Review of Coinbase, Kraken, Poloniex
Are you kidding me? There are no easy ways to purchase cryptocurrencies, and especially not fast. Today you decided to buy. Well, fuggedaboutit! It ain’t gonna happen. Don’t believe the headline, “Buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium in 5 minutes.” Now that’s fake news. Not even close to the reality. Consider yourself lucky if you get it done in a week to 10 days. While people are making millions and billions and trillions you’ll only sit there and stew.
The whole process seems to be much like a MENSA exam. If this then that, but only on Wednesdays in July, when it’s cloudy, after midnight. Only the very highly developed intellects actually make it through the maze into the cryptocurrency trading world. This might be purposeful as markets are easier to manipulate when there are fewer people in them.
It’s a multi-step process. First you have to get a “wallet,” pretty easy actually. Then you have to register with an exchange and get verified. Getting vetted by the FBI is easier, even if you’re a conservative Republican.
Most exchanges won’t take credit cards or checks. Bank wires seem to be the only way to make a deposit although some exchanges are attempting to take credit cards in a very clunky manner ($400 maximum at Coinbase).
Did I just mention Coinbase? You’ll read everywhere that it’s the “easiest and most popular Exchange.” They have so much business and have so much money flying in all different directions, Customer Service is an ugly stepchild.
A friend of mine wired $6,000 to Coinbase which was promptly lost. After several weeks of Customer Service silence he emailed them with the subject line: “From John Doe, Esq.” Funny, that very same afternoon he received a phone call from the Compliancy Office who told him they would find the money within 10 days. 10 days?! I guess it takes that long to figure out which hole in the ground it was buried in.
Losing bank wires? Anybody ever heard of that within a legitimate operation?
Personally, I couldn’t get the Coinbase software to accept my drivers license in four different versions. I scanned both sides. You can’t get a clearer photo than a scan. One of their suggestions was to use their phone app. What they don’t tell you, until you go through the whole process to the end, is that you need version 10.0 or higher. My phone was version 7.7. So that was a nice waste of time thank you very much.
Next up, Coinbase offered a (lost in the cloud) drop box to leave photos, utility bills, mortgage statements, etc. I did that a week ago. I emailed Customer Service asking politely how long a drop box submission would take to be approved. So far I’ve heard nothing. I’m not holding my breath.
You know that hilarious commercial where an excited dog is screaming into the camera “Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!”? Now picture a frustrated human screaming at the computer monitor “C’mon! C’mon! C’mon!” That was me trying to get verified at Coinbase. That will be you. And it’s not hilarious.
Then there is Kraken. Good luck trying to crack in. It took me 20 minutes to find an accepted password. I kept getting the error message: do not use “alphanumeric characters.” But the password the software accepted DID accept letters but not numbers. Only MENSA members would have known that.
Then I was transferred to a login page where it asked for my key which they had just emailed me. I copied and pasted this very long key and … “C’mon! C’mon! C’mon!” … lo and behold, I got the error message: invalid key. What a thrilling half hour I spent with Kraken accomplishing nothing.
So I moved on to Poloniex. The first thing that greets you at Poloniex is the following message: “Due to several major exchanges closing their doors to new registrants, we are experiencing a surge in new sign-ups. In some cases, profile verifications may take up to several weeks.”
Oh great, “several major exchanges closing their doors” is just what I want to hear before I register. Surprisingly, the sign-up actually went pretty flawlessly in about 10 minutes. I received a very optimistic message that said, “Most verifications are completed within a few minutes, but some can take up to a few days.” Maybe MENSA can offer a definition of “a few days.” So far I’ve waited “a few minutes” and nothing has happened yet. And now it’s been five days and still nothing, not a peep.
Poloniex strongly suggests that you set up “Two Factor Authentication.” Whether or not this is a factor in getting verified is clearly unclear. Anyway, 2FA as it’s called, means that you have to set it up on your phone in a five step (MENSA) process so that you, as the user, can verify activities with your password and a passcode sent to your phone. It’s a 007 thing. Get Smart and use the phone on the heel of your shoe for 3FA. Better check the version before you start out.
So here were just three of the most widely used “exchanges” to purchase cryptocurrencies. Not so easy and not so fast. I began this odyssey ten days ago and I’m still not at my destination. If getting frozen or looped upon ever-present software glitches and being ignored by support is your thing, you’ll have a blast registering with a cryptocurrency exchange, any exchange, pick one, it doesn’t matter.
And don’t forget, when you’re all done with wallets, verifications, deposits, and authentications, you’ll have the pleasure of buying any cryptocurrency you’d like, all the while paying sky high commissions. Now, all these companies will tell you that security in the cryptocurrency market is of upmost importance so it costs a lot (i.e. fees), and so any small inconveniences getting verified is for your own protection. Well, I say, “Thank you sir. May I have another.”