P2P Exchanges Accused of Discriminating Against Compliant Users

P2P Exchanges Accused of Discriminating Against Compliant Users

Growing concerns and controversy surrounding compliance policies at several p2p cryptocurrency exchanges have sparked significant debate and calls for boycotts, reminiscent of the backlash against Bud Light for its marketing decisions.

Bisq, Hodl Hodl, AgoraDesk, RobotSats, and LocalCoinSwap do not provide users the ability to report identifying information such as their social security number, proof of residence, government issued ID, driver's license, or tax ID number. Some users are upset saying the services are discriminating against their right to comply with local laws around tax reporting as well as regulations regarding Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML).

"The right to comply is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I carry a copy of the Constitution in my pocket everywhere I go along with my driver's license and a copy of my 12 word seed phrase in case I am ever stopped by law enforcement or government employees who want to see that information." An upset RoboSats user told The Bugle. He continued, "Its really quite sad that people like myself who identify as compliant still face bigotry and discrimination from a community that claims to be open and for everyone."

Another upset user posted on Stacker News complaining that Hodl Hodl never delivered on a promise he alleges the company made to him over a year ago to provide a 'cool splash screen' that he could screen shot and use to share on social media after his purchases settled. "You see customers of Swan Bitcoin, River, Cash App, and Strike posting screen shots every time they stack sats or their $5 hourly DCA goes through. They get crazy likes and retweets from those posts. Some even use them to post to the #stackchain which seems like a really great way to get more followers on X (Formerly Twitter). I just think it would be nice to be able to do that as well. Not everyone is a professional graphic designer and can make those themselves."

The top five demands users of the p2p platforms listed as being important to ending the boycotts and criticisms were:

  • Ability to volunatirly provide personal identifying information necessary to satisfy KYC/AML requirements
  • Assurances that their data would be sent to the proper government authorities
  • The ability to opt in to warnings if a transaction included non OFAC compliant addresses
  • The ability to download transaction history, the USD value of trades at the time of sale, and counter party information for the purpose of tax reporting
  • Splash screens to screen shot and share with friends, family, and social media followers

It's unclear at this time if the calls for boycotts and reform are having an impact on any of the p2p platforms facing criticism and accusations of discrimination. Some of the services are not actively run by anyone or registered to any company as they are open source projects. One of the individuals organizing the boycott against Bisq told The Bugle, "Its bad enough if companies are actively engaging in discrimination and violating complier's rights, but realizing there is prejudice and bigotry being developed into open source software has been very eye opening. We have a lot of work to do to make sure the right to comply is protected across the Bitcoin space."

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