Civic has announced that it is offering 300 million CVC tokens (~$30 million) to businesses that adopt their identity verification service. This “free KYC” program will combat the increasing costs of Know Your Customer regulations, which demand that businesses and services collect their users’ identities.
KYC checks have become nearly omnipresent on crypto exchanges and other services, but KYC is not very popular with the community. Many argue that KYC undermines the financial freedom that cryptocurrency is supposed to provide and inhibits innovation:
“Perhaps the greatest cost of KYC/AML is impossible to measure because it’s the things that never happened. We will never know how many innovative products and solutions never came to be because they did not fit, or could not afford, the current compliance regime.”
Civic, however, is a proponent for KYC measures, arguing that it is vital for businesses to combat identity theft and protect their customers:
“In our increasingly digital world, identity theft is at an all-time high. ‘Know who your customers are’ is a good thing, and with nearly 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017, it’s more important than ever.”
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Despite these disagreements, both sides of the debate agree that the current KYC system is unwieldy: “the KYC process has become increasingly costly and time-consuming,” as Civic notes. The announcement cites a report that indicates that KYC can cost businesses $500 million per year — and that this cost increases each year.
Civic is aiming to reduce those costs by providing an identity service that can be “reused” across platforms. Users will not have to reupload their identity documents, and businesses will not have to create their own verification process. This will reduce the time and resources spent on verification by organizations and individuals alike.
Civic is not the only platform that is trying to fill the need for cross-platform identity services. Ontology provides a similar digital ID service and is currently leading the pack at #25 by market cap. Additionally, the blockchain-adjacent messaging app Telegram has recently announced a cross-platform ID service. All of these initiatives have a similar goal: to create a universal identity platform.
The Civic Libre program will issue 300 million CVC tokens from its incentive pool to compensate businesses that sign up. The offer has been running since September 5th and will end in December — or when the token supply runs out.