Image from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
It’s 2020 Jaskier, Geralt can do more with bitcoins than coins. Especially in Singapore. O’ Valley of Plenty? It’s right here. Singapore is home to one of the world’s first crypto banks, and its own central bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), both regulates crypto payment and licenses cryptocurrency firms. Payments made using digital tokens are also free from GST and Capital Gains tax. There’s about 10 (and increasing) Bitcoin ATMs in the city, and several cryptocurrency exchanges that are convenient to use. All of this makes it easier to be a bitcoin user in Singapore in terms of increased opportunities, better accessibility and increased security.
And who wouldn’t want to be a bitcoin user right now? The global blockchain market size is expected to reach $57 million by 2025, and the Bitcoin rates have dipped incredibly at the moment. On March 12, they fell by a staggering 55%. With the stock market collapse, there are folks looking to make use of that dip worldwide - 20 percent of all users for River Financial based in San Francisco, for example, signed up this month. For financial conservatives, it may look like a Conjunction of the Spheres, with buyers and sellers all being stranded together in a liquid universe - but the challenges that bitcoin users face in Singapore are not as dark as they seem.
1 - Identity verification process hassles
KYC processes can be a bit cumbersome for both buyers and sellers. While they help enforce better security, they can also take a bit of time that some users might like to bypass. If you’d rather have a quick, data-secure transaction without sticking out like a sore Witcher wherever you go, there are cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance you can use. These don’t ask for your ID verification. They do however fix a cap on the amount, or on the amount you can withdraw daily. There are also Bitcoin ATMs that do not require identification to buy Bitcoins.
2 - Mining isn’t worth it
Bitcoin mining is a method used by some to generate more bitcoins. With increased competition at the moment, it’s generally become a group effort for more chances of getting a reward, though you might find the odd solo miner. A particular problem with bitcoin mining is that it requires a constant high supply of electricity, and let’s face it, the electricity tariffs don’t look too great right now. Cloud mining and mining pools are a great alternative for this. These options allow you to use other people’s equipment or pool resources together, which means you can avoid the high costs incurred. Remember to do your research on cloud mining platforms, however, to ensure their safety. You don’t want to end up taking on Renfri’s gang in Blaviken market.
3 - High transactional fees and limits
Some coin networks can charge fees that make you reconsider making a Bitcoin transaction in the first place. To combat this, there are a few wallets that make it possible to have a low transaction fee by giving you the option to choose a customised transaction fee. Some, like SegWit, may also decrease the size of your transaction such that the Satoshi per byte of data rate becomes cheaper overall. When it comes to transaction limits, traditional exchanges generally tend to allow a low number of transactions. One recommendation is that large transactions (anywhere above 10,000 dollars) be made on an OTC platform, or exchanges that operate outside of conventional platforms (for example, with brokers). Check that the platform is registered, however, since the transparency on such platforms can be somewhat deceiving. It might be like finding a pie with no filling in it.
4 - Storing coins
Keeping coins safe can and should be a matter of concern. Holding them directly in a crypto exchange can mean losing all of it in case the exchange is hacked or goes bankrupt. In the words of Geralt, “Hmm”.
While you might already know about storing coins in your wallet, keep in mind that paper and hardware wallets might offer better security. Hardware wallets come with a private key that can be stored offline like a pen drive, and paper wallets generate keys that you can print or write down. Take extra care to keep both the key and the address of the wallet on the top of your mind, however. Losing either of them or entering the address inaccurately during a purchase can mean your Bitcoins are lost forever.
The world of Bitcoin can be a chaotic one, the currency being as volatile as it is. But with Singapore’s better consumer protection, fiat-crypto trade and internationally recognised crypto policies, it can be way easier to navigate. Make sure to decide if you want to hold on to your Bitcoins for a long-term investment, or actively trade them in the short term. Then keep an eye out on the larger market instead of getting carried away by the daily changes in price.
Be more than just a Witcher - be a Watcher.
(All good predictions rhyme, sorry)