What is KYC in crypto and why it's so important?


Vitaliy Obrevko

Time to read

4 min

April 19, 2023


As the world moves rapidly towards digitalization, cryptocurrencies have emerged as a popular and disruptive financial innovation. These digital currencies have gained considerable attention from both individual investors and financial institutions alike. However, as the industry grows, regulatory bodies have begun implementing strict measures to prevent fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities. One such measure is KYC, or Know Your Customer. In this article, we will explore what KYC means in the world of cryptocurrencies, why it is essential, and how it affects both investors and businesses.

What is KYC?

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a standard practice in the financial industry that requires businesses to verify the identity of their clients. The primary purpose of KYC is to ensure that customers are who they claim to be, thus preventing fraudulent activities and reducing the risk of illegal transactions. KYC regulations have existed for traditional financial institutions for years, but as cryptocurrencies have gained prominence, these regulations have extended to cover crypto-based businesses as well.

KYC in Cryptocurrency

For cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and other related businesses, KYC involves collecting personal information from customers, such as their name, address, date of birth, nationality, and a government-issued identification document (e.g., passport, driver's license, or national ID card). Sometimes, businesses may also require proof of address, such as a recent utility bill or bank statement.

The verification process may vary between different platforms but generally involves uploading a copy of the identification document and taking a selfie to prove that the person submitting the documents is the same as the person on the ID. Some platforms may also use video calls or third-party services to verify user identity further.

Why is KYC Important in Crypto?

There are several reasons why KYC is crucial in the cryptocurrency space:

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Cryptocurrency businesses are subject to various regulatory requirements, just like traditional financial institutions. Implementing KYC measures helps these businesses comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations, reducing the risk of legal penalties and reputational damage.
  2. Fraud Prevention: KYC procedures help identify and prevent fraudulent activities, such as identity theft, by ensuring that customers are who they claim to be.
  3. Risk Management: By verifying customer identity, cryptocurrency businesses can better assess potential risks and manage their overall exposure to financial crime.
  4. Investor Protection: KYC measures can help protect investors by ensuring that their funds are not being used for illegal purposes, which could lead to loss of funds or legal ramifications.

How Does KYC Affect Investors and Businesses?

For investors, the KYC process can be time-consuming and may feel invasive. However, it is essential to understand that these measures are in place to protect both the individual and the broader financial system. By ensuring that businesses adhere to KYC requirements, investors can have greater confidence in the legitimacy and security of the platforms they choose to use.

For businesses, implementing a robust KYC process can be costly and resource-intensive. However, it is a necessary step to comply with regulatory requirements and protect their operations from fraudulent activities. Moreover, demonstrating a commitment to compliance and security can help to establish trust and credibility with both customers and regulators.

What is the difference between crypto and non-crypto KYC providers?

The primary difference between crypto and non-crypto KYC providers lies in their focus and the specific nature of the industries they serve. While both types of providers aim to verify the identity of customers and adhere to regulatory compliance, their approaches and the challenges they face may vary. Here, we will discuss some of the key differences between crypto and non-crypto KYC providers.

Crypto KYCproviders specialize in serving businesses operating within the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and token issuers. Their expertise and understanding of the unique challenges in this industry enable them to tailor their services accordingly.

Non-crypto KYCproviders, on the other hand, typically cater to traditional financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and investment firms. While some non-crypto KYC providers may also offer services to crypto businesses, their primary focus remains on the conventional financial sector.


As the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow and mature, KYC measures have become a vital component of the overall regulatory framework. While it may be an inconvenience for some users, KYC plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and legitimacy of cryptocurrency businesses, ultimately contributing to a safer and more reliable financial landscape for everyone.