The other day I was reading about the unavoidable fusion between cryptocurrencies and the traditional banking system. A topic that makes my skin crawl. A topic that fascinates me.
I came upon this quote:
Carlson cited how LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer exchange network that was once a “gateway to economic freedom” in places that impose capital controls and other forms of monetary repression, has “increasingly come under scrutiny and has to institute more and more KYC and AML standards and protocols.” She added, “That’s problematic where we are talking about people who don’t have any identity or are unbanked and are refugees and so forth.”
And it was obvious that CoinDesk columnist Jill Carlson was talking about me. I was one of those “who don’t have any identity or are unbanked and are refugees.” And I used LocalBitcoins to escape the overwhelming situation I was in. My article “How cryptocurrencies opened the doors for my escape from Venezuela” finishes with:
I wasn’t investing or using Bitcoin as a store of value, my plan was to spend them and I did. They were currency to me. Never, not once, did I pay for anything directly with them though. I didn’t even saw a “Bitcoin accepted here” sign anywhere. I exchanged them for Fiat money whenever I landed. Always using someone else’s bank account, since I’m still unbankable, but other than that inconvenient I didn’t have much problem doing it. And I could have done it without involving a bank, localbitcoins has a sell for cash option, but that’s for extroverts.
Nowadays, I’m a completely legal alien. My papers are in order and I have a bank account under my name. But I can’t use LocalBitcoins. Their Know-Your-Customer policies keep raising the bar on the documentation needed.
I have verified my identity twice, and the system sent me back to possible-money-launderer status both times.
Just when I thought I was in, they push me back out.
The reason for all of this back and forth is simple: my phone’s camera doesn’t have enough megapixels for their taste. I’m not into so-called smartphones, you see. The one I have was the cheapest one ten years ago. That’s a conscious choice. I do it on principle.
But no, nowadays, to use LocalBitcoins is not enough to have an identity card and a bank account. You need an HD-camera on your phone too.
Imagine the number of people those requirements leave out. Exactly the people who need the service the most. Exactly the people who need cryptocurrencies the most.
The dream is dead.
It’s exactly as Blur said, modern life is rubbish.
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Original Art by Emiliano Siem AKA Sooperchicken