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I recently found out about this service, called "Don't KYC" that has its own cryptocurrency promises to provide customers with cryptocurrency Visa/Mastercard debit cards (i.e. charge your card with a cryptocurrency, then spend the fiat equivalent to that via the Visa/Mastercard network).

Not really a groundbreaking idea, except that this offering claims to not do Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. From a privacy perspective, this would be a very sought after option, if one considers the high likelihood of data breaches, especially if one uses such a card only for small purchases or at shady vendors.

My question is: With all the regulations (and I'm sure there are a lot) surrounding access of companies to the Visa/Mastercard network, how is it possible for a company to avoid KYC checks? Can such an offering even be legit? Either they are

  • using some really clever workaround (if yes, which one)
  • using a loophole in the law (if yes, which one; so that I can assess the risk of it being closed soon)
  • a scam.

EDIT I had a look at recently updated their ecosystem and tokenomics. It seems they have some ideas going on, so if they are a scam, they're not a overt. From my understanding, they seem to want to become the "Visa/Mastercard of crypto" in the sense of offering anonymous card and giving merchants POS systems so that you can pay with a crypto-loaded card easily and directly, like you would do with a Visa card. At least this would explain how they can be KYC-less; I'll also update my title to reflect this accordingly.

But this raises the question whether it's legal for merchants to accept crypto POS system where people can pay with crypto card, or NFC-based apps from their phone? At the same time, this idea does not sound thaaat revolutionary; more interesting in this regard are their tokenomics, which sound interesting (make the coin deflationary as more people transact), but experience seems to show that this can blow up in peoples faces if not done properly. Hopefully they have implemented it carefully.

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    More importantly than violating KYC laws this likely violates the card issuer's contract with Visa/Mastercard. As soon as the payment network figures this out, the cards will be useless. So my guess would be a scam (works great here because crypto transactions are not reversible), and/or using stolen cards.
    – amon
    Feb 28, 2022 at 9:59
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    It's not CNN, it's CRN, but there's nothing obviously spammy about it so I put it back. Mar 3, 2022 at 9:57
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    Instead of focusing on KYC, I'd be more worried about (my newly invented) KYS (Know Your Supplier). Unless I knew who they were, and was assured of their reputation, I wouldn't deal with a company that loads cards with crypto and bypasses KYC!
    – TripeHound
    Aug 13, 2022 at 9:21
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    "It seems they have some ideas going on, so if they are a scam, they're not a overt." Yes, that's what many people said about the Terra crypto ecosystem just before it collapsed. Aug 13, 2022 at 16:44
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    If it were me I'd remove most of the paragraph related to data breaches, frankly, the question doesn't benefit any from the editorializing. It's a fairly simple question with a simple answer, doesn't need either the edit or the "why".
    – Joe
    Aug 13, 2022 at 21:07

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This is just a pre-paid Visa/MC debit card. Pre-paid Visa cards holding less than $1000 are not subject to KYC. According to the "Don't KYC" web site you linked to, they charge a 6% transaction fee for purchases. This is ten times what you'd typically pay for a pre-paid Visa card on Amazon for example. It also looks like you'd be exposed to the volatility of the "Don't KYC" token, which as of August 2022 has fallen to less than 1/100 of its peak value in Nov. 2021.

If you want anonymity just use cash for pizza, or buy gift cards or non-reloadable Visa debit cards for cash. The crypto angle is just a red-herring, or maybe an opportunity for grift.

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  • Vague information that KYC in theory is not required to get a pre-paid Visa card is not helpful. Show me a specific prepaid Visa card vendor (preferably in Europe) that allows one to buy a card without KYC. I take to mean "without KYC" to me at most required to register with an email and a name. No telephone number should be required, nor any ID upload, nor any physical address (though store pick-up or delivery to a self-service locker/hub, as Amazon uses in many countries, is ok). [...] Dec 20, 2022 at 17:08
  • This immediately raises the question how to pay for such a prepaid card in a KYC-less manner. Paying with another credit card obviously defeats the entire purpose, so only cash payments and crypto payments remain (hence your statement on the "crypto angle being a red herring" is not accurate). I think you will be very hard pressed to find a company that allows all of this (it turns out that until a few years ago, there was a such a service apparently in Austria, where you could pay at gas stations and the like and get a top-up receipt with a credit card code on it, but it's gone now). Dec 20, 2022 at 17:12

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