With crypto, a client transferred me $5k in 120 seconds
Person: “Ughh. Crypto again. Have you heard of the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried? He got “fried,” didn’t he?”
Me: “Gosh, that’s the lamest you’ve been. Well, the lamest I’ve been since I am actually writing this.”
Person: “What? I don’t exist?!”
Me: “No, no. We’re not doing the whole hypothetical conversation of you becoming a self-aware A.I., not in this article.”
Person: “Fine. So crypto sucks, man. You know it. You can’t even withdraw the $120 you forgot about in Blockfi.”
Me: “There are always scandals and mistakes that are done, and that will be done. I predict that a couple of other exchanges similar to FTX will follow. That doesn’t mean crypto is doomed.”
If you’re reading one of my articles for the first time, I am Al Anany. (Pleasure…)
I’ve been a business consultant for quite a while, helping startups raise investments and prepare for their investment rounds. In my work, I collaborate with clients and other freelancers to help me with related tasks.
I do not confine myself to a specific region. For example, I might need a coder in India or New Zealand. Alternatively, the designer could be here in Switzerland or Malaysia.
When I need something, I need the process to be seamless. These freelancers need funds, and those clients need to pay. Hence, speed is of extreme importance. So I’ve been testing different FinTech products for years. Here are some that I tried:
- Western Union
- Bank Transfer — From my swiss UBS one.
- Crypto — Through Binance or Coinbase.
I will not review every application. Yet, I’ll provide you with my one-line verdict on each.
PayPal — Not everywhere, and whopping commissions.
I love Paypal in Switzerland. It’s pretty easy to use, and transfers from the account to my bank account sometimes arrive on the same day. Yet, they do take quite a high currency conversion fee.
Yet, many of my freelancers do not like to receive money on PayPal for those commissions, as well as the fact that in some countries, you can not actually withdraw these funds to your bank account.
Payoneer — Meh.
I used it when I was working on Upwork. It’s okay. Their commissions are acceptable, per se. But their process is too slow. For instance, a transfer from one account to another could take 24–48 hours to get approved. Then it’ll take a few days to reach a bank account. So, meh…
Revolut — I had my hopes on you.
Revolut has a hype of almost converting into the super app Elon Musk dreams of. I was very excited and used it to transfer funds from my account to a freelancer in Turkey. It took three days, and it was quite seamless.
Then I asked them to enroll me in a business account so that I would use them instead of Stripe. Their commissions are lower. They sent me a cool black card. I was pretty happy with them.
So I transferred another $241 to that freelancer in Turkey for another job. Then his bank started screwing up, thus leading us to cancel the transaction. Then Revolut said they’ll begin the recall process. It has been over 90 days. I don’t entirely blame Revolut. However, in terms of my business operations, I can’t depend on it anymore as this might happen again.
Wise— Not too fast.
I haven’t experimented with Wise numerous times. I’ve received a $5k payment there once, which was an acceptable process. I’ve also sent hundreds to another international freelancer. It’s similar to Revolut but takes more time, from my experience. The freelancer had to wait around ten days for the money to appear in their account.
Western Union — I had to visit their office a few times physically.
The one-liner sums it up.
Bank Transfer— It’s what you’d expect it to be.
They do not overpromise, but they deliver. My swiss bank, UBS, is quite comfortable in operations. I did various transfers. However, out of 10 transfers, one of them is hanging for over 60 days because they’re verifying some information about the recipient’s name (really?)
He was a London-based friend who I had to pay back for the money he spent while we were on holiday. So it should be quite straightforward.
Whether Bankman-Fried destroys his empire in a few days or CZ becomes the richest CEO does not affect my operations. So I’ll keep the news for my morning reads. As a method of transfer, I do not get disappointed every time I use it. It has, as per my records, a 100% success rate.
- A client transferred $5k recently to my Coinbase wallet.
- Another transferred an additional $3k to my Binance wallet.
The day after, the money was in my account. Let’s be honest, though, if I had received those funds on Blockfi, for example, I would not have been able to withdraw it right now and would be complaining.
At this stage, I trust Binance and Coinbase, but could they turn out to be the next FTX? Definitely.
This does not change the fact that this method is still by far my most preferred. I would recommend diversification in payment options if you’re doing similar work. Use Revolut on some occasions, while on others, it would be wise to use Binance.
Obviously, if the recipient has the same bank as me, I wouldn’t think of Binance or Revolut. Instead, I’d do an internal transfer that should be instant.
I’d bet on Binance and would go all in, but it has been in our world for only five years.
Here are some recommendations that I follow when I accept crypto transfers.
1. I never accept the funds in a volatile currency, or I immediately convert.
For example, if your client does a USDT transfer to your account, sometimes the fees are quite high. On the other hand, Solana or Litecoin might be cheaper.
So what I do is I initially get the funds in Litecoin, for example, then convert it to USDT or USDC. Since it probably will take a small amount of time to reach my bank account. However, you can’t guarantee price fluctuations during that time.
2. Make sure that the crypto account is a corporate one.
Regulated or unregulated, it wouldn’t hurt to make a corporate account instead of a personal one for legal purposes. They usually require some papers, but it’s not that difficult.
3. Check the legalities of your country.
Some still consider this illegal. For instance, in Egypt, if you engage in any crypto transaction, you could be fined up to $400,000. (Yes, you saw that right.)
4. Finally, know when you’re investing and when you’re not.
Tesla invested some money in BTC. El Salvador is doing that as well. But they have studied this decision. What you shouldn’t do is, “Oh, I received a transfer in Solana. I’ll just keep it there for a few months. Why not?”
That does not count as investing. This is more of speculation of your company’s funds, which is unwise. Solana, for instance, dropped 91% from its price a year ago. So, if you were thinking of delaying transferring your client’s retainer to your bank account because, “why not?”, then think again.
If you want to invest in specific volatile assets, you need to heavily do your homework and possibly consult a financial advisor or an analyst.
I usually don’t engage readers, but I am quite curious — have any of the above fintech tools failed you before?
I’m Al Anany, a business consultant in Zurich, Switzerland. I believe in the power of delivering value to you, the reader. You’ll find me on most social platforms by simply googling my name. Follow me if you’re interested in the value of my content.