The present invention involves systems and methods that allow participants in cryptocurrency networks to exchange cryptocurrency for traditional currency legally and safely without requiring the use of a traditional exchange or online brokerage as a fiduciary. The invention accomplishes this through the use of a decentralized identity verification protocol that allows a service provider to verify the identity of a participant and then publish an identity signature on the participant's cryptocurrency address or addresses. The invention enables full compliance with Country specific customer identification program and anti-money laundering requirements, and maintains the ability to independently satisfy requests for information or data retention requirements if requested by legally authorized parties, but does not require that the participant store the private keys or access controls to their cryptocurrency on an exchange or brokerage service.
The invention serves to verify a participant's identity in full compliance with US Bank Secrecy and Patriot Act provisions or similar regulations where identification may be achieved through non-documentary or documentary identity verification procedures. After passing the applicable verification procedure, the service provider stamps the participant's cryptocurrency address with a transaction containing an identity signature. This identity signature within the transaction consists of a public indicator of the participant's Country and subdivision, a compliance level code, an ID type indicator, and an identity hash. The identity hash is created from the digests of cryptographic hash functions where the participant's personal information is used as an input. The service provider signs the transaction with their authorized private key that corresponds to their publicly accessible public key. This serves as a publicly verifiable confirmation that the identity associated with the address in question was validated by the service provider authorized to act on behalf of the regulatory authority.
The participant may then purchase and sell cryptographic currency from and to a third party exchange or brokerage service legally and safely when using their verified cryptocurrency address. This is because the third party is able to confirm compliance by openly referencing and verifying the identity verification transaction present on the address. Subsequent transactions where the third party sells or purchases cryptocurrency for the verified participant are similarly stamped with a transaction conforming to the identity verification protocol. This allows the third party interacting with the verified participant's address to observe any regulations limiting the amount or frequency of transactions over a variable period of time. It follows that this address could be used with any third party or participant in the cryptocurrency network that observes the decentralized identity verification protocol, all without requiring the third party or participant to collect and verify personal information redundantly. The ability to verify an identity remotely also eliminates the need for the third party to act as a fiduciary holding the private keys or access controls to the verified address. Lawful requests for information by authorized authorities are served to the service provider as digitally signed transactions that may then be linked to the participant's identity and transactions, allowing the protocol to observe subpoenas or similar lawful requests for information. The encrypted personal information may be held in escrow by the service provider indexed to the verified cryptocurrency address for such purposes. An alternate embodiment would store the encrypted personal information in a decentralized network of other participants, with the information accessible for retrieval using the public key of the verified cryptocurrency address and decryption using the corresponding private key, decentralizing the process entirely except for the identity verification step.