In the world of finance, some of the most important regulatory regimes are Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules. While their implementation is often incredibly difficult, the basic idea driving these regulations is simple: make sure you’re not taking money from drug lords or sending money to terrorists.
Complying with these regulations is one of the greatest things holding back bitcoin startups. The cost of compliance is often beyond the financial capabilities of a startup, and existing financial institutions are reluctant to work with companies who don’t really have the ability to understand who their user base is. This is one of the major reasons why we’re seeing a lot of bitcoin companies forming in emerging markets, since their regulatory regimes are usually more lax.
Enter Polycoin.io, a company who’s main goal is to bring KYC/AML for bitcoin to advanced countries. Founded in 2014 and based out of Israel, the company currently employees 6 people with a deep background in these sort of compliance issues from both a technical and regulatory point of view.
Their long term goal is to develop both the technology and platform needed to handle KYC/AML in any situation bitcoin would be used. Their first product is a merchant payments solution, which enables merchants to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Their main competitor, BISON by JUMIO, has a closed network which only does KYC/AML for members to that network. Polycoin hopes to differentiate themselves by having their platform be open, doing the compliance checks for any transaction.
Alfred Shaffir, the company’s co-founder, said that one of the greatest enablers to their long term success will be further clarity with respect to regulations. In his opinion, the current BitLicense proposals out of New York might be too onerous, but he actually welcomes the authorities telling companies what they have to do, so that he can build the platform to do that.