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KYC in Stablecoins

Summary: Issuers of today’s fiat-backed stablecoins (such as PAX, USDC and TUSD) need to identify (or KYC) only those users who convert between bank account money and stablecoin, not all holders. Some people might be surprised that intermediate users of stablecoin may transact without needing to being identified by the issuers. Yet few people know that there … Continue reading KYC in Stablecoins

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Summary: Issuers of today’s fiat-backed stablecoins (such as PAX, USDC and TUSD) need to identify (or KYC) only those users who convert between bank account money and stablecoin, not all holders.

Some people might be surprised that intermediate users of stablecoin may transact without needing to being identified by the issuers. Yet few people know that there are kill-switches built in that can hinder bad actors. This arrangement can be described as permissioned pseudonymity. Stablecoin issuers have permission by their regulators to have pseudonymous users in their network.

Permissioned pseudonymity is positive for innovation while the industry explores the most productive uses for stablecoins.

💹 Which stablecoins?

In this post I am specifically discussing USD denominated stablecoins which are redeemable for USD in commercial bank accounts, and whose issuers seem to work with financial regulators to stay compliant with applicable laws and regulations. Popular stablecoins in this category are:

  • PAX issued by Paxos
  • USDC issued by Circle and Coinbase
  • TUSD (TrueUSD) issued by TrustToken

(Note: USDT issued by Tether (the company) is the most popular USD stablecoin by far, but the working relationship between the issuer and financial authorities unclear to me.)

📇 Knowing Your Customer

Many people think that all financial institutions need to know all of their customers all the time. In many cases, it’s true – think of the documents you need to produce when you open your bank account.

But in other cases this isn’t so. Often issuers can take a risk-based approach. In some jurisdictions you can buy and load prepaid cards up to certain limits and use them widely. Hong Kong’s Octopus card is one example. In other cases you can hold small amounts in digital wallets before you hit transaction or balance limits.

The rule certainly isn’t “You must always know all your customers all the time”. Fortunately we live in a world of nuance and risk-based approaches. Stablecoins provide another example of something somewhere in the middle.

😨 Not Knowing Your Customer

When you want to buy a stablecoin from an issuer, you send them money through the existing banking system. The issuer then transfers stablecoin tokens to your blockchain wallet. Redemption is the opposite of this: You send your stablecoins back to the issuer and they send money to your bank account.

Purchasers and redeemers of blockchain-based stablecoins need to have a Know-Your-Customer or “KYC” relationship with the issuer. Yet once you hold a stablecoin, you can send it to anyone with a cryptocurrency wallet. The stablecoins can be passed from unidentified account to unidentified account, with transactions recorded on the underlying blockchain (currently Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for this). Only the redeemer, who brings the stablecoin back to the issuer, needs to be identified by the issuer.

This is similar to physical cash: customers who wish to convert bank deposits into physical cash or vice versa need to be identified by the bank and have a KYC relationship. But outside of the banking system, cash can be passed between people without them having a direct KYC relationship to the bank.

😱 Oh no, unidentified money!

Relax. While pseudonymous accounts may sit uncomfortably with people believe that all money should be identified (lest terrorists become enabled). blockchain-tracked digital money is no worse than other ways of transferring money in the existing financial system. In fact, in some ways it’s more traceable.

Today, people can use numbered bank accounts or bank accounts controlled companies with nominee directors. Criminals British companies because you can set one up for under £20 in less than 20 minutes. And you don’t have to provide any identity information. Then you just set up a few more companies in different jurisdictions, and you can make large amounts of money disappear. Here’s How Britain can help you get away with stealing millions: a five-step guide by Oliver Bullough in The Guardian.

In fact, due to the nature of the blockchains that record these transactions, stablecoins are more traceable than money moving around the traditional financial systems, recorded as debits and credits in different independent banking systems. On the blockchains, law enforcement can see in realtime the movement of funds from account to account, without needing to subpoena anyone or trying to cooperate internationally or across jurisdictional lines.

This is also of course is much more transparent than physical cash, which does not leave any record of ownership; but it’s much less financially inclusive than physical cash, which everyone knows how to use.

🥶 Freezing and wiping accounts

If you look into the smart contract code that defines the stablecoins, you can see that accounts can be frozen using special transactions sent to the blockchain.

For example, Paxos (my previous employer who sets a high bar for regulatory compliance) states in its Terms and Conditions (retrieved 29 Oct 2019) that they can freeze all tokens regardless of where they are held:

A law enforcement user can freeze and wipe PAX balances associated with specific Ethereum accounts. Search for “freeze” in the PAX smart contract code. This is different to physical cash!

This means that although the issuer may not be able to map a real world identity to the pseudonymous account holding their stablecoin, they can effectively freeze and wipe the account – presumably on demand from a financial regulator or law enforcement. This ability gives comfort to those who want to see a “kill switch”. Here’s an article about it from TheNextWeb.

🎉 Enabling innovation

So with approved stablecoins, we have:

  • Low-volatility assets (typically, fiat-backed stablecoins trade within 1% of their underlying fiat price, ie between 0.99 and 1.01 to 1)
  • Money that can move with a lot less friction than money in bank accounts (banks have opening hours, they may not allow programmatic instructions, they may overburden their customers for unnecessary information requests as they over-comply with regulations)
  • Money that can move as long as the blockchain is working (instead of catering to scheduled and unscheduled system downtime that exists with centralised financial service providers)
  • Money that can be programmed, escrowed, released, automated in smart contracts defined by code
  • Money that leaves an ownership trail on their respective blockchains, that can be analysed
  • Money that can, if needed, be frozen and wiped

Permissioned pseudonymity seems to be a sensible balance between allowing innovation without enabling large scale abuses of the financial system.

Source: https://bitsonblocks.net/2019/10/30/kyc-in-stablecoins/

Blockchain

Raze Network to Launch its Public Distribution Sale on Balancer Liquidity Bootstrapping Pool

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[PRESS RELEASE]

Raze Network, the first Polkadot-based cross-chain privacy protocol, announced its public distribution sale on Balancer Liquidity Bootstrapping Pool (LBP) to make Raze tokens accessible in a fair, linear, and decentralized manner.

Trustless, decentralized privacy protocol Raze Network successfully raised $2.2 million in its seed and private funding rounds. The seed and private funding rounds had participation from prominent blockchain and crypto VC firms, including OKEx Block Dream Fund, AU21 Capital, Master Ventures, CMS Holdings, X21, PNYX Ventures, Moonwhale Ventures, Tenzor Capital, Signum Capital, Spark Digital Capital, and others. Raze Network’s fundraising attracted immense participation, leading to 88x oversubscription well ahead of its public launch on Balancer LBP.

A Step towards Redefining Privacy Infrastructure for Increased Security and Mainstream Adoption through Balancer LBP

Privacy is a significant aspect of the dynamic DeFi landscape. The current infrastructure lacks robustness and a high-level privacy framework for decentralized applications. To increase the utility of the Dapps, cross-chain privacy mechanisms are required while transferring payments and trading crypto assets. Therefore, Raze Network holds utmost importance. Raze Network was conceived to address these concerns to build an ecosystem where there is protection from the transparency of crypto assets. It aims to reinforce the anonymous module, which serves as a strong foundation for the decentralized financial space.

To enhance privacy for the DeFi landscape, Raze Network is launching its public distribution sale on Balancer LBP to make Raze tokens accessible. The Raze tokens represent redefining privacy by powering users to participate in governance and voting proposals of the decentralized protocol.

Raze Network is all geared up for its upcoming Balancer LBP Sale on 13th April after its Initial DEX offering on Bounce, Poolz, and DuckStarter.

Over 4,00,000 participants are actively involved in the IDo and ECO launch.Through this sale, it aims to make privacy awareness as much as possible, creating a solid imprint in the community and stakeholders’ minds. Under the purview of this sale, 3.84M tokens will be distributed to the public. The Raze Balancer LBP Sale will last for 72 hours and will officially conclude on 16th April. The Raze Balancer sale will allow RAZE: USDC pool during the token issuance period.

Balancer LBP has been famous and embraced by various great projections as the preferred way for a token launch. Leading projects have employed Balancer LBP as a tool designed for projects to launch their tokens with liquidity generation and price adjustment. Balancer LBP trading begins with an introductory price of the token and a predefined weightage that modifies over time. Balancer LBP’s mechanism, the token’s opening price is deliberately set higher, and the price decreases as users trade on the platform.

Moving forth, $RAZE will list on Uniswap. Furthermore, Raze Network plans to list $RAZE tokens on top-tier centralized crypto exchanges. It’s primarily keen to list on Binance, Huobi Global, OKex, etc. This will enhance the global liquidity of $RAZE tokens.

As one of the forerunners in the Polkadot ecosystem, Raze Network is set to build a native privacy protection layer to provide increased anonymity in the decentralized landscape. With privacy being an essential factor in the current landscape, Raze Network strives to bring free internet power to reality.

About Raze Network

Raze Network is a Substrate-based cross-chain privacy protocol for the Polkadot ecosystem. It is built as a native privacy layer that can provide end-to-end anonymity for the entire DeFi stack. The Raze Network applies zk-SNARKs to the Zether framework to build a second-layer decentralized anonymous module.

It will then be imported as a Substrate-based smart contract. Raze Network’s objective is to enable cross-chain privacy-preserving payment and trading systems while protecting the transparency of your assets and behaviors from surveillance.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/raze-network-to-launch-its-public-distribution-sale-on-balancer-liquidity-bootstrapping-pool/

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Blockchain

Bitcoin’s Market Cap Now Bigger Than Visa and MasterCard Combined

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Apart from surpassing the $1 trillion level, bitcoin’s market capitalization is now worth more than two of the largest financial service companies – Visa and MasterCard – combined. Moreover, BTC’s market cap is also higher than several of the largest US-based banks, including JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup.

Bitcoin Above Visa and MasterCard

The previously referred to as “magical internet money” has been on a mind-blowing bull run since early October when it dabbled with $10,000. In a matter of months, the asset’s price skyrocketed more than six-fold. Naturally, it also impacted the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization, which is well above $1 trillion.

On its way up, bitcoin’s market cap surpassed those of notable names such as Netflix, Walmart, Samsung, Alibaba, Berkshire Hathaway, Tesla, Facebook, and more.

While the community anticipates another run that could take down Google, it’s worth comparing BTC’s rise with some of the most well-known financial organizations, as bitcoin is a financial asset intended to be a peer-to-peer electronic cash system.

Namely, those are the giant US multinational services corporations Visa and MasterCard. According to AssetDash data, Visa is currently the 13th largest asset by market cap with $490 billion, while MasterCard takes the 18th position with $374 billion. Put together, the market capitalizations of both are worth $864 billion.

Meaning that bitcoin is larger than the two of them combined. In fact, BTC’s market cap is nearly $200 billion more, with $1.133T as of writing these lines.

Interestingly, Visa and Mastercard have taken pro-cryptocurrency approaches since recently as both announced plans to enable direct digital asset purchases on their platforms.

Bitcoin Bigger Than JPM, BOA, Citi

While still comparing bitcoin with financial giants, let’s take a swing at US-based banking behemoths – those who have criticized the primary cryptocurrency the most throughout the years.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, whose CEO once called bitcoin “fraud” and later had to apologize, has a market cap of $473 billion. Bank of America, most recently saying BTC is impractical and too volatile, has a market cap of $345 billion.

Meaning, their combined number is $818 – as mentioned above, significantly lower than bitcoin. So, let’s add more. With the addition of the next two banks from AssetDash – Wells Fargo ($167 billion) and Citigroup (151 billion) – they are finally able to match BTC’s market cap at over $1.1 trillion.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoins-market-cap-now-bigger-than-visa-and-mastercard-combined/

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Blockchain

MicroStrategy Directors Now Receive Board Fees in Bitcoin

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MicroStrategy, a publicly-listed company spearheaded by Michael Saylor, who’s arguably one of Bitcoin’s biggest proponents, will now pay the board fees to its non-employee directors in bitcoin.

  • According to a new filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), MicroStrategy has modified the compensation arrangements for non-employee directors.
  • Per the document, they will “receive all fees for their service on the Company’s Board in bitcoin instead of cash.”
  • Going even further, the filing reads that “in approving bitcoin as a form of compensation for Board service, the Board cited its commitment to bitcoin given its ability to serve as a store of value, supported by a robust and public open-source architecture, untethered to sovereign monetary policy.”
  • As to the technicalities of the payments, the amount of the compensation payable to each non-employee director will remain unchanged and nominally denominated in USD. However, at the time of payment, the fees will be converted from USD into bitcoin using a payment processor and deposited to the wallets of the applicable non-employee directors.
  • With this move, the company cements its already bullish stance on Bitcoin and highlights its strong belief in the primary cryptocurrency and the technology that underpins it.
  • The company is also getting closer to owning almost 100,000 bitcoins.
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/microstrategy-directors-now-receive-board-fees-in-bitcoin/

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