Eamon Jubbawy, the cofounder and COO of document verification business Onfido, told Business Insider. “We love the fact we can inject a bit of trust and security into an industry that is otherwise set up for potential criminal activity.”
Jubbawy said that the company is now doing millions of document checks for crypto clients, having verified investor documents from more than 200 countries in five continents. By ensuring that the necessary compliance procedures are in place, these crypto clients are able to confidently work with larger client bases — something which benefits all parties involved. These partners vary from small blockchain startups to bigger, more established players: Bitstamp — Europe’s oldest Bitcoin exchange — recently announced that it is working with Onfido after it was overwhelmed with the influx of new users at the end of last year.
“The guys who are coming to us are saying hey, we want to make sure the people who are investing are legitimate people rather than people who are looking to move around dirty money, can you verify they’re not on any terrorist watch lists or anything like that?”
Charles Delingpole, the CEO and founder of AML checking service ComplyAdvantage, has also seen an uptick in crypto-related business. Delingpole points out that the motivations for crypto companies to work with his organization and others like Onfido is simple: “No company wants to deal with North Korean drug traffickers, right?” he said. “No company wants to have a supplier who’s linked to corrupt Venezuelan politicians exporting cash.”