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Can Big Banks Appropriate Blockchain?

blockchain technology, crypto, know your customer, crypto conventions, Blockchain Technology

One of the biggest debates right now in the complex world of crypto is whether digital currencies and blockchain technology will remain a darling of libertarian/ anarchist cultural circles, or if it will be adopted for commercial/ capitalist institutions. Because understanding how blockchain technology really works is pretty well impossible for people who are not computer coders, it is difficult to perceive the finer points of the debate. In this post, however, we’ll try our darndest.

Crypto Tribes

Journalists have reported that the current behavior at crypto conventions involves intense in-fighting by crypto barons who are loyal to a particular kind of digital coin (Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin, etc.). In the meantime, there are people out there with a deep understanding of how the technology works, who are trying to bend it to the agendas of big banks looking to streamline their services and cut back on staff. While crypto tribes war amongst themselves over minor points, their beloved blockchain is being kidnapped by the dark side of the force.

If there is a sense that this appropriation of blockchain technology isn’t serious, it may be due to a belief that it simply isn’t feasible. In debates staged at crypto conventions, it has been pointed out that blockchain technology is incredibly nuanced, and was not designed for use in a closed, centralized system. Thus, while entrepreneurs can make a lot of noise and generate a lot of hype, whether or not they can deliver is a completely different story.


In the meantime, substantial online vendors and service providers have begun accepting Bitcoin and other forms of crypto as a means of payment, meaning that at least in the world of commerce – aside from peer-to-peer transactions – crypto is getting some serious traction. The emergence of reliable fiat to crypto on-off ramps, such as Bitbuy, have provided a fast, easy way to buy, store, send and exchange a wide variety of digital coins with a minimum of hassle or stress.     

Whether this amazing technology can be applied to banks processing massive amounts of money and data through clearing houses and central systems remains to be seen. Some would argue that this would create more security since crypto can facilitate shady, illegal deals, but in fact, there are more and more measures in place to counter this kind of ill-intent.

KYC (Know Your Customer) & AML (Anti Money Laundering) 

Know your customer policies require crypto users to register with government ID and proof of identity. This information is strictly confidential – between you and your digital crypto platform – but in case there is foul play in the form of money-laundering or a serious crime (illegal dealing weapons, for instance), your info will be safe behind a firewall.

Some purists argue that KYC protocols are another form of centralized surveillance, but the truth is that these tools are the best way to keep politicians from banning crypto outright. By meeting regulators half-way, digital platforms can help blockchain technology grow into the revolutionary tool it was meant to be outside of the established, institutional system.

More on this topic: What Is Barclays Bank Going to Do with Blockchain Tech?


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