ID Verification: The Paperwork that Keeps us ALL out of Jail
As a Specialist in buying and selling digital assets using alternative payment methods, including cash, I see no shortage of questions - and misconceptions - about ID verification. While processes can change between services and exchanges, I wanted to address the common questions surrounding ID verification that come through the Bitcoin Babe channels, and hopefully provide some informative answers on the compliance and legal requirements involved.
Lets dive in!
"Do I need to verify my ID?"
Yes. ID verification is a legal requirement for all trades involving both fiat currencies, such as Australian Dollars, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or USDT. This process, known as a Know Your Customer (KYC) check, has been enforced on Digital Currency Exchange services by AUSTRAC since 2018.
"But I'm meeting you for cash?"
Regardless of your preferred payment method, whether it's cash or any other alternative, ID verification is still mandatory. The nature of the transaction doesn't exempt you from the requirement. However, I understand that there may be extenuating circumstances for some individuals. In such cases, I offer a "low-doc verify" option. If you believe you qualify for this alternative, please reach out for further assistance.
"Can you just do a trade without ID? It's a small amount…"
The value of the trade does not determine the need for ID verification. Whether you're trading $1 or $1 million, you are required to verify your ID. I have made the verification process as streamlined as possible while still adhering to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) requirements set by AUSTRAC. As much as I loathe the paperwork, the jail time is not worth the glory of "doing you a favor."
"I don't want to verify my identity!"
No worries - I'm all for freedom of choice. The exit button is at the top right of your browser window.
"I find ID verification invasive! This is just the government infringing on my personal space!"
Totally respect that some individuals perceive ID verification as invasive. If you feel strongly about this matter and wish to lodge a complaint, you can call the KYC complaints hotline at 1300 021 037.
"Why are you asking me for more information? I provided you my ID before..."
While I try my best to respect privacy, there are situations where it becomes necessary to collect more information. For instance, if you attempt to buy or sell a large amount of cryptocurrency that you haven't done before, I may require additional details. This process, called "Enhanced Customer Due Diligence," is an integral part of meeting the AML/CTF obligations outlined by AUSTRAC.
"What do you do with my ID? Who do you share my information with?"
Your ID and personal details are stored offline for a minimum of 7 years, starting from the date of your last trade with Bitcoin Babe. Rest assured that your information is not sold to or shared with anyone unless specific circumstances arise:
You're being an asshole to me: If you attempt to defraud me or make threats of physical violence, I will promptly forward your information to the police. I have a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.
You've been an asshole to someone else: If I receive a subpoena from a government entity or law enforcement regarding your information, I am legally obligated to comply.
"Do you send my information to the Australian Tax Office (ATO)?"
No, I don't automatically send your information to the ATO. I will only do so if have been legally compelled to (again, like a subpoena). It's worth noting that the ATO doesn't require this from all exchanges. While I understand that you might have concerns about tax obligations, complying with ID verification is essential to meet AUSTRAC's requirements. Drawing attention to yourself by attempting to avoid ID verification is more likely to result in you having a bad time, than if you just go along with it. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to disclose your cryptocurrency trades on your tax return. Failure to do so could result in penalties or legal consequences. Ensuring compliance with tax regulations is your individual obligation, not mine.
"Are there ways to buy or sell cryptocurrency without ID?"
Yes, there are ways to buy or sell cryptocurrency without ID verification. However, I cannot provide you with those methods. Sharing such information would be illegal and subsequently jeopardise my livelihood and personal freedom.
To sum it all up, ID verification is a mandatory requirement for all trades involving fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Compliance with KYC regulations and AML/CTF obligations enforced on us by AUSTRAC means no-one goes to jail, and while I understand concerns regarding privacy and invasiveness, legal and regulatory compliance is non-negotiable.
If you have any further questions or require assistance with ID verification, feel free to reach out.