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An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
Want to relay my recent experience to help other canucks entering the cryptocurrency scene. I wanted to invest 100K in both main coins and some alt coins. Depositing that amount can’t be done using ETF/bank-transfeetc. – the only reasonably quick way is to wire funds. For wires, most exchanges have a percentage based deposit fee – something that makes absolutely no sense to me. Whether you wire 1K or 1MM, the amount of work for the exchange is identical, so it should be a flat fee. Deciding on an exchange is more complicated than that though: each one has their own rules for minimums/maximums, trading fees, supported coins, holding periods, and withdrawal fees. They also can vary greatly on the amount of time verification takes. One thing to note is that pretty much all exchanges don’t charge a fee for inbound crypto transfers. 2 months ago I signed up for 10 exchanges (Coinbase/GDAX, Binance, Coinsquare, Kraken, ezBTC, QuadrigaCX, Bitfinex, Gemeni, Bittrex, Poloniex) and was verified on 7 of them (I’m still in queue for Gemeni, Bittrex, and Poloniex). Verification times gave me what I thought was a decent indicator of the level and quality of support I would receive. Of these exchanges, some have what I believe to be relatively high trading fees (Gemeni .25%, Bittrex, .25%, ezBTC .30%, QuadrigaCX .50%) vs lower maketaker fees (GDAX 0/.3%, Binance .1/.1%, Gitfinex .1/.2%, Coinsquare .1/.2%, Kraken .16/.26%). Still others have high percentage based wire fees. And finally, there’s a big disparity between withdrawal fees: free on some exchanes, vs fixed rate based on the coin for others, vs Coinsquare’s insane fixed 0.0025 BTC regardless of what coin or the amount being withdrawn. So here are some observations on the exchanges. Please note that the below is not a reflection on any of the people who work at the exchanges. I’m sure they are working as hard as they can and are doing their best. It’s just my experience. It’s also not financial advice. Also, I’m only human so feel free to offer corrections or better advice. Coinsquare: amazingly fast verification time, and for very large deposits seems to likely be the best option as they will let you speak to a human being by phone and will waive the deposit fee (I didn’t know this until later though). I excluded them because of their high 0.5% percentage based deposit fee and their crazy high withdrawal fee. They also only have support for 6 coins. QuadrigaCX: I had a terrible initial experience with QuadrigaCX’s support, so I immediately excluded them. They have high trading fees and there are many complaints of support tickets being ignored or having extremely lengthy wait times. They have a crazy high 1% percentage based CAD wire fee, but offer free USD wires. Note that they only support wires for large amounts. GDAX/Coinbase: Loads of good reviews, but only has support for 4 coins. Seems like they also don’t have a fee for crypto withdrawals. You also can’t seem to wire CAD or USD funds directly to GDAX. I think you may have to wire USD funds to Coinbase and then transfer them over to GDAX (for free). Kraken: I created an account but the verification page just appeared blank for me. After a few days, their support team got back to me telling me that they had a bug and that I needed to create a new account using a different email address and try again. That worked. I decided to use them as they seemed like the best all-around alternative. I was impressed with their support response (they gave me an answer that worked and responded in days as opposed to weeks), they offer a no-fee inbound CAD wire, support 16 coins, and have low (though not free) crypto withdrawal fees. They have also been around a while and have a good reputation (They were picked to handle MtGox claims). Wiring funds to them was a hair-raising experience though. You basically need to send your funds to an unknown bank in Tokyo, Japan. Kraken also has two slightly different sets of wire instructions: one that is on their website, and the other that their support folks send out. Only one of them mentions that you should tell your bank not to use an intermediary that will convert your currency. If you do things properly, and are lucky, you end up only paying ~$40 in fees. But chances are, you don’t, and end up paying 4%! (see https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinCA/comments/7rd6k8/fees_when_sending_to_krakencom/). You also have no idea how much the fees will be until the money finally shows up in your account. That’s tremendously unsettling. Luckily my bank branch manager was familiar with crypto currency wires and helped me do things properly. But, the wire took over 2 weeks to show up (Jan 18th), and Kraken support is so overloaded that they didn’t’ respond, despite me escalating my support ticket several times. I eventually had to resort to a reddit post to get a response to my support ticket. I gave support my wire receipt and answered lots of additional questions to help them try to “locate” it. Perhaps the worst part of my entire experience was that while my wire was being located, the entire crypto market tanked by 50%...and no one would respond to my support ticket…I felt helpless. A Kraken support rep a few days ago said that they are handing >50K new user registrations per day and have >20K new support tickets per day. I feel they should turn off new user registrations until they are capable of servicing existing customers. This is what their competitors have done. I found it disheartening to learn that the only way to get a response to my support ticket was to complain via social media --- many others have found the same. While I was waiting for my wire to appear Kraken had a >48h outage. Prior to the outage, the site was almost unusable as you’d receive constant 50x errors (I found this out prior to wiring my funds). After the outage, I find that their site is still barely usable. Pages take 10-15 seconds to load and when they do load many times they display errors so you have to continually retry until things work. At the end of the day though, they did come through for me: my wire arrived safely. So with my funds in Kraken, I tried to use them to purchase crypto. But no matter what I tried, none of the CAD dollar trading pairs would appear. I logged out and back in a few times and 15 minutes later, it suddenly started appearing. With the flakiness in Kraken’s platform, I had no choice but to transfer everything to a more stable and faster exchange: Binance: These guys have their shit in order. Super simple site navigation once you get used to it, fast verification times, blazingly fast website and trading engine, more than 50 coins supported, etc. But, they don’t support fiat – you must use one of the other exchanges to buy crypto with fiat and then transfer in your crypto. Gotta say it again: everything is super fast. Not just the page loads, but also trading, email confirmations, and withdrawals. Trading takes a bit of getting used to as you aren’t really buying or selling crypto…you are instead “trading” one crypto coin for another. Depending on the coin you want to purchase, you might have to trade your coin for BNB (binance’s own coin) and then trade BNB for the coin you desire. Be Your Own Bank: One final word of advice. Binance is awesome, but don’t trust anyone as despite everyone’s best intentions: no matter how secure a platform is, it can and will be hacked. As soon as you have done your shopping, transfer your coins off to your own wallet. This is why withdrawal fees are important. You might be asking: in hindsight, if I had to do it all over again, what would I do differently? To wire CAD funds I would try to use Coinsquare if it’s a big amount (after re-reading other people’s recent reviews). For USD wires, I might try using Gemeni, but I still haven’t been verified by them and have been waiting for almost 2 months. Before using either I would re-test how long it takes for a support ticket to be responded to. If you do wire funds, don't wire an exact round amount like "10,000.00", instead I would wire "10,070.45" so that it's easier to locate if things go wrong. Once the account has been funded I wouldn’t hesitate to transfer everything to another exchange if I wasn’t happy with the platform, the number of coin offerings, or quality of service I was receiving: you can always come back when things improve. Things change so quickly so not sure how helpful this will be…just wished I had known some of the above before starting.
People are too lenient with Poloniex, this could end badly.
I remember thinking how the Mtgox spread didn't make any sense but nobody cared. I think this should have made us more careful about where we send our coins. But it has not. Companies that lack minimum transparency shouldn't get meaningful volumes. I'm not saying Poloniex is a ponzi or a con. But I would put them in that group with Btce that most people don't trust too much. And this would result in a catastrophe if things went wrong because they get way too much volume from the the btceth pair. Their business is very profitable but an exit scam is not the only risk. They could be the victim of heist.
Who are Poloniex owners ?
Their support is crazy slow (take days or weeks to get any answer)
They say they are a US company but there is little known about where they really are, their real address, their phone numbers. They have very little transparency.
They limit withdrawal in an annoying way with different compliance levels (it's a safety measure but at the same time, it makes it harder to get bitcoin out)
This is a company that is understaffed, not transparent and has already been hacked once. I had a >100 btc withdrawal stuck with them waiting for approval for more than 24hours not so long ago with no answer despite serveral attempts to contact them. Never got an answer at all from the compliance/ withdrawal limit guy on skype. And got an answer by email way too late. Cost me an arm as I got the money out in eth and had to convert it back in the middle of the crash. I guess they were refilling their hot wallet but it shouldn't take 24 hours and or at least they should make it known to you that they are refilling the wallet rather than leaving you in the dark. I don't cry over the loss because it made me realize how foolish I was to trust them and got all the btc I had deposited there for lending out. I would really like to see their btceth volume moving to Kraken or at least Bitfinex for peace of mind.
From: Cardiovorax I understand all the ideological reasons for why someone might want to choose Bitcoin. Most of them are fairly crazy, but at least they're there. What I don't get are the practical benefits, why an average person would actually choose to use them. If you aren't worried about the government or the banks or planning to get rich quickly 2140, then what can Bitcoin actually do for you? That's the part that nobody has really managed to explain so far in any of the threads, at least as far as I can remember.
To be fair, we understand the currency, it's inner workings, and thus its potential quite well, but while we profess how great it is, with $'s and stars in our eyes, we likely forget that the people we are talking to don't know or understand everything that we do. So, I think we should come up with some examples that answer the question of "why would an average person care" (or re-paste them from older necro threads). Here are some of mine: 1) It lets you send money overseas cheaper than using a bank wire (FIAT > BTC > BTC > FIAT has way better fees and exchange rates than bank wire, Western Union, etc). 2) It lets anyone open a virtual bank account without needing access to a physical bank. For example, some banks charge fees and require minimum balances for accounts, which may be prohibitively expensive. Some areas around the world don't even have banks other than in far away big cities. And in some cases, it's easier to just create a new Bitcoin wallet to store money in, than it is to drive down to a bank, fill out forms, come up with profs of ID, wait days for them to be verified, and another week for your account to actually be ready to use (especially if you're looking for a small business account). 3) It lets you accept payments online easily and way cheaper than with VISA, PayPal, or other such services. Heck, you can even just get a bitcoin address from MtGox or any other exchange, set up your account to instantly exchange any received BTC for local currency, and you're done. 4) It lets you accept payments over e-mail or any other service that can transmit text (even photos, as seen on girlsgonebitcoin). Some sellers may not have the means to build a website, but can still send out an invoice, asking to send payments to a specific address. (i.e. someone living in a poor country who only has access to an internet cafe, or someone who just doesn't have web skills). 5) It lets you accept tips or donations using any website. You can upload videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, posts to a blog, music to Soundcloud, art to Deviantart, or comic strips to GoComics, and to accept donations all you need is to include a string of text in the description. No need to set up any money-accepting plugins, set up any bank or financial accounts, or rely on features provided by the service being used. 6) It lets you send money to places where PalPal or other money transmitting services are blocked, for example Russia or India, and is much cheaper for sending money to family in other countries. Even if that country they can't send money to is US, as in the example of the parents in Iran sending $2,000 to their college student son living here. 7) It lets you send huge sums of money overseas quickly and cheaply. If you were in US and you needed to pay $1,000,000 for a shipment from China, using normal methods of wiring money would take two or more weeks, and will cost more than $25,000 for the transaction. With Bitcoin, it takes a few hours, and costs $12,000 or less. 8) It lets you send micropayments better than anything else out there. It's easy and practically free to send $0.01 to anyone else using BTC, but would cost about $0.25 for just the fee to use the USD/EUR system. Any micropayment system that uses USD/EUR would have to sit on top of a larger system that stores all the money in a single large account, and all micropayments would have to be done as accounting entries within that account, instead of money actually moving around (i.e. you have to fund the system with a large payment, do your micropayment transactions, and withdraw when your fund is big enough again). This means micropayments using USD/EUR are restricted to only within specific services (i.e. your pre-paid micropayments fund that you use to pay for news articles can only be used within that news website) 9) It lets you create programs and services with their own bank accounts (the software stores value, as opposed to value always being linked to a real world person and a real world outside-the-service bank account). The Reddit tipbot is an excellent example of this, and would be impossible with USD/EUR, since to build it using FIAT, someone would have to open a real world bank account under their name (with all the forms, proofs of ID, etc), set it up to accept money transfers from others using PayPal, VISA, or something else, which will charge fees, have nasty exchange rates, have to keep to strict AML regulations, and be restricted to certain specific countries. Plus it would have all the micropayment issues mentioned above. With Bitcoin, all the "banking" is done with software, requiring no permissions, and no single programmer's name has to be linked with any bank accounts. 10) It lets you instantly fund USD/EUR based accounts around the world. The small LLC I started up keeps a BTC cash account for minor business expenses, and my business partners around the world will have Bitcoin funded VISA debit cards (as soon as Bitinstant releases them). That way, all the money is stored safely in the business vault, and if they need to pay for any business expenses, no matter where they are on the planet, or what their home currency is, I can fund their cards from home within 10 minutes. That's impossible with ACH, wires, or whatever else is out there. 11) It lets you link a payment account to a contract using address signing. For example, Person A agrees to buy Person B's debt. They write up an agreement contract, and instead of signing it with PGP keys, they sign it with A's and B's bitcoin addresses. Then money is sent from Address A to Address B, and any repayments are sent from Address B to Address A. That way, Person B can't claim that they never received the money, and Person A can't claim that they are still owed more than they really are, since all transactions are publicly verifiable on the block chain using the very addresses that were used to sign the contract. There is no need for any legal disputes of who owes what, since the blockchain keeps both parties honest (I actually did this already). If you can think of anything else, please add it to the list. EDIT: 12) Usenet has recently gone through the Wikileaks experience, with copyright behemoths pressuring VISA, PayPal, et all, to stop processing payments for Usenet service providers. Many have switched to Bitcoin since then, and I personally know Usener user who followed, now buying his btc from me for that purpose.
So, now that MtGox's Dwolla account has been shut down (right after I got verified by MtGox and set up a Dwolla account), what is the best way to get USD out of MtGox to a US bank account? The options I see are direct international bank transfer, OKPAY, or buying Bitcoins again, sending them to another exchange, and selling them there, at which point the question becomes what the best way to get USD out of that exchange are. The bank transfer costs ¥2000 (~$20). It sounds like it may take a week or more to go through (they are a little vague in the MtGox FAQ about this). On top of this, I need to do it in a few batches, since it's more than $1000 that I'm transferring out; so that's $20 per $1000 batch, or about 2% in fees. I've tried browsing OKPAY's website, and I'm pretty confused, because it seems like there are lots of different options and varying fees. I could apparently do bank transfers out, get a debit card, etc. The MtGox FAQ says that there's a 1% withdrawal fee for withdrawing to OKPAY; and OKPAY says that there's a 1% fee for doing a transfer to a bank account. So does that mean that I'd be paying a net of 2% to get from MtGox into my bank account? Or I could do an OKPAY debit card; by my calculations, that would be 1% + $15 for the card, and a several week wait for delivery; and then I would need to use it for POS transactions, as withdrawing cash from it at an ATM from it has a 2% fee (with a minimum of $3 per withdrawal). Or I could buy BTC and sell them on another exchange. But the exchange rate on MtGox is higher than the other big USD exchanges (by up to 8%), on top of whatever fees or complications the other exchanges have, so that's a considerably more expensive option. Anyone have any advice on the best way of getting USD out of MtGox that they have personal experience with? I'm interested a bit more in speed and convenience than the absolute cost, but I also don't want to be bled dry with fees. I'm also wondering if it's worth setting up a new bank account to receive this, or just use my personal checking account. What do other people do? Setting up and maintaining another account at my bank may be a hassle, though I've been considering it for various online account purposes such as PayPal.
WalletBit is now offering its great bank transfer rate to customers from Mexico. For as low as 2.75% you can receive deposits to your bank account in Mexico. This same great rate is available everywhere, making WalletBit the most affordable way to accept Bitcoins worldwide. In the last six weeks WalletBit has gone from only offering Bitcoin and MTGox instant ask withdrawals to offering bank transfers to Europe, Denmark, Canada, USA, UK and now Mexico. Not only this but at the world's most competitive rate. Never before has it been so easy or affordable to accept Bitcoins anywhere. Bank transfers aren't just for businesses either. All users have the ability to convert their bitcoins into local currency. Bank transfers are initiated on Mondays and a minimum fee applies for each transfer. Every user has the ability to set their own minimum transfer level giving everyone the ability to manage their own fees. For complete details please see https://walletbit.com/pricing If your country isn't listed on our pricing page you can check if you are eligible for bank transfers by completing your WalletBit bank profile. If your profile is approved then you are eligible. All deposits and sales will be converted to local currency. The minimum transfer fee is usually $15 or whatever the local currency equivalent is. As always, if you want to keep your Bitcoins you still have the option to keep your Bitcoins for our low flat rate of 0.89%. WalletBit - A Bitcoin Way to Pay www.WalletBit.com
The volatility of Bitcoin is, I think, universally accepted as "not a good thing" by the community at large who believe in Bitcoin. Over the last week it has become painfully obvious to most that the centralization of our market in MtGox is a critical mistake to the health and future of the Bitcoin economy. That is not to say that MtGox won't be and shouldn't be relevant, but that failures on their side have too large an impact. In other words, we lack options and diversity. In reviewing what I know and have experienced while trading on their platform I've generally found the following to be key failures, lapses, or issues that will impair Bitcoin's ability to be used as a transaction medium and not merely a speculation vehicle. Systems Architecture
Lack of meaningful DDOS mitigation: hardware, software, nor ISP
Poor design: the platform was not built by people with real-world financial experience
Poor programming: wrong language, poor code, poor API
Unacceptable lag in trade executions: we should be expecting sub-second trade executions at all times, 10 second delays should never happen, let alone 1 hour delays
Queue execution fails/ignores Cancels completely during lag
Can only handle < 40 trades per second
Trade fees collected purely on percentages without minimum transaction fees, even an incredibly small minimum fee would help curb high frequency trade attempts designed to manipulate prices
Lack of premium, paid API access for HFT versus rate-limited API access for non-institutional traders
Lack of brokerage-style plugins for API
Lack of graceful degradation in service when overwhelmed
Too much time required for account verifications
Too many limits on money moved in/out of system
Enforced loss of anonymity
Lack of options trading
Lack of margins/ability to short
Lack of support for other cryptocurrencies (LTC coming soon though)
Run by non-native English speakers, difficulties interacting with western market
Established in Japan, where financial regulations, government regulations, and future interference by the state are virtually guaranteed
24/7/365 trading without 24/7/365 support
Essentially the only well-used trading platform for Bitcoin at present
I've been discussing these issues with various technology investors and we all agree that the western hemisphere needs a powerful, independent platform of its own. For instance, a new exchange founded in one of the many tax-havens outside of the U.S. would help avoid future governmental interference and independence for Bitcoin while helping stabilize the overall market. Our general plan is:
Create a new exchange based in a special economic zone with less regulatory review and tax-exempt status
Development will be handled by proven financial programmers with experience from Goldman Sachs and other institutions who already have the expertise to develop millisecond trading platforms in a scaled, secure environment
We believe the ability to have margin accounts and deal with options will greatly stabilize the vicious swings we're seeing in Bitcoin value - when you can only buy low/sell high you're setting up a market for inevitable falls
We'll support multiple crypto-currencies from day one, and forge agreements with as many deposit method providers as possible
A portion of our revenue will go back to Bitcoin development, media exposure, and market pushes into countries not currently being targeted by Bitcoin news (especially in South America)
If you believe there are other failures with MtGox and the other exchanges that we've failed to identify, let us know! We want Bitcoin stable and moving.
I just purchased .25 bitcoin and am trying to send it to my blockchain wallet, but MtGox keeps saying "Provided amount is invalid" when I click the withdraw button. Is there some sort of minimum amount that MtGox will let you withdraw, or is it just bugged at the moment? Thanks for the help.
A few days ago Mt. Gox, the world's largest and busiest Bitcoin exchange, announced that it is imposing a temporary, two-week hiatus on withdrawals in USD. The announcement was quite scarce, and didn't explain much – the exchange only stated that there has been an increase in the volume of transactions, and the new volumes can't be handled by the company's bank. Mt. Gox then went on to ... MtGox uses a custom client and has a fee structure and other assorted math to contend with that may not allow for such a transfer at present. If your withdrawal has not appeared in Block Explorer you should contact MtGox support as it may reflect more on their modified system than the default behavior of Bitcoin. Mt. Gox, the world's biggest Bitcoin exchange, hit some rough times these past couple of months. ... In addition to our improved withdrawal system and new trading engine, we are very excited about the innovation happening across our industry and around the world. Despite the hiccups, these are exciting times and we are eternally grateful for your confidence and support along this bumpy road ... Withdrawal issues are not new to Mt. Gox. Bitcoiners usually have to wait a minimum of three to four weeks for withdrawals to be processed — in addition to the time it takes for the recipient bank or party to process the incoming deposit. Here is the full statement from Mt. Gox: Tokyo – JAPAN – February 07, 2014 Dear MtGox Customers, In our efforts to resolve the issue being encountered ... Bitcoin Withdraws at MtGox Suspended For Longer Period 10, Feb 2014. It seems that MtGox will be suspending the BTC withdraws from their system for a longer period of time due to an issue discovered in the Bitcoin transaction method currently in use. The issue is not limited to MtGox, and affects all transactions where Bitcoins are being sent to a third party. So for now MtGox is not going to ...
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