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.
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.