“The problem,” Madonna explained, “is that Commonwealth will have millions of members all around the world, but Virgin Money is only in the UK.”
“Correct,” Lance confirmed, but Virgin Commonwealth Bank would be a separate entity from Virgin Money, and it will have to be located outside the UK. But let me come back to that.”
“Okay,” Madge said.
“Banks are obligated to adhere to KYC, Know Your Customer, legislation and regulations. The fundamental rationale for KYC regulations is to prevent money laundering, and funding of terrorist groups etc. This is accomplished by monitoring the customers’ transactions for suspicious activities. In our case, that’s dead easy.
“Let’s say an author, in Australia, has a hundred thousand bucks in his Commonwealth bank account. Is that suspicious? Not if all that money has come through Commonwealth sellers, and that’s the only way to put money into a Commonwealth Bank account.”
“So,” Stephen queried, “I can’t transfer money into my Commonwealth bank account from my Swiss bank account.”
“Nope. You can transfer money from your Commonwealth account to your Swiss account, or any other account, but it’s a one way street. That’s how we keep dirty money out.”
Madonna wanted to know, “So, everyone’s Commonwealth bank account starts at zero?”
“Yes. And the only way to get any money into it is through a sale.”
“But people with dirty money can buy,” Madonna pointed out.
Shrugging, Lance admitted as much, “Yes, but if a Mexican drug cartel leader wants to buy the Aussie’s book, for ten bucks, where’s the harm?
“Obviously, we will know exactly where all that money in the Aussie’s account has come from. No one is going to buy his book for $100,000. It will take 20,000 people to buy his book – at a price of $10, with a 50/50 split between author and sellers – for him to earn $100,000. Is a terrorist group, or criminal organization going to be able to find 20,000 people to make those purchases? Are they going to be able to get 2000 people to buy ten copies each? Even that’s difficult, and even if they managed to do it, why would that many people buy ten copies of the same book? That’s pretty suspicious, so the account is frozen, and an investigation is launched. The same is true for sellers, obviously.
Theoretically, the bad guys could manage to pump money through us, but they’d have to do it in hundreds of thousands of pissant transactions, which would get flagged. Why would they bother, when they’re already balls deep in HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, and the rest?
“You keep dirty money out by knowing your customer, and that’s how you KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER. No one will know their customers better than we will know ours.”
“And because this is all on a blockchain, the authorities have full access to all the information,” Kitty said. “We will be the teachers’ pet.”
“It’s not going to be as simple as all that,” King said.