UK Post Office-Yoti biometrics tie-up allows users to buy ‘regulated crypto’ via Swarm
The latest functionality for holders of the UK Post Office’s digital ID app EasyID is proving their identity for putting money into cryptocurrencies. Three weeks after launching, the Yoti-powered biometric ID app is already causing headlines (or generating launch publicity) with the new access to Swarm Markets, which bills itself as the world’s first regulated decentralized trading exchange.
EasyID users verify their identities by scanning physical identity documents and undergoing selfie biometric matches. The Yoti-powered digital credential enables holders to undergo KYC and AML and use a bank account or card to buy vouchers which can then be redeemed for crypto currencies on Swarm Markets.
The blockchain-based decentralized finance (DeFi) approach used by Swarm, regulated by German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, BaFin, also allows users to trade and carry out yield farming, where crypto owners put their assets into a liquidity pool for others to use and earn a reward in the form of Swarm’s own payment token, SMT.
Co-founder of Swarm Markets, Philipp Pieper, said, “Until now, people have been locked out of DeFi because there hasn’t been a secure, trusted and regulated platform for them to use. By making it easy and safe to buy real bitcoin and ethereum, more people now have the option to get started in crypto and enjoy the benefits of DeFi — and not just those who understand crypto jargon.”
British politicians see the situation differently. “It’s extremely concerning … The Post Office is running a huge risk of completely damaging a trusted brand,” Dame Angela Eagle, an MP who sits on the Treasury select committee told The Telegraph. “They’re risking their own brand for something which is unregulated, and giving it legitimacy and credibility. I think they should stop it right away.”
A comment from Baroness Nicky Morgan, former chair of the Treasury select committee sums up the general sentiment: “It does seem a very odd thing for the Post Office to get involved with.”
However, the Post Office is not selling crypto currencies, but providing a way for EasyID users to prove their identities for an online purchase through biometrics. Other uses for the app include picking up parcels and proving age for alcohol purchases, with more online use cases expected to follow.