The latest transformation of the internet is the introduction of the Web 3 technology. This technology focuses on decentralisation, allowing power to shift from the centralised authorities into the hands of the user. Unlike Web 2 where a few corporations and individuals wielded power over the internet and its access; Web 3 gives users a collaborative platform to contribute content, manage their data and interact directly with each other.

As impressive as Web 3 sounds, it comes with a potent threat to financial products and services promoted by it. This is due to the need for Customer Due Diligence, KYC and AML Compliance for Web 3 platforms. This blog post dives into Customer Due Diligence (CDD), a crucial element of KYC, and explores how Web 3 platforms can navigate AML compliance while staying true to the decentralized spirit.

The Challenge Of Balancing Decentralisation And Compliance

The decentralisation policy of Web 3 clashes head-on with the need for Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations, which are crucial for preventing financial crime in traditional finance. 

These tensions and challenges are inherent in the sense that anonymity and accountability are at loggerheads with each other. Pseudonymous participation is one way Web 3 protects user privacy, keeping them from unwanted surveillance; but this makes it difficult to identify entities involved in illegal transactions. If KYC and AML procedures must be done, the whole essence of privacy protection by Web 3 will be violated.

It is also imperative to understand that financial institutions traditionally act as gatekeepers, enforcing know-your-customer and anti-money laundering procedures to verify customers before allowing them to make their transactions. Web 3 threatens to turn that upside down, eliminating financial institutions as central authorities and making access open to all; thus throwing KYC and AML procedures into the dust bin.

With the dilemma above comes several challenges including: 


1. Lack of Central Authority

The fact that there is no central authority regulating and controlling the activities on the platform, is a problem for financial organisations as the technology makes it difficult to identify and verify users because it promotes anonymity. This can lead to the prevalence of illegal activities in their systems.


2. Pseudonymous Transactions

Unfortunately, Web 3 technology allows for transactions to be made under other names and identities or using crypto wallets; unlike traditional banks and other financial institutions which make sure that the accounts and transactions are tied to a verified person. 


3. Scalability 

Unfortunately, the traditional know-your-customer and Anti-Money Laundering processes usually take time and may be difficult to work out. Web 3 can accommodate a massive amount of transactions, making it difficult to scale the system to it. In the end, it may hinder the user’s experience and adoption of the new technology.


4. Smart Contracts

Blockchain technology enables self-executing contracts and this can pose a problem for financial institutions as their activities can be complex and opaque. Verifying these smart contracts and their AM/KYC compliance becomes a problem for financial institutions as their activities can be tainted by illegalities exploiting this weakness. 


5. Rapid Innovation

Sometimes, fast-paced development is not a good idea for financial institutions. In the case of Web 3 technology, there is the threat of the technology rapidly evolving, making it difficult for financial institutions to match their pace in creating regulations and effective compliance to the fast-evolving activities.


6. Cross-border Transactions

Web 3 allows connection and transactions between countries as it is a global phenomenon. Keeping track of jurisdictions and their compliance regulations may confuse financial institutions. 

Given these problems, Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Know Your Customer (KYC), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) come into play; producing measures to help prevent financial crime and ensure the responsible use of Web 3 technologies. 


How Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Comes To Play In Web 3 Compliance

With all the challenges highlighted above in adapting financial systems to the Web 3 platform, Customer Due Diligence (CDD) comes as the first point of call to making sure that these two entities adapt and align. Customer Due Diligence is the foundation for effective Know-Your customer and Anti-Money laundering Programmes.

It helps identify high-risk users and implement appropriate mitigation strategies against them. It also helps report suspicious activities to the authorities, preventing financial crimes. Lastly, it helps demonstrate the company to the world and regulatory authorities that the company and their systems are compliant. Hence, companies/businesses should learn the practical approach to conducting customer due diligence. 

Moreover, while integrating the financial system with Web 3, it uses several tools including: 

1. Risk Assessment

While integrating Web 3 into your system, factors like high-risk smart contracts should be considered to assess potential risks associated with a customer based on factors like transaction history, geographic location, and the types of activities they engage in.


2. Identity Verification

In the case of Web 3, decentralised identity (DID) solutions can help securely verify customer identities using reliable means of identification like government-issued identity cards or international passports or driver’s licences; without relying on centralised authorities.


3. Transaction Monitoring

In Web 3, constant transaction monitoring that can indicate money laundering and other financial crimes can be detected by using on-chain and off-chain data analysis.


How Do You Implement KYC/AML Processes In Web 3?

With innovative solutions harnessed, veritable Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering Systems can be integrated into the Web 3 platform, making the ecosystem more responsible and secure. The following solutions will make that happen:


1. Decentralised Identity (DID) Solutions 

In this sense, DID, unlike traditional methods, offers users the opportunity to control their own digital identities. Even at that, it helps KYC and AML compliance by allowing users the opportunity of self-sovereign identity. This allows users to share their verified credentials with Web 3 services, enabling the essential verification for KYC while protecting user privacy.

Also, it grants the system interoperable verification, allowing standardised protocols to work across different Web 3 platforms. This means that one verified credential can be used across multiple platforms, cutting time and energy and streamlining the process.

DID further helps reduce the reliance of systems on centralised authorities in the issuance and verification of their customer identities. This brings the process in line with core Web 3 principles; reducing loopholes in the system associated with single points of failure.


2. On-Chain and Off-Chain Data Analysis

Analysing the data left by the Web 3 platform on blockchains (on-chain data) is important. AML compliance stands to gain one by allowing Web 3 to analyse the on-chain data along with off-chain information which can be user registration details or others.

This comes into play as this system can analyse transaction patterns; look for suspicious activity in large or frequent transfers to high-risk addresses; and automatically report them for further investigation.

It also helps risk scoring using machine-learning algorithms to analyse on-chain and off-chain data and flag users with risk scores. This brings a more targeted approach to the KYC process; keeping the focus on higher-risk profiles.

Compliance automation also benefits as the automated analysis of on-chain data can streamline the KYC and AML process; improving efficiency and reducing manual workloads.


3. Risk Based Approaches

One cannot practise a one-size-fits-all approach to the AML/KYC process on Web 3 and expect it to work. A risk-based approach is one of your best bets; tailoring your KYC scrutiny to the risk believed to be associated with the user.

You could use a tiered KYC design, based on factors like transaction size or the type of service accessed. Minimal verification will be given to low-risk transactions; while more stringent checks will be given to high-risk activities.

You can use the approach focusing on the behaviour of the user, his transaction patterns and others; supporting your identity verification and providing valuable insights for risk assessment.

The dynamic risk assessment approach can also be taken, understanding the fact that user behaviour changes. This makes sure that there are continuous updates, making adjustments to the risk assessment based on user activity.


What Are The Benefits Of Web 3 Compliance?

Having a robust KYC/AML process integrated into your Web 3 platform allows you the benefit of the following luxuries: 

  1. Increased trust and user adoption as it weeds out bad actors, reducing the risk of fraud and other financial crimes. It also guarantees transparency and accountability by verifying user identity. Furthermore, it reduces friction as the streamlined process makes the process easier to adopt in the Web 3 process.
  2. The impact of appropriate KYC/AML integration helps reduce the risk of financial crime like money laundering and terrorist financing; making the system stable and attractive to customers. It also helps build regulatory confidence in the Web 3 platform by the authorities, understanding that people are in safe hands.
  3. It also goes a long way in fostering innovation within the regulatory sphere, giving innovators a safe spot to try their ideas, attract potential investors and sustain the much-needed growth in both the Web 3 and AML/KYC systems.


What Is The Future Of AML/KYC Compliance In Web 3?

The road ahead for AML/KYC compliance in the Web 3 world is a work in progress. As good as the potential of this technology is; there must be a place for compliance in it. There is no globally acceptable or unified approach to this issue and different countries are in different stages of development so it may take time to get things right. Also, the fact that many regulators are enacting current compliance rules doesn’t perfectly fit the Web 3 world.

It is also quite appreciative that some regulators are testing compliance in a controlled environment allowing them to gain a better understanding of the technology.

Without mincing words, there has to be collaboration between the two worlds. Regulators need to get Web3 expertise to understand the system and craft appropriate compliance systems. Web 3 developers also need to clearly understand why compliance is needed on their platform.

In the end, both parties will have a shared goal to gain a secure and responsible Web 3 ecosystem.


Final Words

There is no doubt that Web 3 is going to usher in a new era of user-centric control and innovation. However, to make this a success, the challenge of compliance has to be addressed. We have checked out the issues between Web 3's decentralised nature and the need for Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering measures.
We have also discussed the role of Customer Due Diligence) as the foundation for KYC/AML in Web 3, and explored potential solutions like Decentralised Identity (DID) solutions, on-chain and off-chain data analysis, and risk-based approaches. We highlighted the numerous benefits of robust KYC/AML, including increased trust, reduced financial crime risk, and fostering innovation within regulations.

Finally, we emphasised the ongoing development of regulatory frameworks and the critical need for collaboration between regulators and Web 3 developers. Striking a balance between decentralisation and compliance is essential. By embracing responsible innovation within a clear regulatory framework, Web 3 can unlock its full potential and build a secure, thriving digital future for all.

Do you need this and more to help with your integration of regulatory compliance on your Web 3 platform? We’ve got a solution for you. With Youverify, you can say goodbye to all your fears about regulatory compliance and protection from criminal elements who seek to use your Web 3 platform for financial crime. All you need to do is book a demo with us today! We’ll be awaiting your response.