How to exchange Bitcoin for „real“ money: Experiences of a hobby investor
Many people earned a golden nose with the digital currency Bitcoin. But to exchange the profits back into „real“ money is more complicated and more expensive than expected. The experience report of a seeker.
Marcus R. is a Bitcoin owner. In December 2015, he bought 0.5 BTC via the platform known in the scene as Xapo. At that time the internet money had a value of about 240 dollars per 1 BTC. Over the past two years, his balance has grown so strongly that Marcus now wants to transfer part of his winnings back to his bank account at Credit Suisse.
After all, the possibilities of obtaining services within the Bitcoin network are still limited. In addition, according to Marcus’s assessment, there is a growing danger that the prices of cryptocurrencies will soon correct significantly.
Marcus’s tendency to realize profits and his assessment of the Bitcoin share price is shared by many investors. On 20th October the price for Bitcoin reached 6000 dollars for the first time, after having started the year at 964 dollars. Meanwhile, Bitcoin was once even worth about 98 billion dollars in circulation, in the end of 2017.
But it is much more difficult for Marcus R. to bring the profits into the dry than expected. An unexpected hurdle race begins. With Xapo, a transfer to a Swiss bank account is simply not possible. This possibility is limited to a few countries, according to the homepage. Xapo does offer a debit card, with which cash withdrawals would be possible. But the delivery time is up to 25 days – and there are additional costs.
So the money has to be taken out of the Bitcoin network via a detour. That’s the way to think: The Bitcoin is transferred to another platform that supports a payout. A friend tells Marcus about Bitwala, the world’s first blockchain bank. But the next setback for Marcus follows immediately: With the citizen of Berlin Startup with a transfer sum of 100 francs exactly 18.30 francs at fees result (see screenshot below) – that is clearly more than a bank transfer between the euro area and Switzerland.
In fact, Bitwala writes at cash.ch’s request that a payment in Swiss francs costs a fixed fee of 15 euros plus 1 percent (for transactions in the euro zone it costs considerably less). And: The fees for Bitcoin transactions have risen sharply in the past. According to Bitwala, one is always looking for partners with whom one can offer customers better conditions.
Basically, there are fees for every Bitcoin transaction. On the one hand, this pays the Bitcoin miners, i.e. those persons who „mine“ Bitcoin by means of IT services. However, the greater part of the fee cake goes to the operators of the respective online platform. And they charge different amounts.
Marcus notices this when he checks the offer of Bitcoin Suisse, the largest Swiss broker for cryptocurrencies. Transactions between the Bitcoin and Swiss franc worlds are actually possible without any problems via the Zug company. But the registration procedure is cumbersome. In addition to a photo of the identity card, a selfie with identity card and a confirmation of residence are required.
Bitcoin Suisse will inform you upon cash request that transfers of up to CHF 50,000 cost 3.6 percent. For larger amounts, „over the counter“ trading at more favourable conditions is also possible. However, this requires additional authorization steps. Bitcoin Suisse also operates vending machines in Switzerland, where Bitcoin can be traded with cash. A payout there costs 4 percent.
Marcus also noticed this during his (gate) tour through the Bitcoin jungle – just like that: The offered courses differ strongly. Since Bitcoin sometimes fluctuates heavily and can rise or fall 10 percent within a day, he would have to access several trading platforms at the same time, open one account each and access where the price is cheapest. An elaborate and time-consuming odyssey.
Marcus decides finally for the platform Bity with basis in New Castle. There transactions in Swiss francs and euro are possible. For a bank transfer no additional costs result according to data on the homepage.