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Author Topic: Has anyone used Bitcoin to make an international fiat money transfer cheaper?  (Read 7333 times)
Vitalik Buterin
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April 01, 2012, 12:05:57 PM
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I know it's theoretically possible to do international money transfers with Bitcoin cheaper and faster by buying bitcoins locally, sending them and then cashing them out locally, avoiding the hassles of direct international money transfer, but has anyone managed to actually do this and save money?

Argumentum ad lunam: the fallacy that because Bitcoin's price is rising really fast the currency must be a speculative bubble and/or Ponzi scheme.
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niko
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April 01, 2012, 03:09:13 PM
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I use it successfully between the US (MtGox) and Canada (Virtex).  It's faster and cheaper than any alternative (exchanging at the bank, then either wiring it or buying and mailing a certified check). The only issues are

(1) price fluctuation within the hour it takes to confirm the BTC transaction

(2) recently there is some trade imbalance between the two exchanges that skew the exchange rate compared to regular fiat markets, and

(3) lack of legal framework that makes me a bit nervous. 

The first two issues may be problems or opportunities, depending on your situation. Either way, it should cancel out in the long run: sometime you gain a bit, sometime lose a bit.  All in all, I can vouch that Bitcoin works in real life, and works great.

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Yankee (BitInstant)
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Charlie 'Van Bitcoin' Shrem


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April 01, 2012, 04:01:33 PM
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Good question!

Alot of people use us for this, for example taking funds from mtgox usd into cryptoxchange aud, since its only $5 on crypto to do an australian transfer.

I think remittance is a big direction were going in, and by adding more deposit/withdrawal methods all over the world, and making it cheaper, this is where bitcoin will succeed.

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Bigpiggy01
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April 01, 2012, 06:42:59 PM
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Atm bitcoins are by far the easiest way to send money out of China where I'm located.

Here doing a wire involves physically going to the bank, standing in line for ages, filling out a bunch of idiotic forms and you're not even allowed to wire foreign companies from here without obtaining permits etc.

I light of that I mainly use BTC when I'm buying stuff from the US/UK.

fivemileshigh
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April 01, 2012, 06:44:10 PM
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Done it, euro to cdn via gox/cavirtex. Depending on the amount, it's not hugely cheaper though, and it can depend on the btc/fiat rates at the time.
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April 01, 2012, 06:51:37 PM
 #6

I guess this is only possible between countries where the charges for buying and selling BTC are lower than the international bank transfer fees, or where the buying and selling services are faster than the international transfer.

Within the EU, a bank transfer is not very fast, but the cost is very low. I believe the fee is about 0.5 USD if the transfer is made in EUR.

sonba
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April 01, 2012, 07:12:56 PM
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I guess this is only possible between countries where the charges for buying and selling BTC are lower than the international bank transfer fees, or where the buying and selling services are faster than the international transfer.

Within the EU, a bank transfer is not very fast, but the cost is very low. I believe the fee is about 0.5 USD if the transfer is made in EUR.
SEPA is usually for free, so within Europe there is limited woth. I've been using it, though, to convert money into USD which has been cheaper than what my bank offered if you have some time to wait for a good moment.
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April 01, 2012, 07:35:17 PM
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I keep wallets in multiple currencies on the Gox. That side of things seems to work well. It's just getting money out of a financial dictatorship like Australia that's a b*tch. Tens of dollars per international transaction, regardless of whether the currency gets converted or not.
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http://bitmynt.no


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April 01, 2012, 07:48:14 PM
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I know it's theoretically possible to do international money transfers with Bitcoin cheaper and faster by buying bitcoins locally, sending them and then cashing them out locally, avoiding the hassles of direct international money transfer, but has anyone managed to actually do this and save money?
Yes, often.  I have a bank account in Germany with regular expenses, and it has been more than a year since the last time I transferred money to it from the bank.  I don't only save money, I usually sell the coins at 5% profit.

Sjå http://bitmynt.no for veksling av bitcoin mot norske kroner.  Trygt, billig, raskt og enkelt sidan 2010.
I buy with EUR and other currencies at a fair market price when you want to sell.  See http://bitmynt.no/eurprice.pl
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April 01, 2012, 10:00:23 PM
 #10

From Europe (SEPA zone) to the US:
1/ Wire transfer euros to bitcoin-central.net: cost zero and takes about a day
2/ Buy bitcoins on bitcoin-central (cost zero fee)
3/ Send bitcoins: recipient sells them on mtgox and cashes out via Dwolla (cost 25 cts takes about a day)

Total Cost: liquidity spread + 25 cts and two days

If I do the same with banks it will cost me 16.50 euros and at least 5 days (I must write a letter to my bank: after that all I can do is hope they wont screw up, which they do quite often).

blablahblah
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April 01, 2012, 11:06:20 PM
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From Europe (SEPA zone) to the US:
1/ Wire transfer euros to bitcoin-central.net: cost zero and takes about a day
2/ Buy bitcoins on bitcoin-central (cost zero fee)
3/ Send bitcoins: recipient sells them on mtgox and cashes out via Dwolla (cost 25 cts takes about a day)

Total Cost: liquidity spread + 25 cts and two days

If I do the same with banks it will cost me 16.50 euros and at least 5 days (I must write a letter to my bank: after that all I can do is hope they wont screw up, which they do quite often).
For me the main cost was that the bank would quote a really bad exchange rate with a wide spread, thus hiding their true fee.
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April 01, 2012, 11:21:34 PM
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I want to do this for my biz , but  there's just not enough liquidity in the CNY market.
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April 02, 2012, 01:27:50 AM
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I know it's theoretically possible to do international money transfers with Bitcoin cheaper and faster by buying bitcoins locally, sending them and then cashing them out locally, avoiding the hassles of direct international money transfer, but has anyone managed to actually do this and save money?

I used to do this regularly... and as a means of making money. Essentially by doing what you've explained (and taking all costs into consideration) you can regularly transfer money in a very cheap way, a lot of times free... and occasionally in your favour.

I had various scripts to monitor BTC prices within multiple exchanges, with some quick (fee adjusted) excel calcs you will notice that very frequently the exchange rate through BTC will beat the Forex rate. Place the right trades simultaneously and you'll have yourself a successful deal. Make sure you have BTC and Fiat in both brokers to ensure you don't have to wait for any money/btc transfers to happen to take advantage of a good rate.

Stephen Gornick
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April 02, 2012, 06:22:32 AM
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I used to do this regularly...

Is that something you no longer do because there isn't much price delta between those exchanges and thus not as profitable to arbitrage anymore?

PatrickHarnett
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April 02, 2012, 06:31:40 AM
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Yes.  Both on some large (> US$1000) and small (< US10) transactions.  Given fixed fees are $40+ and conversion rates are often 4%+ as well, it works.
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April 02, 2012, 07:26:11 AM
 #16

I used to do this regularly...

Is that something you no longer do because there isn't much price delta between those exchanges and thus not as profitable to arbitrage anymore?

There is a delta Stephen... and it is worthwhile, I no longer do it for various reasons, some technical and some personal:

From a technical perspective
  • Profits only tend to be one way, eg converting USD -> GBP (check the currency pair yourself). If thats all you want to do then great
  • Following on from the point above. To successfully make money from arbitrage you have to convert the GBP back into USD usually through the Fiat money markets. The difference in the BTC conversion exchange rate and the FIAT market exchange rate will be your profit.
  • ...continuing from the point above. To initiate the trade involves a fairly complex process of placing the USD->BTC buy, placing the BTC->GBP sell and placing the opposing fiat GBP->USD arbitrage trade in the fiat market.
  • on the plus side, if you're technically capable of handling the above, then I regularly saw 5% profit margins per trade (and still do)

Personally
  • One of the currencies I bought was AUD. Recently the broker I used to sell BTC for AUD got scammed and has shut down (WorldBitcoinExchange) taking with it some of my money
  • I have a full time job and as much as I'd love carry on running forex arbitrage through bitcoin, I can't. I was 1/2 way towards implementing an automated system to do this but it isn't an easy or simple task.


minorman
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April 02, 2012, 07:51:27 AM
 #17

I lived in the us until recently, and my preferred way to transfer money from europe to my us (credit union!!) account was via bitcoin. From a fee -and time-perspective, it blows bank wires out of the water (not to mention checks and western union which are complete jokes).

Seriously, if the "average joe" stationed abroad knew about bitcoin we would have 100 times our current volume on the exchanges (and the banks would be lobbying their employees (politicians) even harder to kill the exchanges).

“Banking doesn’t involve fraud, banking IS fraud.”
- Tim Madden
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