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What does KYC mean in crypto and where do you not need it?

Key Points

  1. What it is: jargon
  2. Tools that do it:
Trezor T crypto wallet 1000 coins

KYC means in crypto the same thing as it means in legacy finance industry: KYC stands for know your customer.

Practically, KYC will be the requirement by a crypto trading platform to get a scan of your ID card (at least). KYC is usually coupled with AML screening (anti-money-laundering).

Thanks to decentralized trading, in 2020 there are ways to buy or trade crypto with no KYC.

We go more at length [in the blog]((/buy-crypto-no-kyc/) about what are the red flags you don’t want to see in a crypto trading platform without KYC.

To make the long story short, trading crypto without KYC is less risky if your exchange has a proven track of records and doesn’t limit your crypto withdrawals.

Crypto Wallet with No KYC

This section exists here just to clarify one thing: If a cryptocurrency wallet requires you to KYC, it’s most likely a scam.

The only good reason for KYC is the exchange between fiat and crypto. That is why Coinbase exchange will want you to KYC buy Coinbase wallet has no good reason to.

Airdrops requiring KYC are in most cases borderline scam. At best, it’s simply not worth it to give away your identity to collect couple dollar’s worth of useless token.

A cryptocurrency wallet is just a device to generate private keys for you. Anyone who has access to a wallet’s key has access to the wallet’s coin. Do not KYC to get a cryptocurrency wallet.

Free and anonymous cryptocurrency wallets include:

Staking and KYC

Staking wallets as well as generally crypto exchanges that support staking do not require KYC.

Dedicated staking providers, masternode hosting providers and staking pools likewise do not require KYC.

Staking is one part of the crypto economy that is unregulated for now, just like trading used to be. Until the global legal systems catch up with that, the same reasoning as with wallets apply here: If someone requires KYC to let you stake, and it is not a top-tier well known business like Kraken Exchange, then it is a scam.

  • (Custodial) Bitfinex: spot, margin, lending, futures, airdrops
  • (Custodial) ByBit: futures, airdrops has limits, is shady
  • (Custodial) WhiteBit: futures, airdrops has limits
  • (Non-Custodial) LocalCryptos: onramp
  • (Non-Custodial) Uniswap: spot
  • (Non-Custodial) LeverJ: futures

Want to *really* learn crypto charting & technical analysis?

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Read our articles to get familiar with the tools, but try everything hands on. Trading will press your emotions, you can only really learn it as you go.

All the good crypto charting tools and platforms are accessible for FREE in either TradingView app or at Bitfinex. Just start!

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