If you have been working on blockchain development projects you are keenly aware of the KYC requirement. But what are top KYC service providers for blockchain developers and entrepreneurs? That is the question that I had as we started working on our own projects.
What is KYC?
Regulations are developing fast to ensure that this space is safe for all and following all guidelines and regulations. All businesses whose service is money must know their customers. Thus KYC stands for Know Your Customer. Governments around the world have created this requirement to ensure that no funny business is happening.
It often goes hand in hand with AML regulation (Anti-Money Laundering). AML is yet another requirement for those of us in the financial services sector. While at first it feels like this would be for banks only, one could argue that nearly any business falls under these requirements. One thing is for sure, KYC and AML are two key components that blockchain developers must keep in mind when creating their businesses.
For more information, we recommend you read this blog “What is KYC?”
KYC Options for Developers
Now that we have figured out what in the world KYC even is, let’s dive into how to we ensure we comply. The way I see it, we have 2 options:
- Build it yourself
- Use a KYC service provider
Build it yourself
This is a cool option if you have a lot of talent and money and wish to control the entire app yourself (centralized or not). There is a lot of benefits to building your own thing and I do like the control that it gives the business. That’s the upside. The downside is that it’s adding yet another layer to your project.
Adding layers and complexities to the project can be good but they do cost us in time and money. Additionally, more layers we have, more bugs we are exposed to. This means more people to develop and test the entire application. But if you are not in rush to launch and you have people and funding, go for it.
Use a KYC service provider
For the rest of us who might be working on the string budget, with limited teams and resources, a KYC service provider may be our best option. Because these companies have already built the tech, most of them provide an easy onboarding for developers and users. This means that you don’t have to figure out how it all works. It also means that you don’t have to build it or expand your team. You can simply connect with their service, follow the documents and launch relatively quickly.
Additional bonus for going with a service provider is that you have a development support team when it comes to your KYC.
Top KYC Service Providers For Blockchain Developers
Now that we have a solid understanding of what KYC is and what options we have, let’s take a look at what is out there!
In trying to solve my own problem for the project we are building, I came upon MANY different options. In my eyes, some were much more valid for the blockchain business than others.
A great example of not-so-valid for our purpose was ID.me. What I like about them is that they have been around for a while and I’ve seen many businesses use their service. They offer KYC verification however they have explicitly told me via email that they do not work with blockchain nor cryptocurrencies. Of course, this is as of October/November 2020. I am certain as this industry grows they will crawl into the space. But I can’t wait.
In my search I have stumbled across a few different KYC service providers that I’d like to highlight here. It is important to note that they are listed in no particular order. And now, without any further ado, my TOP KYC service providers for blockchain developers:
Cool part is that they offer “start for free”. And while I like that for shopping around or trying new brewery, I don’t know that I’m crazy about it when it comes to tech. The reason for it is that it takes a bit to get into it, develop it, implement it and then if it doesn’t work I wasted a lot of time. But from marketing perspective, it’s brilliant. They know this which is why they have it.
In digging a bit deeper, I have uncovered that they charge $50/mo to start, but the overall pricing structure shared is a bit confusing. The good news is they are on the cheaper end of things. For more info about their pricing, you can get it here.
Super-widely used by many companies and I like the muscle they can throw around. It appears that it’s fairly simple to utilize, however the part that made me pause is the fact that they do not offer pricing. My mother use to say, “if you gotta ask, you can’t afford it.” I don’t know if that’s true, but for a string-budget start-up knowing where each penny goes is incredibly important for success.
In doing some digging online I have found comments that their pricing is rather steep. Additional reports came in to indicate their SDK and build support is not so hot. I cannot verify nor deny that. I’ll be honest to tell you that I didn’t even reach out. I’m sure they are friendly, just figured there might be some fruit closer to where I can reach.
This is another heavy-weight that appears to be working with some well-known project, Uphold. This gives me comfort knowing they can be relied upon, however their pricing is on the steeper end of things at $229/month. And that’s the lowest end of the cost spectrum. Again, if you have some dough and backing, I’m sure they are great, but at $229/month with limited options and extra charge if you go above, that’s a bit too uncertain for a tiny start-up (in my humble opinion).
A few more top KYC service providers for blockchain developers
There are quite a few more companies that provide the service without any mention of the price. The only options you have is to contact them and find out for yourself. Here are the companies I can find that fall in this category: Acuant, KYC-Chain, and Argos-Solutions. The last one is coming from Korea and while there are items in English it’s quite often that a foreign language random thing will pop up causing me to pause. Acuant offers more than just KYC and KYC-Chain appears to position itself to blockchain industry only, which is cool.
My Top 2 KYC Service Providers
After researching all of the above (and many, many more) I have found 2 companies that I really like. They are not paying me write about the projects. I am still in testing phases of the project, so no hard decision has been made. OK, the disclosure is out of the way. Again, they are listed in no particular order.
Civic has quite a few things going for it. They hold bazillion (okay it’s not that many, but you get the picture) patents and the leadership is solid. Their customer service is top notch, sign up is easy and within minutes you can get your testing API stuff. For KYC you have to apply and go through a bit of hoop-hopping, but it’s not bad. They do require mutual NDA, which I LOVE and once you are in with them you are not just a customer, you are a partner. Another LOVE and bonus.
Everyone I’ve interacted with is friendly and they are crypto-based, so what’s not to love. Coinbase just listed their coin (CVC) and it has mooned approximately 600% since then. They are powered by Identity and from using some of their stuff it appears that there might be a partnership with Onfidio, but don’t hold me to it. It’s possible that I saw that elsewhere and now I’m projecting.
The not-so-sure side of things is pricing. They don’t easily share that, so that’s a huge unknown. But, if you are interested they will share that with you and support you all the way through your build.
This is another contender for the top 2 KYC service providers. What I absolutely LOVE about them is that they offer pricing right out and it’s pay as you go service. No crazy monthly subscriptions and if you fall short you lose money but if you overshoot now you have to pay extra through the nose.
As of this writing their TOP service is only $0.21/verification (and that’s the most expensive one). This is cool for me personally as we have no clue how many new users we’ll have. If we have only a few, I feel certain I can cover the costs. And if we get a ton, it likely means I’m making good income at which point I can also cover it, or re-negotiate and utilize some of my creative financing strategies. (If you’re interested in learning about creative financing strategies, I cover them in my top course – okay it’s real estate based, but the logic applies to all).
Final piece that I really like about Blockpass is that initial setup is super easy and fast. They are backed by some super-heavy weights in crypto, such as Polymath, Bitfinex, and BNK to the Future and have been featured A LOT in the press. Based on what I can tell, they are coming from China, in case you are wondering, but their team seems to be from all over the place, which is super cool.
That’s it folks! Those are some of the resources I was able to find and my honest opinion of what I could see. Make sure you do your own due diligence and research and don’t rely on my opinion.
Before I go, I’m curious, what are your top KYC providers for blockchain developers and am I missing any good ones? Let me know!