Cryptocurrency for digital nomads – purchase made

Verification At Last

I’d completely given up on Kraken as a way to purchase bitcoin, after their non-response to the verification error that rendered their service completely unusable. I wasn’t exactly eager to start throwing my money at a company that can’t resolve what seems to be a simple bug.

I’d been on the verge of making a purchase via Bitstamp, but then read some reviews that gave me pause. Maybe they’re fine! They probably are. But I just chickened out at the last minute.

In the interim, I also briefly looked into Coinsquare, which seems like it’s probably an ok option for people based in Canada. But their verification process was a hassle too, so I never got verified there.

Then, out of the blue, I got an email stating that Kraken had indeed obtained some tissues for their issues and finally sorted out that bug.

 

Our dear friend Marco comes through at last. Cheers, Marco!

 

Sure look, we all had a long and eventful holiday season and find ourselves just getting back into the swing of things as January creaks to a close.

Anyways, I took the bait and went to verify dear Marco’s claims vis-a-vis verification.

 

Kraken Comes Through

Much to my surprise and delight, the verification door had been opened, and suddenly it was simple, painless, and quick getting to Tier 2:

That’s an incomplete list of the Tier 3 requirements, but for now Tier 2 suits my needs so I’ll forego giving them my passport for now.

After I submitted my date of birth and address (not even a document stating my address, just me typing it into the form), I got an email confirming I’d been verified for Tier 2 status almost immediately.

Caveat: whatever address you tell them needs to match the one for the bank you’re using to make your deposits, so choose carefully. I chose to use my Irish bank account so as to be able to make a nice, fee-free SEPA transfer. This is a massive improvement over the rubbish US sites that wanted you to make a US bank wire transfer, that your bank probably charges you USD $25 for. Yay, EU!

 

Deposit & Purchase

So I initiated my SEPA transfer, and waited with bated breath. (Aside: how much do you dislike when people spell it ‘baited’ breath? A lot? Me too.)

I was a little bit concerned, because they state in a few places that you need to include ‘kraken.com’ in your Reference ID, but my bank had a character limit so there wasn’t room for the full code, plus ‘kraken.com’. So I left it off.

The Reference code is a 16 digit code which identifies your account, and is safe to send. I hoped that not being able to include ‘kraken.com’ in the Reference field wouldn’t cause them to lose my payment.

Lo and behold, less than 24 hours later, I received an email saying the deposit had come through!

From there, it was really easy to make a purchase. You can specify the amount in XBT that you want to buy, or the total amount in fiat currency (in this case EUR) that you want to spend, and it calculates how much of a bitcoin that is.

Within minutes, the purchase had gone through and I became the proud owner of a small, and yet non-zero amount of bitcoin.

What’s more, it’s a process that should be easy to replicate so I can dollar*-cost-average in over time. (*Euro-cost-average, in this case?)

 

A Question of Fees

I’m very fee-conscious when it comes to investing. I’m ok with the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly vicissitudes that come with any fluctuating, market-based asset. But I don’t want to have to pay a fee every time I make a purchase.

Fortunately, it seems like if you find a trading platform that accepts SEPA transfers, and if you are in fact in possession of a euro-zone bank account, you can avoid fees on depositing fiat currency.

I also didn’t pay a fee to make my purchase of bitcoin, but that appears to be a January-only deal. It’d be nice if their fee schedule page didn’t show a bunch of zeroes, as though that were the normal state of affairs, though…

I’ll report back with what fee I was charged the next time I make a purchase.

 

Security Vs. Convenience

For now, I feel like Kraken has hit a sweet spot in terms of balancing the need for security with the need for us to maintain our sanity. Having to use a particular phone number for the 2FA each time you log in would be a pain for digital nomads who swap SIM’s depending on where they are. But it’s nice to have the added security of 2FA.

Enter Kraken’s system of choosing what kind of 2FA you want, and what you want it for. I haven’t seen this before, but I like it. You can add an additional password of your own choosing, or you can use Google Authenticator.

And you can choose which method you want for which function, such as general account login (which they strongly advise but don’t require), trading, funding, and setting up an account-recovery Master Key. Nice touch, guys.

 

So, it seems that the winner by default is Kraken, for now. They have a combination of reasonable verification, low fees, ease of use, and security which works for me. And it will be interesting to observe the bitcoin market more closely now that I have some skin in the game.

As always, this in no way constitutes tax or investment advice. Don’t take investment advice from strangers on the internet, be safe, keep fit, and have fun.

Sometimes, gifs are so necessary, you have to make them yourself. Take some inspiration from these great Canadians, and take a body break right now.

via GIPHY

 

Digital Nomad Gear Update

Gear Geek Update

I’m very hesitant to add any gear to my setup. I dislike carrying around too much crap and I really don’t need much to be happy, so all things considered, I’d almost always rather keep my money to be used in more freedom-enhancing ways.

However, I made a few key additions over the holidays, and so far I’m very happy with all of them. Some of them might even be of use to some of you beautiful globe-trotting souls.

Photo by Oscar Nilsson on Unsplash

One commonality I’ve noticed is, we digital nomads tend to be a combination of minimalist and gear-geeky. It makes sense. When we don’t own many physical possessions, and we carry around and interact with those we do own on a regular, visceral basis, they really need to justify their existence. They should serve their intended purpose with elegance and simplicity, be as lightweight and portable as possible, and generally be a pleasure to use. Is that so much to ask?

Not everything I own fits that description, but the below three items definitely do. They also happen to support my health and money-saving goals as well, so yay.

 

The best (only) portable standing desk in existence?

I’ll start off with the one I’m most excited about. This is one of those products that I’ve needed for years, and finally someone was kind enough to design it. I’m so glad I found out about it, I’m shocked that it’s not more widely used in our community, and I’m very happy to share it with you now.

It’s the Levit8 flat-folding, portable standing desk, and I’ve been using it every single day for over a month. I love it so much. Here’s why:

My current setup in rural Ireland.

Lightweight & Portable

The Levit8 folds up to around the size of my MacBook Air 13″. That means that it’s been ridiculously easy to take it with me wherever I take my computer. Which is everywhere.

I had it delivered to my sister’s place in Vancouver, used it there for a few weeks, then brought it back to Ireland and have been using it here ever since! I haven’t brought it to a coffee shop yet, and I can imagine that not every coffee shop would have a place where you could set it up and stand unobtrusively. But I would bet that nearly every Airbnb or coworking space would be conducive to setting up your own little standing workstation.

Then when you’re done, you neatly fold it up and scamper along your merry way, leaving awestruck converts to the standing-desk revolution in your wake. Maybe. Either way it will fit in whatever you already use to transport your laptop.

Elegant Design

I really like how it folds in such a clever way. It visually looks good. Much better than the printer paper boxes or whatever other junk I’d been scrounging up to put my laptop on.

One note about the design: while it’s easy to use once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it might take you a bit of practice to open it. If you’re me, you might make your boyfriend and your sister demonstrate multiple times before you finally get it.

Here’s a quick demo so you see what I mean:

Standing while Working makes me feel good and increases my productivity

I’ve been a standing desk devotee for a long time. I was one of the first weirdos to stand up in my former office in Seattle, and then I just used a cabinet that was the right height that happened to be near my cube. I’ve tried a few other solutions since then, but nothing that was this convenient and portable.

But the fact remains that sitting for many hours in a row just makes me feel gross. It’s been shown that it’s bad for our bodies, and I think that once most people get used to standing for all or part of their workday, they won’t want to go back to sitting.

I like standing almost 100% of the time, but I do take breaks to walk around or stretch. I also find I just naturally shift around on my feet so I’m in less of a static position than I would be if I were sitting. I’m also more aware of my posture and body positioning.

Best of all, I find I get into a flow state much more readily when I’m standing (and when I have good deep house music on). Aside: these are two things that some traditional offices discourage, because reasons. Fine. Quit that crappy job that’s bad for your body and mind, and use your improved productivity to go work for yourself. Win-win.

Designed by a team of rad Women

Scroll down on their Kickstarter page to see the design team. They’re based in Singapore. Rock it out, ladies.

reasonable Price

I’m actually kind of astonished at how affordable this product is. I got mine on Amazon, and while they were out of stock for a little while around the holidays, they appear to be in stock now.

If you like to stand and work, or even if you think you’d like to give it a go sometimes, this is well worth adding to your setup.

 

Portable Yoga Mat

One of the things that I do is, I do yoga. Maybe you do yoga too.

I don’t love renting mats wherever I go, because that adds up really quickly. But I also didn’t love carrying a rolled mat around with me all day. I’m usually carrying around enough as it is, and I really prefer to have only one bag to keep track of. So when my old travel mat wore out, I was excited to replace it with this one:

It fits in the bag I carry my laptop in, even with the Levit8 included. So I can just run around the city, work in a coffee shop, hop on and off transit with ease, and then go to a yoga class. Beautiful.

It’s a full-size mat, so if those work for you, so will this. It’s on the thinner side so if you’re sensitive on hard surfaces, be aware of that. And it’s not the stickiest material in the world either, but I use it with a towel on top of it for hot yoga, and it works great.

I’ll also be taking it with me on any trips longer than a week or so. It provides a space to get a workout in, stretch, or meditate, no matter where you are. Here’s to sane, healthy nomading.

 

Travel French Press

The other two products were the exact ones I bought and love, but this one I picked up in a supermarket in Vancouver. It’s not very different from this, and it is a handy way to have good coffee no matter where you are.

You know how when you’re staying in an Airbnb and they don’t have a coffee maker of any sort, and you’re just like: ughhhhhhh? Me too! I like this because it only requires hot water and ground coffee, and you can take it with you and rinse it out anywhere.

It’s also less waste and less expensive than buying so many coffees to-go.

 

So there you have it. I added three whole things to my worldly possessions, and they’re all in regular use.

Do you have any can’t-live-without-it gear that the world needs to know about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!