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Banking with crypto — A review of some of the popular banking services for crypto users

February 1, 2019

The crypto space evolved over the past 12 months. If you measure evolution in price ticks (upwards, of course), you might miss it. If you look into services, technology and regulations, you might get a lot more optimistic. Something is brewing and my biggest hope is we will see it reflected in price upticks. Yet, the most important factor in seeing the price dust itself up is a recovery in adoption. How do we go from here to there? We lower the entry barriers and expand on use cases. I think this is the single most important factor and it will probably become validated by demand.

In this article I will focus on the progress that has been done in the last 12 months in lowering barriers of entry in crypto-space when banking with crypto.

What to look into

Where is the convenience?

I am not the only one unhappy with the whole hassle of buying or selling crypto. There are some hoops to go through, and they vary from one service to another (some are better than others):

– Create an account on a trustworthy (but trustless) exchange. Most people use at least two.

– Pass KYC (for each account) and get validated within days or weeks

– Move your money into a trading account. For small accounts you probably use CC, if it’s even available with the exchange of your choice.

– Start trading.

BUT:

– When you want to cash out, you can sometimes use a card. Most times, the money are sent to your bank, within one or two days.

You might not find an exchange that checks all the boxes, but compliance and ease at withdrawing is key.

What is it with all the fees?

Each step comes with fees attached. At one point, it will be difficult to keep track of the fees, because so many parties are involved and each has its own fee model. The fewer steps you take, the smaller your fee will be.

The issue of trust

Most people I talk to use a single bank for all operations. Yet they spread cryptos on multiple exchanges. Of these exchanges, too many are located in jurisdictions with low compliance standards and don’t even need a license of any sort. This means they are not subjected to any regulations or audit.

Solutions are starting to emerge

Where there’s a problem, there’s an oportunity. Companies and projects inside the community address these problems by different avenues. I will describe the ones that look the most promising in providing some pain relief for the community confronting with these problems.

The companies in this review are able to offer banking services combined with crypto services in one product and make banking with crypto an easy and pleasant experience.

Criteria to evaluate these products:

You can see the TRUST table below:

When you draw the line…

The best in terms of fees is Bitwala for small amounts. For bigger amounts, Morfin is better because the fees have a maximum limit. Wirex is a compromise between the two but comes with limited functionality and high ATM fees.

Best in terms of trust and compliance is Morfin, being the only one prepared for AML5 and AML on crypto. Along with Bitwala, Morfin is located in reputable countries in terms of banking regulation.

The ones built with community in mind are Babb, Morfin.io and Founders Bank.

The best in terms of peer to peer features are Bapp and Morfin.

Revolut has great pricing for fiat, but quite big for crypto. It doesn’t provide a crypto wallet at all.

I have to admit that Bitwala, and WireX are some great projects for the commuity. They lack peer-to-peer, but overall they are doing great.

Disclosure: I am one of the co-founders of Morfin.io. I tried to be as objective as possible in this review and I admire the projects and the founders of the projects reviewed in this article. I believe in the free market and in the beneficial results of a fair competition, especially for the community.

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