What is KYC and how does it work?

Maciej Zieliński

13 Apr 2022
What is KYC and how does it work?

KYC, the “Know Your Customer” rule, is a common method of user verification in connection with the start of said users use of financial services. KYC is the norm in cryptocurrencies and financial law, as professionals are required to make every effort to verify the identity, relevance and risk of maintaining business relationships with the customer. These procedures are also a measure for AML analysis, which is taking action which aim to prevent money laundering. How does KYC work? In which countries must NFT projects implement the KYC procedure? What does it require of us? We're writing about this below.

How does KYC work?

KYC processes are also used by various economic operators to ensure that their customers, agents or consultants are checked before they are given access to any financial resources. The “Know Your Client” principle (KYC) is a mandatory requirement for entities which deal with securities, bank accounts, etc.

What is included in KYC

The purpose of the provisions set out by the KYC is to prevent criminals from using businesses for money laundering and commiting other financial crimes. By linking KYC and AML, many companies understand their customers better and have the opportunity to verify the capital and payments they receive. This helps them manage risk responsibly and professionally. In principle, institutions formulate their KYC policies on the basis of the following four key elements:

  • Customer Acceptance Policy
  • Customer Identification Procedures,
  • Monitoring of Transactions,
  • Risk Management.

The financial law environment is quite rigorous and makes KYC a mandatory and key procedure for financial institutions and others, as KYC minimizes the risk of fraud by identifying suspicious information at the initial stage of account creation. The KYC policy defines a client as follows. A customer is:

  • the person or entity that holds the account or is in a business relationship with the reporting entity;
  • the person on whose behalf the account is held,
  • the beneficiary of transactions carried out by professional intermediaries, such as exchange brokers, auditors or legal advisers,
  • any person or entity associated with a financial transaction that may pose a significant reputational risk or other risk to a bank, i.e. a person performing a bank transfer or issuing a “trust” on a high-value request as a single transaction.


In NFT, KYC is an element that is dependent on a given country’s policies, but also on what type of NFT will be used. Each State decides on its own whether the creation of NFT requires implementation of KYC procedures. Below we present the most popular places in the world of cryptography, which we have systematized by legislation.

Dane, Bezpieczeństwo, Klawiatura, Komputer, Laptop

KYC and cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are seen as decentralized and anonymous funds. However, these benefits are also a challenge in preventing money laundering, as criminals see cryptocurrencies as an ideal means of using illegal capital. As a result, many financial institutions are looking for ways to impose KYC on cryptocurrency markets, requiring cryptocurrency platforms to verify their clients. Currently, most of the entities have implemented or are implementing KYC into their services. Exchanges are classified in accounting terms as “crypto-to-crypto” or “fiat-to-crypto”. As crypto-crypto exchanges do not deal with traditional currency, they do not feel the same pressure to apply KYC standards as stock exchanges which store traditional currency of any sort. If stock exchanges have a traditional currency in their offer, they are more pressured by states to implement the KYC rule. Countries which show great interest in NFT have already regulated this area. The United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are places worth familiarizing yourself with if you want to start your NFT journey.

Dubai and NFT

At present, crypto assets in the United Arab Emirates have not been classified for their purpose, which could help to determine the law in this respect. Instead, the United Arab Emirates recognizes that it is necessary to specify how cryptocurrencies or NFT are actually used. For example, a crypto resource can be used as a token of use (in this case it will not be regulated as a financial product and it is probably not necessary to implement KYC), but with an awareness of its popularity it is considered to be traded for the purpose of making an investment. If, according to the country, the NFT is seen as a means of investment, it is an investment product, then it will be treated as a financial product, resulting in its regulation using the provisions regarding UAE securities (in this case, KYC needs to be implemented in the project). In Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, there is no single law which regulates NFT. Any use of NFT is analyzed in terms of its actual use. Although Abu Dhabi Global market (ADGM) as a free financial zone regulated the use of crypto assets as virtual assets, NFT does not fall within this definition. According to this law, “the virtual resource is not produced or guaranteed by any jurisdiction”. In summary, it should be pointed out that NFT is subject to KYC only if it is practically treated as an investment project. NFT is not subject to KYC if it is treated as a token of use only.

NFT and KYC in Estonia

Until 2020, it appeared that cryptocurrencies can enjoy freedom in Estonia in terms of legal regulation. This country has become the ideal place for businesses and business professionals who wanted to legally run a business based on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The license issued by Estonia also provides the possibility to provide services throughout the EU. Do you need to obtain a license to implement your NFT project in Estonia? As a general rule, not until 2020! This was due to the fact that licenses were mandatory for virtual currency service providers. The law in this case describes virtual currencies as payment-based instruments such as Ether (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), USDT and others.
According to case-law, the NFT did not cover the definition of virtual currencies, since each NFT provides a unique, limited or documented resource that allows for the use of specific items such as digital art. NFT is treated more as a property right, rather than a means of payment. That was the case in the past, but the 2020 amendment on the legislation
regarding anti-money laundering put all entities connected with NFT, ICO and decentralized exchanges into one group. Since then, KYC is a mandatory component in the implementation of NFT projects.

Switzerland – NFT are not securities

The situation in Switzerland is similar to that in the United Arab Emirates. When NFT is used as a means of payment and can be transferred or reinvested, the regulatory authority is required to implement KYC and AML procedures. If the NFT does not belong to the securities category and serves only as a guarantee of the “right of access” to the service or digital arts, there is no mandatory obligation to implement KYC and AML procedures. However, if the NFT can in any way be used as an investment, it is subject to the definition of securities.

Great Britain – mandatory compliance with KYC standards

In the UK, the procedural requirements determining whether the creation of a NFT project requires the implementation of the KYC and AML regulations were created by the RUSI (Royal United Services Institute), the UK's defense and security think tank. The institution itself was created in 1831 and is intended to ensure the security and efficient operation of the country’s finances. According to RUSI, NFT products:

  • help guarantee an ownership record of any item by means of a digital element,
  • give creators the ability to obtain royalties from copyrights,
  • are mainly purchased using cryptocurrencies.

Unfortunately, RUSI points to the risks associated with NFT, which it defines as follows:

  • NFT is purchased using cryptocurrencies, which are often used to commit financial crimes or for money laundering.
  • There is a risk of hacking attacks on accounts of users who own NFT.
  • As such, RUSI identifies NFT as a product that requires both KYC and AML procedures to be implemented and followed.


With KYC, we gain the ability to collect and analyze a lot of customer information. This helps protect them from financial crime and facilitates the exchange of information between companies and users. In addition, KYC is an aid to AML, as at an early stage it can identify an entity that is likely to be criminogenic. As countries are increasingly concerned about the bureaucracy and regulation of each sector, KYC is an element that everyone will need to familiarize themselves with sooner or later. Let us remember that NFT may have different applications, from collectors' products to gaming, or property rights to invest. Depending on their use, as well as the geographical and legislative elements, different provisions will apply. At the same time, we stress that it is useful to consult a professional legal adviser to help you comply with applicable laws before any actions connected with KYC, AML, or NFT are taken. This article does not constitute legal advice.

Most viewed

Never miss a story

Stay updated about Nextrope news as it happens.

You are subscribed

Token Engineering Process

Kajetan Olas

13 Apr 2024
Token Engineering Process

Token Engineering is an emerging field that addresses the systematic design and engineering of blockchain-based tokens. It applies rigorous mathematical methods from the Complex Systems Engineering discipline to tokenomics design.

In this article, we will walk through the Token Engineering Process and break it down into three key stages. Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase.

Discovery Phase of Token Engineering Process

The first stage of the token engineering process is the Discovery Phase. It focuses on constructing high-level business plans, defining objectives, and identifying problems to be solved. That phase is also the time when token engineers first define key stakeholders in the project.

Defining the Problem

This may seem counterintuitive. Why would we start with the problem when designing tokenomics? Shouldn’t we start with more down-to-earth matters like token supply? The answer is No. Tokens are a medium for creating and exchanging value within a project’s ecosystem. Since crypto projects draw their value from solving problems that can’t be solved through TradFi mechanisms, their tokenomics should reflect that. 

The industry standard, developed by McKinsey & Co. and adapted to token engineering purposes by Outlier Ventures, is structuring the problem through a logic tree, following MECE.
MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. Mutually Exclusive means that problems in the tree should not overlap. Collectively Exhaustive means that the tree should cover all issues.

In practice, the “Problem” should be replaced by a whole problem statement worksheet. The same will hold for some of the boxes.
A commonly used tool for designing these kinds of diagrams is the Miro whiteboard.

Identifying Stakeholders and Value Flows in Token Engineering

This part is about identifying all relevant actors in the ecosystem and how value flows between them. To illustrate what we mean let’s consider an example of NFT marketplace. In its case, relevant actors might be sellers, buyers, NFT creators, and a marketplace owner. Possible value flow when conducting a transaction might be: buyer gets rid of his tokens, seller gets some of them, marketplace owner gets some of them as fees, and NFT creators get some of them as royalties.

Incentive Mechanisms Canvas

The last part of what we consider to be in the Discovery Phase is filling the Incentive Mechanisms Canvas. After successfully identifying value flows in the previous stage, token engineers search for frictions to desired behaviors and point out the undesired behaviors. For example, friction to activity on an NFT marketplace might be respecting royalty fees by marketplace owners since it reduces value flowing to the seller.

source: https://www.canva.com/design/DAFDTNKsIJs/8Ky9EoJJI7p98qKLIu2XNw/view#7

Design Phase of Token Engineering Process

The second stage of the Token Engineering Process is the Design Phase in which you make use of high-level descriptions from the previous step to come up with a specific design of the project. This will include everything that can be usually found in crypto whitepapers (e.g. governance mechanisms, incentive mechanisms, token supply, etc). After finishing the design, token engineers should represent the whole value flow and transactional logic on detailed visual diagrams. These diagrams will be a basis for creating mathematical models in the Deployment Phase. 

Token Engineering Artonomous Design Diagram
Artonomous design diagram, source: Artonomous GitHub

Objective Function

Every crypto project has some objective. The objective can consist of many goals, such as decentralization or token price. The objective function is a mathematical function assigning weights to different factors that influence the main objective in the order of their importance. This function will be a reference for machine learning algorithms in the next steps. They will try to find quantitative parameters (e.g. network fees) that maximize the output of this function.
Modified Metcalfe’s Law can serve as an inspiration during that step. It’s a framework for valuing crypto projects, but we believe that after adjustments it can also be used in this context.

Deployment Phase of Token Engineering Process

The Deployment Phase is final, but also the most demanding step in the process. It involves the implementation of machine learning algorithms that test our assumptions and optimize quantitative parameters. Token Engineering draws from Nassim Taleb’s concept of Antifragility and extensively uses feedback loops to make a system that gains from arising shocks.

Agent-based Modelling 

In agent-based modeling, we describe a set of behaviors and goals displayed by each agent participating in the system (this is why previous steps focused so much on describing stakeholders). Each agent is controlled by an autonomous AI and continuously optimizes his strategy. He learns from his experience and can mimic the behavior of other agents if he finds it effective (Reinforced Learning). This approach allows for mimicking real users, who adapt their strategies with time. An example adaptive agent would be a cryptocurrency trader, who changes his trading strategy in response to experiencing a loss of money.

Monte Carlo Simulations

Token Engineers use the Monte Carlo method to simulate the consequences of various possible interactions while taking into account the probability of their occurrence. By running a large number of simulations it’s possible to stress-test the project in multiple scenarios and identify emergent risks.

Testnet Deployment

If possible, it's highly beneficial for projects to extend the testing phase even further by letting real users use the network. Idea is the same as in agent-based testing - continuous optimization based on provided metrics. Furthermore, in case the project considers airdropping its tokens, giving them to early users is a great strategy. Even though part of the activity will be disingenuine and airdrop-oriented, such strategy still works better than most.

Time Duration

Token engineering process may take from as little as 2 weeks to as much as 5 months. It depends on the project category (Layer 1 protocol will require more time, than a simple DApp), and security requirements. For example, a bank issuing its digital token will have a very low risk tolerance.

Required Skills for Token Engineering

Token engineering is a multidisciplinary field and requires a great amount of specialized knowledge. Key knowledge areas are:

  • Systems Engineering
  • Machine Learning
  • Market Research
  • Capital Markets
  • Current trends in Web3
  • Blockchain Engineering
  • Statistics


The token engineering process consists of 3 steps: Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. It’s utilized mostly by established blockchain projects, and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Even though it’s a very resource-consuming process, we believe it’s worth it. Projects that went through scrupulous design and testing before launch are much more likely to receive VC funding and be in the 10% of crypto projects that survive the bear market. Going through that process also has a symbolic meaning - it shows that the project is long-term oriented.

If you're looking to create a robust tokenomics model and go through institutional-grade testing please reach out to contact@nextrope.com. Our team is ready to help you with the token engineering process and ensure your project’s resilience in the long term.


What does token engineering process look like?

  • Token engineering process is conducted in a 3-step methodical fashion. This includes Discovery Phase, Design Phase, and Deployment Phase. Each of these stages should be tailored to the specific needs of a project.

Is token engineering meant only for big projects?

  • We recommend that even small projects go through a simplified design and optimization process. This increases community's trust and makes sure that the tokenomics doesn't have any obvious flaws.

How long does the token engineering process take?

  • It depends on the project and may range from 2 weeks to 5 months.

What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained


18 Mar 2024
What is Berachain? 🐻 ⛓️ + Proof-of-Liquidity Explained

Enter Berachain: a high-performance, EVM-compatible blockchain that is set to redefine the landscape of decentralized applications (dApps) and blockchain services. Built on the innovative Proof-of-Liquidity consensus and leveraging the robust Polaris framework alongside the CometBFT consensus engine, Berachain is poised to offer an unprecedented blend of efficiency, security, and user-centric benefits. Let's dive into what makes it a groundbreaking development in the blockchain ecosystem.

What is Berachain?


Berachain is an EVM-compatible Layer 1 (L1) blockchain that stands out through its adoption of the Proof-of-Liquidity (PoL) consensus mechanism. Designed to address the critical challenges faced by decentralized networks. It introduces a cutting-edge approach to blockchain governance and operations.

Key Features

  • High-performance Capabilities. Berachain is engineered for speed and scalability, catering to the growing demand for efficient blockchain solutions.
  • EVM Compatibility. It supports all Ethereum tooling, operations, and smart contract languages, making it a seamless transition for developers and projects from the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • Proof-of-Liquidity.This novel consensus mechanism focuses on building liquidity, decentralizing stake, and aligning the interests of validators and protocol developers.


EVM-Compatible vs EVM-Equivalent


EVM compatibility means a blockchain can interact with Ethereum's ecosystem to some extent. It can interact supporting its smart contracts and tools but not replicating the entire EVM environment.


An EVM-equivalent blockchain, on the other hand, aims to fully replicate Ethereum's environment. It ensures complete compatibility and a smooth transition for developers and users alike.

Berachain's Position

Berachain can be considered an "EVM-equivalent-plus" blockchain. It supports all Ethereum operations, tooling, and additional functionalities that optimize for its unique Proof-of-Liquidity and abstracted use cases.

Berachain Modular First Approach

At the heart of Berachain's development philosophy is the Polaris EVM framework. It's a testament to the blockchain's commitment to modularity and flexibility. This approach allows for the easy separation of the EVM runtime layer, ensuring that Berachain can adapt and evolve without compromising on performance or security.

Proof Of Liquidity Overview

High-Level Model Objectives

  • Systemically Build Liquidity. By enhancing trading efficiency, price stability, and network growth, Berachain aims to foster a thriving ecosystem of decentralized applications.
  • Solve Stake Centralization. The PoL consensus works to distribute stake more evenly across the network, preventing monopolization and ensuring a decentralized, secure blockchain.
  • Align Protocols and Validators. Berachain encourages a symbiotic relationship between validators and the broader protocol ecosystem.

Proof-of-Liquidity vs Proof-of-Stake

Unlike traditional Proof of Stake (PoS), which often leads to stake centralization and reduced liquidity, Proof of Liquidity (PoL) introduces mechanisms to incentivize liquidity provision and ensure a fairer, more decentralized network. Berachain separates the governance token (BGT) from the chain's gas token (BERA) and incentives liquidity through BEX pools. Berachain's PoL aims to overcome the limitations of PoS, fostering a more secure and user-centric blockchain.

Berachain EVM and Modular Approach

Polaris EVM

Polaris EVM is the cornerstone of Berachain's EVM compatibility, offering developers an enhanced environment for smart contract execution that includes stateful precompiles and custom modules. This framework ensures that Berachain not only meets but exceeds the capabilities of the traditional Ethereum Virtual Machine.


The CometBFT consensus engine underpins Berachain's network, providing a secure and efficient mechanism for transaction verification and block production. By leveraging the principles of Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT), CometBFT ensures the integrity and resilience of the Berachain blockchain.


Berachain represents a significant leap forward in blockchain technology, combining the best of Ethereum's ecosystem with innovative consensus mechanisms and a modular development approach. As the blockchain landscape continues to evolve, Berachain stands out as a promising platform for developers, users, and validators alike, offering a scalable, efficient, and inclusive environment for decentralized applications and services.


For those interested in exploring further, a wealth of resources is available, including the Berachain documentation, GitHub repository, and community forums. It offers a compelling vision for the future of blockchain technology, marked by efficiency, security, and community-driven innovation.


How is Berachain different?

  • It integrates Proof-of-Liquidity to address stake centralization and enhance liquidity, setting it apart from other blockchains.

Is Berachain EVM-compatible?

  • Yes, it supports Ethereum's tooling and smart contract languages, facilitating easy migration of dApps.

Can it handle high transaction volumes?

  • Yes, thanks to the Polaris framework and CometBFT consensus engine, it's built for scalability and high throughput.