Most of the cryptocurrency trading platforms today require users to identify themselves by filling up registration forms. This is deemed necessary in order to prevent problems such as money laundering, scams, and alike. However, it also impacts the anonymity and privacy of crypto traders, some of which joined the crypto space back in the day because they had the opportunity to trade and make payments anonymously.
While most of the exchanges today implement KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) procedures, there are also some of them that still allow users to trade crypto without revealing their identities.
Transparency vs. Privacy
Transparency and privacy were in conflict long before cryptocurrencies exploded, and even long before Bitcoin itself appeared. In fact, the issue has existed for as long as the internet itself.
When cryptos appeared, starting with Bitcoin which went live in 2009, the modern society started to move away from cash towards digital forms of payment. This was still centralized, fiat money, only it started leaving its physical form in favor of the online version. However, this also meant that there is less privacy involved, as there was now a record of each transaction that a person makes. Whether it is paying for a cup of coffee, booking a vacation, or paying for a house, everything paid in digital form is recorded somewhere in the banks’ archives.
While privacy was endangered, there was also not that much transparency, as all of the information stored on the banks’ servers was only ever accessible to the banks themselves. Then, cryptocurrencies arrived and provided a completely opposite alternative. Suddenly, those willing to use them had full transparency, and complete privacy, at least for a while.
Over the years, as crypto became bigger, regulators started noticing them, and soon enough — they demanded that crypto exchanges introduce registration procedures. This was a hard blow for those wishing to keep their privacy. The procedures were deemed necessary in order for taxation to be possible, as well as in cases of crypto-to-fiat transactions. Another strong motive for demanding this is preventing money laundering or funding of terrorist and criminal activities.
While this is all understandable and it makes sense, it is unclear why crypto-to-crypto transactions also ended up being targeted. Today, most of the large crypto exchanges in the world are collecting their traders’ information, and they won’t allow anyone to trade unless they provide their personal details, which carries a number of additional problems.
By providing personal information, traders are at risk of the exchange sharing it with other vendors, losing it in hacking attacks, or even sending it straight to the government. Luckily, there are still some exchanges that do not force traders to provide details in order to trade, and they are quickly becoming popular among crypto enthusiasts.
Exchanges That Respect User Privacy
As stated, there is a number of exchanges that allow people to trade without providing personal details, One of them is Godex, which offers more than 200 listed coins ready to be traded without any exchange limits apart from the minimum amounts that are needed to cover the trading fees. Anyone can go to the exchange’s website and start trading right away.
After the traded chooses a trading pair, they will see a fixed rate displayed, which is what they can receive in the next 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the platform does not have an official headquarter, with its team being spread throughout several countries, including the US, Russia, Ukraine, and Italy. Furthermore, the exchange’s website claims to be deleting all information regarding transactions from their servers within a week. They only keep a minimal amount of information, necessary for processing refunds and alike.
Another crypto exchange with similar practices is Changer.com, which only allows crypto-to-crypto trading and it requires no account to be used. Those who do not mind creating an account may receive a discount, although the account itself is not necessary. The exchange offers access to around 15 coins which can be traded, and it supports several languages.
Then, there is Fairshift which also never collects user data, apart from that needed for processing coin swap-related transactions. This exchange also requires no account, which also prevents the theft of traders’ personal data.
There are also websites such as Simpleswap, which offers anonymous services, although the website does point out that there are exceptions, as it has a number of partners. The similar situation surrounds Coinswitch, which offers around 300 coins, but is connected to some larger exchanges. As a result, this platform requires not only an official account, but also information such as the user’s name, date of birth, their country, email, and phone number.
However, only the email and phone number need to be verified, which allows users to keep some amount of privacy, although most can be unmasked through their phone number if registered with their mobile operator.