Nearly every Bitcoin exchange in the world is adhering to KYC and AML requirements as they want to protect their own platforms from scammers, as well as abide by the legislative framework in the countries they operate in. Some people have taken offense by these detailed requirements, not realizing some exchanges take things even one step further. When someone wants to buy or sell Bitcoin there does not seem to be an immediate need to link one’s social media account, however that might change as some platforms might start requiring one to do so.
It only makes sense for companies dealing with customer funds – in particular on an international scale – to perform thorough security checks about their users. Verifying someone’s identity is pertinent to ensure people are who they claim to be, and no stolen or money laundered funds are exchanged to and from Bitcoin through the exchange platform itself.
However, there are only so many steps a Bitcoin exchange is required to take by law, including asking for a government-ID scan, a proof of address, and if needed, a document signed by a notary. That latter document is usually only asked when dealing with business or corporations, or high-volume traders.
But asking for somebody’s social media accounts is a bit strange, although some people might argue it makes perfect sense as well. People are far more open about themselves on social media, and a lot of information can be derived from their profiles. But at the same time, this is invading user privacy beyond any measure, as one’s private life has little to do with their Bitcoin activities in most cases.
Coinbase, for example, has allegedly been asking for customers’ LinkedIn profiles, which seems to be a very odd choice. Keeping in mind how this platform is designed for professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners to expand their network of contacts, it seems to be more of a ploy to obtain contact information from people not using the exchange yet and sending out targeted and campaigns. It remains unknown as to why Coinbase needs this information, or how they want to use it, though.
People have to understand that escaping KYC and AML regulation is impossible for any reputable Bitcoin exchange unless they do not hold customer funds directly. Alternatives to Coinbase, such as Mycelium Trader, and even Paxful, are more lenient when it comes to identity verification, and allow users to buy or sell Bitcoin in exchange for cash, allowing some anonymity.
That being said, no company should force users to link their social media account and exchange accounts for an unknown reason. There is a whole thread on Reddit from people arguing whether or not Coinbase is out of line with requests such as these. Depending on how the regulatory landscape evolves as far as Bitcoin is concerned, requirements such as giving up social media account details might just be a sign of things to come.
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