Binance is going to integrate know-your-customer (KYC) software, according to a company press release.
The software is to be provided by Refinitiv, a $26.4 billion company from New York that sells technology to financial companies. According to its website, it has 40,000 customers and 400,000+ end users in 190 countries. The firm is majority-owned by Blackstone Group and minority-owned by Thomson Reuters.
KYC is a customer check system which in most countries is mandatory for financial companies to implement. It means that a company must have a record of each customer’s identity and financial position. In theory, the requirement protects both customers and companies from losing money unnecessarily.
According to the press release, the particular software being sold is called ‘World-Check’. It draws from information from “authoritative sources” in 200 countries, and “has been stress tested with over 100 regulators and financial institutions.”
Binance CFO Wei Zhou said: “Following existing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards in the fiat world and incorporating advanced third-party transaction monitoring tools, as well as our own proprietary tools, will help us build trust with regulators and financial institutions.”
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Nadim Najjar, Refinitiv’s Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa region, said: “Increasing regulations on the cryptocurrency market have led exchanges to establish KYC programs in order to comply with AML regulations. In the past few years, regulators have been working to ensure that anyone moving cryptocurrency into fiat currency is subject to the same KYC requirements as individuals dealing with a conventional bank.”
Binance is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, transacting $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency trades in the last 24 hours according to coinmarketcap.com.
It was established in Beijing in June 2017 but moved to Hong Kong when its home government banned cryptocurrency exchanges. It has since set up offices all over the world, such as in Malta, Jersey, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, to name a few. It has millions of users, and CEO Changpeng Zhao said that he expects to see a net profit of $1 billion at the end of 2018.
More recently, it decided in favour of the original Bitcoin Cash in the ongoing Bitcoin Cash civil war.
Its presence in these different countries means that it has to be aware of the developing regulation situation in each. KYC is usually a minimum requirement for a licensed financial institution, and Binance’s new software is another sign of the institutionalisation of digital currency.
However, many would argue that this measure is not in keeping with the philosophy of cryptocurrency (most related companies are not compliant), so it will be interesting to see how Binance’s new software affects its business.