Why I love Cryptopay (review)
If you’re in the UK, you should take a look at these guys. Here’s why.
A couple of months back I found out about Cryptopay, a UK bitcoin payment service. I was immediately interested, not least because I live in the UK and have pressing need of a crypto gateway that doesn’t let the bankers gleefully take their pound of flesh from me every time I use it.
Living half in the real world and half in Cryptoland is fun, but there is the requirement to pay bills and for that I need to convert my bitcoin income into Sterling. Thus far, I’ve done it this way:
- Complete work for client
- Request pay (generally in USD equivalent), stating bitcoin address
- Receive pay, typically between 5 minutes and 3 days later
- Send bitcoins from receipt address to Bitstamp
- Wait for several confirmations, usually around 30 minutes but up to 12 hours if CoinWallet are playing silly games again
- Sell bitcoins at market rate, for USD
- At the end of the month, withdraw USD funds to GBP account
- Get hit with a flat fee because Bitstamp is based in Slovenia and uses SEPA bank transfers to the UK.
- Get hit with an extortionately poor exchange rate because the bank can set it at whatever it wants
- Receive sad, tired and diminished funds into my UK bank account.
Basically, the delays involved — compounded by my desire to sleep from time to time — give bitcoin’s signature volatility a chance to take a bite out of my hard-earned cash. Then the banks come along and start lunching on what’s left.
That’s why I was interested to hear about Cryptopay. There have been a dozen or so UK exchanges, that I know about, and the majority have been closed down when their banking facilities were pulled with next to no notice. The exchanges that still exist work on a peer-to-peer basis to fly under the radar, and make it easier to buy than sell crypto. There are one or two ‘true’ exchanges that have managed to hang on, but liquidity is so poor it would cost me more than a round trip to Bitstamp.
Cryptopay, who operate a broker model, don’t seem to have had this problem. When I asked why, here’s what they said: ‘We have healthy relationships with an international payment institution from the EU with banking partners in the UK. The process of partnering was extremely difficult and delicate as we had to follow business standards of a regulated financial institution.’ I don’t know what that means, save that some deal was struck with a key bank — possibly involving blood sacrifice, I’m not sure — but the result is there are no exchange fees and no withdrawal fees to my bank account. The only fees, in fact, are built into the exchange itself.
That’s the first big plus. The second, which would have sold me had I not already been an instant convert, was their instant conversion function (see what I did there?).
Basically, the bitcoin-to-fiat conversion can all be done automatically. There are three types of account within Cryptopay: bitcoin, EUR and GBP. You simply send your funds to the account you want, and it appears in that currency. Conversion happens behind the scenes.
So all I have to do is give my GBP address to a client and have them send funds to it, and they turn up as Sterling. I don’t have to sell it myself, I don’t have to stay awake waiting for a transaction to confirm — it’s all done for me. And although there are costs on the exchange, the efficiencies of doing it this way mean I save money.
So it’s faster, better value and less stressful. What’s not to like?
Lastly, when I look at how I’ve been doing business over the last 18 months, I know it wouldn’t be for everyone. I can’t see many people going to the trouble of setting up bitcoin accounts, maintaining security, and going to the hassle of converting it to fiat and withdrawing it when required (though truth be told, I find it kind of fun).
Cryptopay takes the bitcoin out of bitcoin. I do work, I state my address, and funds turn up in the currency of my choice. At no point do I actually need to see or handle the bitcoins themselves. I don’t need to worry about security, or volatility, or the complexity of account creation. I’m pretty sure this is how bitcoin is going to work if it hits the mainstream — through services that use it in the background but don’t force customers to deal with it directly.