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Japanese Bitcoin Exchanges Implement Stricter KYC Requirements

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The amended Payment Services Act has long been discussed in Japan, but the date which it would enter into force was not previously set. Recently, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) finally announced a date on which this act would become law.

As part of Japan’s amended Payment Services Act which would be enforced on April 1st, the Act on prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds has also been revised. This act requires Japanese Bitcoin Exchanges to Implement a Stricter Know Your Customers (KYC) process. Japanese financial Experts believe that this move would reduce the options of using Bitcoin to finance criminal activities in Japan.

What are KYC requirements

KYC Requirements are guidelines used to prevent banks from being used intentionally or unintentionally by criminal elements for money laundering activities. It also enables banks to better understand their customers and their financial dealings. This way banks or Bitcoin exchanges can investigate any unusual transactions being carried out through the bank. Recently a lot of Bitcoin critics have soiled the image of Bitcoin claiming it’s responsible for funding terrorism across Europe. This claim, however, has been rebuked by a large majority of experts in the Bitcoin ecosystem citing that these claims are baseless and politically motivated.

How KYC applies to Banking and Bitcoin Exchanges

The Japanese law amendment mainly affects Bitcoin exchanges across the country. KYC is a process by which banks obtain information about the identity and addresses of their customers. This ensures that banks’ services are not misused and it is to be completed by the banks while opening accounts. This move might not be a very good news to most Bitcoin users given the fact that many Bitcoin users enjoy the anonymity Bitcoin provides. But that same anonymity greatly hampers a country’s tax base since transaction carried out using Bitcoin are off the grid and basically cannot be taxed. Meanwhile, it’s a known fact that most users of Bitcoin don’t use the currency for any illicit activity but Bitcoin has gained the reputation as the currency of the dark web. Intelligence services across the world believe that a major crackdown on Bitcoin will badly hamper the operation of the dark web known for illegal trades and services.

Is the KYC requirement enforcement a long term solution

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The major point of KYC is to prevent money laundering, combat financing of terrorism, to manage risk by creating risk profiles and assigning risk categories to customers. Banks can monitor any possible financial frauds and loan defaults. Additionally, KYC can help to check identity theft. With the current massive development in IT, hackers would be able to bypass these restrictions.  Soon, free online tools would be available to carry out Bitcoin transactions undetected on a stochastic scale and the attempt might turn out to be a guard rail, if not a complete masker, for the government authorities.

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