Will Brave always require KYC for Publishers?



Currently funds to go Uphold, which requires KYC to transfer the money out, even if there’s no fiat involved.

Up next there is the Civic partnership announced by Brave, which also does KYC.

Will there ever be a way for payments to be fully crypto-to-crypto without any KYC between users?

Two instances I can think where this important (non-exhaustive):

  1. Funding journalism in repressive regimes. Publishing can be done entirely on Onion Services and funded by readers using Brave.

  2. Prosumer/peer-to-peer interactions. On social media everyone is both a Publisher and a User, and requiring basically every User to KYC makes a lot of the privacy expectations towards Brave moot.

Use Brave Rewards/Tipping when using Private Window with Tor

Brave needs to allow consumers and publishers a way to participate without being forced to use Uphold, Civic, KYC, crypto currencies, Authy app, etc… Most of the web sends and receives money without this invasive stuff, so why is Brave insisting on it? Consumers should be able to add funds using credit cards and other existing payment services. Publishers should be able to receive funds using existing payment processors. Why not use something similar to https://www.dwolla.com/ for people who want something simple?


@agentofuser, good question!
I’m going to cc @chriscat for this one.


In the future as we achieve more of our decentralization goals, options may exist wherein KYC will not be required. For example, if users send direct, on-chain, P2P tips/contributions to publishers, then these transfers will not require KYC as there will be no intermediary infrastructure (apart from the blockchain itself).

In our case, KYC is required at the moment in order to comply with financial laws and regulations as value passes through Uphold’s custodial wallet infrastructure.

Some background: Right now, publishers withdraw into a linked Uphold account (a custodial wallet provided by Uphold). Accordingly, as clients of Uphold who make use of Uphold’s custodial wallet services, they must KYC with Uphold, as Uphold is subject to various financial laws and regulations (e.g., AML).

“But what if I don’t depend on Uphold’s infrastructure as a publisher?”

The reason why KYC is still required even if publishers bring their own wallets (“BYOW”) is that value continues to pass through Uphold’s infrastructure, even if not at the publisher’s end. In this case, the publisher is not a direct client of Uphold so they need not KYC with Uphold itself (and can use another vendor such as CIVIC). But because value continues to pass through Uphold’s infrastructure at some point in the process, the general KYC requirement still needs to be met.

“But where in the process is there Uphold infrastructure if the publisher is no longer using Uphold’s custodial wallet services?” Answer: Recall that users are still using an Uphold custodial wallet: namely, the one provided in the Brave browser!

The only way to circumvent KYC is for the transfer to never touch Uphold’s infrastructure: i.e., to be a purely P2P transfer from the user to the publisher. Such options may exist after we introduce the Ethereum Wallet feature into Brave, allowing users to manage their own on-chain (rather than custodial) Ethereum addresses/accounts.

The reason why pure P2P options are not currently viable is that most mainstream users and publishers do not know how—or do not want to—manage their own on-chain wallets. Indeed, this is a blockchain adoption problem, not an issue specific to Brave.

However, as blockchain usage, education and adoption becomes more mainstream, you can expect such features to become available. For now, a good way to understand what Brave is doing is to view Brave as offering an easy on-ramp for mainstream, non-crypto savvy users & publishers. This increases adoption and accessibility of what’s fundamentally blockchain technology, but one of the side-effects of abstracting away the nitty gritty details of blockchain for the end-user/publisher is the KYC requirement.

Decentralization is one of Brave/BAT’s fundamental guiding principles. However, we will decentralize over time as the technology becomes available (e.g. scaling issues), and as blockchain adoption/education is at a point where it does not become a major obstacle or impediment to adoption.

Hope that helps and provides you with some assurance that the team has thought long and hard about these issues!

cc: @braveuser @agentofuser


Thanks for this explanation @chriscat. It’s great to see Brave has a real focus at user adoption, contrary to a lot of others in the crypto space. For now I can imagine most publishers don’t want to manage their own wallets. But on the other hand it is good to show what decentralization is. In my opinion it’s important to give the opportunity to bring your own wallet and be free from KYC.

For decentralization lovers this is an important step towards real use of Brave. For old school publishers it’s a way to show how it can work in a decentralized world. And will work in the future. Bit I agree, that is a big step for most corporations.

It should be nice to have a choice. Uphold with KYC which is old school thinking. Or your own wallet which is an important step towards decentralization. For me is the use of Uphold a red flag for Brave. Ok, I am tolerant, but this is a hard requirement that must be solved in the future.

closed #6