17/10/2023 Alexander

KYB and AML Compliance for NFT Marketplaces

What are NFTs?

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have revolutionized the digital asset landscape. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs represent ownership of unique items or content using blockchain technology. The market size of NFTs has seen exponential growth with transactions soaring into the billions in the last few years. NFTs can represent digital art, collectibles, music, and even virtual real estate, offering a decentralized and secure way to trade unique assets.

Are NFTs regulated?

Currently, NFTs operate in a regulatory grey area. While there are no specific regulations governing NFTs, recent events, such as the SEC case against Impact Theory, emphasizes the importance of proactive compliance. Waiting for regulations to catch up is a risky strategy with the SEC’s $6.1 million fine against Impact Theory illustrating the potential consequences of overlooking compliance. Therefore, NFT marketplaces must take the initiative to safeguard their operations and users.


Why should NFT marketplaces comply with AML requirements?

To build trust and partnerships

Compliance with AML requirements instils trust among clients and partners. For NFT marketplaces looking to proactively onboard business entities, trust is paramount. A transparent compliance framework assures partners and users that the platform operates ethically, fostering long-term relationships and potential B2B partnerships.

To stay ahead of the curve

Being proactive about compliance positions NFT marketplaces ahead of the regulatory curve. When regulations do come into effect, compliant platforms won’t scramble to adapt. Avoiding penalties and legal complications is not just about adhering to the law but ensuring the sustainability of the business in the competitive landscape.

To facilitate financial transactions

To operate seamlessly, NFT marketplaces need to process payments through third-party providers and banks. Major financial institutions like Stripe have stringent criteria for their partners. Without clear AML procedures, marketplaces risk losing essential partnerships, hindering their ability to transact efficiently.


What can NFT marketplaces do to prepare?

Hire a compliance officer

Consider hiring a dedicated compliance officer. Their role should involve mapping out the AML framework and internal policies, ensuring every aspect of the business adheres to compliance standards.

Implement risk-based criteria

Develop risk-based factors for assessing businesses and individuals. Tailoring due diligence processes to different scenarios ensures a nuanced approach which optimizes efficiency while maintaining compliance.

Partner with compliance solution providers

Identify a reliable compliance solution provider which specializes in KYC, KYB, and AML software. Choose a provider that integrates seamlessly into your client journey and has some form of automation for application evaluations. This minimizes sign-up hurdles and reduces client onboarding drop-off rates.

In conclusion, KYB and AML compliance are not just legal obligations but strategic imperatives for NFT marketplaces. By proactively addressing these requirements, businesses can build trust, foster partnerships, and navigate the evolving regulatory landscape with confidence.