Know Your Customers (KYC)

Since our goal is having the most secure platform with the lowest fees, we have to take extra measures to overcome fraud.  The higher the fraud, the higher the losses, and those losses eventually trickle to customers through higher prices.  Prices are always lower when fraud is inexistent.

 

 

Why Knowing Our Customers?

We believe knowing our customers is the tenet for overcoming fraud.  Of course, knowing our customers is not sufficient in itself; however, it is an important pillar for fraud prevention.  Fraudsters repeatedly change their IDs and use numerous accounts with small transaction volumes, making them less likely to arouse suspicion.  Once the scam is discovered they "disappear".  Worse, those fraudsters come back and repeat their scam over and over again.  In real life, one can recognize a face, or at least have an idea who the crook may be, but on the Web, the fraudster has no face and can be anywhere.  Scammers love anonymity, and anonymity attracts them in drove.

 

Just to put you more in context, let us take an example of armed robbery.  Do you think the robber would accept a personal check instead of cash, or perhaps asking for a wire transfer to his personal bank account?  Unless he is a dumb criminal, the answer is NO.  This elaborate introduction is to address the issue of phishing, the fastest growing form of consumer theft and the greatest threat to online commerce.  A fraudster will consider phishing only if he can anonymously open an account at the same institution as yours.  For instance, if a fraudster wants to steal your iGolder password, then he must have his own iGolder account, otherwise your iGolder password is useless to him.  Once the con artist has your password, he can make a transfer from your account to his account.  Anonymity and execution speed is indispensable for a successful phishing operation.  The fraudster must have a mechanism to cash out or spend the funds before being discovered, typically using a debit card or purchasing something from a merchant, thus leaving the losses to someone else, either you, the debit card provider, the merchant, or iGolder.  Now imagine if a fraudster managed to steal your iGolder password and emptied your account.  Would you continue using iGolder?  Probably not!  Even in the case iGolder bears the entire loss and gives your gold back, you would still have difficulties to trust the soundness of our platform.  The morale of the story is that iGolder's reputation is at stakes each time there is fraudulent activity.

 

What does phishing have to do with knowing our customers?  Well, phishing requires anonymity, and knowing our customers gives us a fighting chance to overcome fraud.  By knowing our customers, we also reduce spam.  In the end, spammers want to get wealthy, and having an anonymous payment system is essential for their con business to thrive.  We have plans to offer secure email services such as POP3 and SMTP to our members who may not trust their ISP concerning privacy; however, we do not want spammers to use our mailing services.  We also want to offer free chat so our members can communicate with total privacy and anonymity amongst themselves.  Without a good KYC policy, a clever delinquent will eventually find a way of spamming others under a dummy account.  Receiving unwanted emails may be annoying, however it is nothing compared to phishing attacks.  Identity theft occurs when spam contains phishing messages threatening account closure unless the member discloses personal information such as name, email and password.

 

Knowing our customers is also a cornerstone for reducing unethical behavior and protecting ourselves in case of litigation.  We have plans to offer services such as free classifieds and a virtual market place similar to eBay, and do not want people to use our services to scam others.  What good is a customer complaint if the seller is completely unknown?  Also, we have no plans to spend our time in court defending ourselves for the actions of our members.  Fraud is the biggest threat to destroy everything we want to build.

 

The Free Market Solution

We believe the free market is the best solution to determine the necessary amount of personal information to collect from customers.  Everyone wants total privacy, and perhaps, complete anonymity.  However, the reality is people embracing the KYC usually enjoy the highest level of security with lowest fees, while the anonymous camp is constantly struggling with scammers, causing frustration and routine account termination without warning to innocent victims.  In the end, the anonymous payment system is more expensive, has fewer customers and offers limited business opportunities to its customers.  For instance, knowing our customers is essential for our independent exchangers to make business deals with banks offering credit card processing and debit cards to our members.  Also, people do not want to associate themselves with businesses known to harbor fraudsters, so it becomes more and more difficult for the anonymous people to make deals with other businesses.  Eventually economic reality imposes itself, either requiring more discipline to address the problem of fraud, or being swept into the dustbin of history.  We have no intention of falling into the dustbin of history like many others did.

 

Verified Members

For the reasons described above, we require the following personal information to become a Verified Member:

  • Picture ID such as a scan of your passport or driver's license.
  • Proof of address with a scan of a utility bill or bank statement.  If your name does not show on the statement, then you must explain and prove your relationship with the utility bill or bank statement.  We prefer honesty to rigidity.
  • A real telephone number from a known utility company in your country.  If you do not have one, then you must explain why you do not have such a telephone number, and provide a genuine phone number from someone who knows you personally.

iGolder reserves the right to call you to verify the validity of your phone number, and also to ask you to send an original of your utility bill.  We promise to return your utility bill to you by regular mail.  Since such verification procedures are time consuming and expensive, we will only apply them when we feel it is necessary.

 

If we ask for your utility bill, then we will also take this opportunity to validate your address at no cost and offer you a debit card at discount while returning your original utility bill.  It is easy to save on postage by bundling a debit card from a sponsor exchanger, and include a sheet of paper containing your 6-digit PIN number to validate your address.

 

Address Verification

To verify your address, we send a sheet containing a 6-digit PIN number to the mailing address of your account.  Once you receive your PIN, you login to your iGolder account and enter the 6-digit PIN number you just received.  If the PIN you entered matches the one we sent you, we conclude you have received our mail and therefore your mailing address is valid.

 

The address verification costs 0.5 gr of gold.  (learn how to upgrade and become a Verified Member)

 

iGolder respects your privacy.  We keep your name and address private and confidential - we will use your name and address to only send you a 6-digit PIN when you decide to upgrade your account to become a Verified Member.  We will never share or query a third party database for validating your name and/or address.

 

Address Verification Rewards

iGolder offers you numerous benefits to become a Verified Member because because we believe you represent a lower risk of fraud.  It is amazing how much fraud can be eliminated just by knowing the identity and the residential address of our members.  We bly believe people are less likely to be dishonest or commit fraud if they know they may be caught.

 

Here are the benefits for becoming a Verified Member by entering your 6-digit PIN:

  • You may send unlimited quantity of gold.
  • Your transaction fees are instantly reduced by half to 1.0%.
  • As you make more transactions, your transaction fees are further reduced.
  • After a few years of trading with iGolder, your transaction fees will eventually be reduced to 0.1%.
  • The Minimum Safetransit Time for receiving payments is reduced, therefore clearing payments faster.
  • All repeated payments you receive from others will clear instantly.
  • Your public profile displays "Verified Member" which increases the credibility of your membership.

 

Anonymous Members

Individuals may open an account without uploading their picture ID or proof of address. The anonymous account remains limited to send a maximum of 100 gr of gold per year.  iGolder displays the following message to any anonymous member attempting to spend over the limit:



Also, anonymous accounts have much higher fees and are under acute surveillance.  If we suspect structuring to circumvent our KYC policy, we reserve the right to freeze the entire account without warning until the required documents have been submitted and approved.

 

Identified Members

After uploading your picture ID and scan of utility bill, your account will remains in the "Identified" status until your address has been validated with a PIN number.  An identified account has much lower fees than the anonymous account, so it is worth your time to upload your picture ID and scan of your utility bill.

 

Account Types

The following tables gives a summary of the different account types at iGolder:

 

Account Type Anonymous Member Identified Member Verified Member
Fee to fund your account
or receive gold payment
4% 2% 0.1% to 1.0% according to reputation *
Open account fee Free Free 0.5 gr of gold (learn how to upgrade)
Storage fee Free Free Free
Delay to clear gold
when receiving payment
48 hours 24 hours Instant
(24 to 72 hours for first transaction between two users)
Transaction limit
when receiving gold
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Spending Limitations Send maximum 100 gr per year Send maximum 100 gr per month No send transfer limit
Minimum information
required to
open an account
  • Email
  • Alias or Nickname
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Upload scan of utility bill.
  • Upload scan of passport
    or driver license.
  • Address is validated with
    a letter by the mail.
  • Phone number is optionally
    validated with a phone call.

 

* The ratio of Demerit Points directly increases the transfer fees, so it is possible for a verified member to pay fees higher than 1.0%.

 

Step-by-Step For Upgrading My Account Type

First, you must click on the link Account Settings and you will see the following page:

 

iGolder Account Settings for Anonymous Account Type

 

To become an Identified Member, you must fill the form and upload a scan of your utility bill and photo ID.  iGolder will automatically upgrade your account to Identified Member once all the fields have been filled, including an upload of your utility bill and photo ID.

 

iGolder Identified member

 

Next, click on the button Upgrade my Account Type to Verified Member.  Upgrading your account to Verified Member will cost you 0.5 gr of gold.

Upgrading to Verified Member

 

After paying the fee of 0.5 gr of gold, you may now enter your Address Verification PIN.  Of course, you have to wait a few days for your PIN to arrive by mail.

 

iGolder Address Verification

 

Once your Address Verification PIN is confirmed, you become a Verified Member with all its benefits.

 

iGolder Security Features

Using iGolder is safe and secure.  Most of our security features rely on a sound KYC policy so we can identify fraudsters and boot them out.

 

Criminal Activities

If we suspect an account is used for criminal activities, we reserve the right to freeze the account and to ask for a proof of legitimacy, such as the name of customers and invoices.  We have no desire to freeze any account; however, we are determined to combat criminal activities. Criminality impoverishes the whole population, and when criminals earn a comfortable living, it invites others to join.  We are bly against rewarding crime.

 

 

Since August 1st, 2013 iGolder is no longer accepting new accounts and balances can only be redeemed. During the past years, we have been recommending Bitcoin more than our own payment system. We believe in physical gold ownership, and developed iGolder as a mechanism for people to acquire physical gold by trading with one another.

Since iGolder has a central point of failure (our server may be raided by thugs wearing some kind of uniform), we feet it is safer for us to cease operations. The iGolder experiment has been personally rewarding as we met many gold enthusiasts and also learned about Bitcoin in the process. For those who have no idea what Bitcoin is, we recommend doing your own research. Bitcoin is far superior to iGolder in every way, both in privacy and security as our server is always vulnerable to confiscation. Bitcoin is a communication protocol with a built-in "escrow service" capable of protecting both the buyer and the seller, rendering our Safetransit completely redundant. To learn more about the Bitcoin protocol and its feature, please watch "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD4L7xDNCmA (Bitcoin 2012 London: Mike Hearn).

For those having gold in their iGolder account, we will ship the physical metal to anyone having more than 1 ounce of gold, assuming the owner is willing to assume the shipping costs. For smaller quantities, we offer to settle in Bitcoin, however we will also settle with any other reasonable payment system. We will give everyone at least two full years (until 2016) to contact us to claim their gold. After that period, any unclaimed gold will go to fund an economic development project in Honduras helping local people to become entrepreneurs.

We sincerely wish you the best in life and hope to keep in contact with you.

Yours in liberty,
The iGolder Team.


Update 2014: Since we announced we no longer accept gold transfers, we have received countless emails asking to keep the free gold charts and the PGP encryption tools. We plan to keep running the domain iGolder.com for both the gold charts and the encryption tools. Better, we are developing state of the art open-source software for a secure decentralized social network with a built-in wallet. We will announce when we have a product ready for use. Stay tuned!