The USA PATRIOT Act required that all banks in the United States verify the identities of their depositors, in order to undermine the ability of terrorists to use our financial system. So it’s ironic that Andreas Antonopoulos called the practice “dangerous” in a YouTube post that went up recently. The concept has come to be known as “know your customer,” or “KYC.” It’s bandied about a lot at fintech and bitcoin gatherings.
Mr. Antonopoulos wrote Mastering Bitcoin for O’Reilly Media, a company with a knack for publishing the definitive works on technical topics. So it’s fair to say that the man who wrote the book on bitcoin believes KYC does more to imperil consumers than protect them, yet the New York Department of Financial Services put KYC at the heart of the cryptocurrency license it released last year, known to bitcoin entrepreneurs as “BitLicense.”
Startups that want to provide financial services via bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in the state will need to prove they can verify identities. As the financial capital of the country and the first state to act on these currencies, several sources in the cryptocurrency community have told the Observer that they expect other states