Erik Voorhees, the CEO of Shapeshift, spoke about whether or not privacy and KYC/AML rules could co-exist, in an interview on WhatBitcoinDid. He also spoke about decentralized exchanges being a solution for participating in the cryptocurrency space, without giving away personal details.
ShapeShift, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe, introduced mandatory Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money Laundering policies last year, resulting in the exchange facing the community’s backlash. Further, the main reason for the majority of the community speaking up against this move was because users could avail the platform’s services without having an account, which was bought to an end by the policy.
On whether or not privacy and KYC/AML could co-exist, Voorhees said,
“No, I mean this is why it was such a devastating thing for us to do because I personally and as a company respect the right of individuals to have financial privacy forcing KYC on people violates that right? So, I don’t support that the fact that we are doing, it isn’t because we support that, it’s because we are essentially being forced to do that”
This was followed by Voorhees stating that several people failed to understand this, thinking that the exchange changed their principles because it changed the policy.
“We didn’t it is wrong and I believe it is morally wrong to require people to surrender their personal information I believed that years ago, five years ago and I believe it today”
Furthermore, he was asked whether a decentralized exchange was the only way to resist surveillance economics as suggested by Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin. To this, Voorhees stated that “any path a company goes down is not decentralized by definition.”
He further stated that there were several decentralized exchanges that have been imposing KYC, adding that “it is not as clean-cut, that a decentralized exchange can avoid these issues and a centralized exchange cannot.” Voorhees said,
“There’s a lot of nuance to it and depends a lot on the structure of the entity, on the risk tolerance of the individuals involved on the jurisdictions that are being considered it’s not an easy question”
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Priya is a full-time member of the reporting team at AMBCrypto. She is a finance major with one year of writing experience. She has not held any value in Bitcoin or other currencies.