Each year that we get a little further away from Satoshi Nakomoto’s whitepaper, crypto becomes more popular than ever, breaking more barriers — not just in sheer enthusiasm, but in mainstream acceptance. From nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to the Metaverse, 2021 was the year of crypto, even following a decade where just about every other year could make the same claim.
Despite that peak enthusiasm and excitement though, we shouldn’t be blind to the fact that there are still fundamental issues that must be solved before crypto truly becomes the dominant “coin of the realm” across the globe, along with the backbone of the next industrial revolution. Prime among these issues are Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) protections that ensure crypto remains a responsible and stable payments option without overregulation.
We are already seeing these kinds of issues with the nations that are the most enthusiastic about adopting crypto, whether through CBDCs or other means. El Salvador has gotten headlines for making Bitcoin (BTC) legal tender and building a Bitcoin-funded, zero-tax city under a volcano, but the country has had its issues in the realm of AML/KYC/CFT, such as when identity thieves compromised the Chivo Bitcoin Wallet, the mechanism through which El Salvador gave its citizens a “Bitcoin stimulus.”
It is not just public entities, either. The NFT boom in 2021 has created a whole new need and emphasis for KYC/AML in a space dominated by gaudy figures. OpenSea has no KYC gathering or AML/CFT screening in place, meaning it opens itself up to being compromised.
To prevent crime and fraud from killing crypto in its crib, or at least in its primary school, the industry has to start taking proactive steps to self-police and self-regulate immediately. If they don’t, the task will be left to the same kind of clueless government officials who brought you the U.S. infrastructure bill’s cryptocurrency provisions.
Related: DeFi: Who, what and how to regulate in a borderless, code-governed world?
While NFT platforms…