Posted by Don L on June 19, 2017
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Published on June 19th, 2017 | by Don L

35

How I Sold My Ripples (Cryptocurrency)

Ripple Transaction Scale Graphic (Source: https://ripple.com/xrp/)

Short Summary

This post details how I sold my Ripples (XRP).

Long Introduction

Signup Bonuses

I love signup bonuses.

And often reference the credit card and bank signup bonus pages.

I figure that’s where you get your largest return on investment in the signup bonus game.  [The most bounce to the ounce, More bling for less cha-ching?, …]

But when it comes to free money, I seldom discriminate.  I’ll take a look at just about anything that doesn’t involve a shipping box.

Virtual Currencies

Fitting nicely within that no box category are virtual currencies.

I am not an expert on virtual currencies (digital money, cryptocurrencies, …), can’t even pretend to define some of the terms: blockchains, hash algorithms, consensus ledgers, … . But I figure that doesn’t really matter, I’ll focus on the promotions and leave the rest to the smarter people of the world.  I mean did you really have to understand how the Federal Reserve System worked to participate in the US Mint deal?

Anyway, Vinh (MpD) posted on a Coinbase deal in the past1.  Essentially it worked out to about $50 free in bitcoin (though some readers encountered problems).  Later he followed up with a post on how good a deal it was (at this point the price of Bitcoin had more than doubled – making it a $100 signup promo).  And I have to say thanks Vinh, because as the price of Bitcoin has continued to rise that original $50 signup promo is now worth over $500 (as of 2017-06-14 for 0.232 BTC).

Did I predict the Bitcoin price explosion?  Absolutely not, 100% dumb luck.  But it’s a nice example of potential value to be had outside of our traditional bread and butter of bank account and credit card signup bonuses.

Ripples

But anyway, this post isn’t about Bitcoin, it’s about Ripples!

I can’t recall how I came across the bonus, but back in May 2013 – Open Coin/Ripple did a giveaway of some of the digital currency that they had created – Ripples (XRP).

Awesome – 1,000 ripples – I was rich to the tune of about $5 USD($0.005/XRP).

I then forgot about my Ripples, checking in about yearly (to update the points spreadsheet) and at that interval never really saw much price movement at all – in fact as late as March of 2017 my Ripples were still worth about the same amount as when I received them back in 2013.

But recently a powerful (and completely mysterious to me) force has boosted the price of Ripples to $0.254/XRP [as of 2017-06-15].

Along the way, I also received another 500 Ripples for identity verification.

So just through time and chance, I was sitting on a Ripple investment worth close to $400.

Selling my Ripples

Well, I’m not much of a student of the markets, but I figure the 30-50x growth rate over the last few months might not be sustainable long term.  The future may be Ripples … but then again … the future may not be Ripples, so I figured it might be prudent to take some money off the table.

The main problem was that I had no clue how to sell ripples for (still my currency of choice) USD.

GateHub

Also along the way (January 2016) Ripple pivoted their business model (to focus on Bank-to-Bank transactions) and transferred my ripples to a company called GateHub.

GateHub appears to be one of the bigger exchanges for trading between XRP and USD and seems reputable (though reputations are based on short track records in the cryptocurrency space).  So I could complete my trade on the GateHub exchange.  But there were a few downsides:

  • GateHub is UK based so they would add a $15 international wire transfer fee to get my USD back to my US Bank Account.
  • And more importantly to me, I had never verified my identity with Gatehub.  So the prospect of uploading my passport information seemed a little scary (given that attacks on virtual currency exchanges are not an unusual occurrence [that’s where the (digital) money is])

Coinbase

Because of Vinh’s deal, I was already verified with Coinbase, a US based virtual currency exchange, so I figured that would be a convenient option.  No additional identity risk, and Coinbase would allow me to ACH out my USD funds for free.

In my scenario though one problem remained, Coinbase doesn’t trade XRP – (as of 2017-06-15 Coinbase only offers trades in bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin).

Shapeshift

So I needed an intermediary service to convert my Ripples into something that Coinbase would trade for USD.

To make the conversion I used a service called Shapeshift.  Shapeshift allows the trading of digital currencies without an account (no identification required).  The platform only allows trades in cryptocurrencies, so no conversions to fiat/government issued currencies are possible.

I decided to convert my Ripples (XRP) first to Bitcoin (BTC), and then my BTC to US Dollars (USD).

I sent ripples to Shapeshift from my GateHub Account, and then Shapeshift sent bitcoins to my Coinbase account.  Once the bitcoins arrived at my Coinbase account, I sold them for US Dollars and transferred the funds to my US Bank account.

It might sound a little complicated, but the Shapeshift interface is actually pretty intuitive.  I simply added my Coinbase bitcoin wallet’s public address as the destination address, and my GateHub ripple wallet’s public address as the refund/failure address and hit start transaction.  Shapeshift provided a ripple address to send payment to, which I did through the GateHub interface, and that was it.  My bitcoins arrived at my Coinbase account almost instantly.

Like Reward/Loyalty/(Transferable Points) Currencies?

I figure virtual/crypto currencies shares some similarities to the reward/loyalty currencies that we like to collect.  Perhaps the same skill set is valuable in this space too – I mean the portfolios of reward currencies and redemption strategies I have seen posted often boggle my mind (here’s a Stefan RTC example on Copa Miles).

Did I get the best price?

Almost certainly not.  I added extra fees buying and selling bitcoin as an intermediate step.  I also didn’t shop around among digital currency exchanges for the best prices/spreads.

My main focus was to sell ripples quickly with the resources that I already had access to.

Community Feedback

We would love to hear your ideas in the comments.

  • Did you get in on this deal? or similar digital currency deals?
  • Are you still finding promos in this space?
  • Or what new spaces/technologies do you think might be ripe for marketing bonuses (with potentially large upsides)?
  • Are PotCoins the answer?
  • Did I sell my Ripples, or did I lose my Marbles?
  • What did I do wrong?

Or you can ping me at anotherdonaldson@gmail.com

Warnings

(In addition to all the standard warnings) this is not financial or legal advice.

Virtual Currencies:

  • are extremely volatile and may lose significant value over short periods of time
  • may not have well established rules within the legal, regulatory, and tax systems
  • may have all sorts of other risks – including but not limited to technical and governance risks

This post is incomplete and contains errors, please let me know where I’ve made a mistake to help improve this community resource.

Final Notes

All the best!

The Current Coinbase Deal

The current Coinbase deal is weak:

  • The bonus is only $10 and trading fees will eat almost all of that
  • And more importantly the price of bitcoin is very volatile, you could lose a significant percentage on your bitcoin investment over very short time periods – much more than the value of the bonus.

So I would only recommend the current signup bonus – to those looking to get into the virtual currency space regardless of the promotion and those willing to accept the risks.  If so, then a free $10 in bitcoins might be valuable.  Appreciate any consideration for using my referral link ($10 to both sides, [more details]).  Here is the DoC Coinbase referral page if you would like to share your Coinbase referral link.

Sensitive Banks

Chase

Adam reports that he was unable to use his Chase credit card to make a purchase on Coinbase.  Some other DPs from the Internet: #1, #2

  • Probably not surprising for Chase which also has problems with prepaid cards, MO payments of credit cards, …
  • Probably best to not use a bank where you earn ongoing credit card and bank bonus (probably like Chase) or your primary checking account.

I think some are terming this behavior as de-risking.

I haven’t had any issues depositing/withdrawing with a PNC Checking Account.

Footnotes

1 Coinbase is a digital asset exchange company per Wikipedia.  DoC posted on a smaller, earlier, targeted Coinbase giveaway too.

2 $5 USD based on the earliest price I can find on https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/ripple/ around $0.005/XRP

 



35 Responses to How I Sold My Ripples (Cryptocurrency)

  1. Evan says:

    Crypto discussion on this blog? Interesting. Btw I think you did well, however if I were in your shoes, I’d probably keep a small amount of Ripples just in case it goes higher.

    • Evan says:

      Btw, if it is OK to post our Coinbase referral links, here’s mine

      [link removed]

      for $10 worth of BTC.

      • Don L says:

        Maybe we should do the dedicated referral link page.

        I’ll ask Will/Chuck for help to see if they have a template available for that.

      • deerseason says:

        Evan, can you do a quick rundown of how this works for someone who’s never played with crypto before? I sign up for coinbase, I buy $100 in BTC, you and I get $10 in BTC. What is required for transactions (ID, SSN, bank account, do I need to sign up for any other accounts), and are there fees for buying, selling and liquidating? If I wanted to just buy and sell immediately for the purposes of getting the $10 bonus (minus the risk of the currency fluctuating, obviously), how much time/effort would that cost me?

        I’d be more than happy to use your referral if this sounds appealing.

        • Evan says:

          To be honest I don’t remember exactly the details for signing up. You definitely need to link a bank account as cc have higher fees. I’m not sure if you need to provide your SSN. The fee for buying with a bank account is 1.49%, which is quite steep and they also mark up the price. You can if you want make the initial $100 purchase to get the sign up bonus, but after that I wouldn’t buy directly on Coinbase. Instead, you can use their sister company, GDAX, which is an exchange. You use the same sign-in credentials but you can buy at market price and the fees are at most 0.3%. I think however you do need to verify your account to be able to trade on GDAX, so you need to upload you DL (I don’t think there’s a workaround to that).

          Also keep in mind, when you buy on Coinbase, you essentially lock in the price, but your crypto is going to be delivered in about a week. On GDAX, we can buy instantly (instant delivery), but you need to already have USD in your GDAX or Coinbase account and transfers from your bank also take about a week.

          Finally, if you decide to seriously invest in crypto you should also have a way to remove it from the exchange. The best options are hardware wallets, like Ledger Nano S or Trezor, but those are very hard to find right now. There are other options like paper wallets or smartphone/desktop wallets, you should look into those to see what’s best. It certainly a whole new world.

        • Evan says:

          And I guess I missed the point of your question, but you probably got it from my long reply: I would certainly NOT get into this just for the $10. There is a lot more potential in crypto than that. Even if you buy just $100, it makes absolutely no sense to sell it right away. If you hold it for a few weeks/months it is certainly going to make you more money.

          • deerseason says:

            Thanks! I don’t think I would’ve just done it for the 10 dollars, it was more about how long the process would take if I wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

            I’d take the 10 dollar bonus as a cover for the fees I’d be incurring to dip $100 into the crypto pool, and plan on holding it there.

            Your longer explanation still seemed complicated (no more complicated than CC churning, though)… so let’s simplify my scenario… I sign up for coinbase via your link, and I wanna hold the BTC for, say, at least 3 months.

            Sounds like I’ll need a week for the transaction to clear regardless of whether I buy from Coinbase or GDax. Coinbase at 1.49% plus a markup would still only be like, what, less than 5 dollars of a fee? That might be worth it to save the trouble of uploading a DL, which I hate having to do.

            So then, 3 months later, my BTC’s been sitting in Coinbase, what do I need to do and spend to put it back in my bank account, and how long would it take?

          • Evan says:

            Deerseason: I just checked and it seems that transactions between $50-$200 have a $3 flat fee to buy or sell (that must be new, 1.49% applies to amounts > $200), so it probably makes more sense to buy $200 than just $100. If you decide you want to sell after so much time, it’s the same process with the same fees. The money should be in your bank 4-5 days later.

          • adam d says:

            Coinbase has instant buys for credit card, and checking accounts now (new feature). You have to be verified before purchasing. submitting pictures of Drivers license etc.

        • NinjaX says:

          like Evan said, if you are asking this question, then you are not ready for crypto. but dont let me deter you. go do your own research and figure it out. its too complex to explain in one post.

          due to the explosion of BTC, now EVERYONE is asking “me-too” FOMO type questions. no different then your recent AUG 2016 CSR event followed up by the CIP Office VGC/AGC/Venmo/RentPayAllDay event which just leads to Centurion being a zoo.

          however, unlike points, more people in crypto is actually a very good thing. the problem is, most lose money or get it stolen.

          just do research and decide.

    • Don L says:

      Evan, thanks – yeah just offering up a few other signup bonus ideas, see if any interest the DoC Community.

      I only sold half of my Ripples; sorry that’s not very clear in the post.

  2. adam d says:

    Should have kept your xrp. I just bought $500 worth. Easiest and most secure place to buy is bitstamp…unless you want to day-trade cyptocurrency its best to hold and wait, I bought 1btc for $332 in may ’15, but the bitcoin ship has sailed somewhat but etherium and litecoin are the way to go, along with ripple which is about 25cents now. the complicated part is to how you choose to store it, hot wallet,cold wallet, coinbase vault etc…also worth bringing up coinbase is the only exchange under an irs discloser inquiry, and coinbase sent emails out about not storing your cryptocurrencies on the exchange.

    I feel that cryptocurrency is too deep to get involved on this blog but for a datapoint I was able to pay with visa/mc on coinbase and bitstamp for purchases. Citibank flagged it as fraud but BofA had no problems. No exchange will accept american express unless they accept paypal. These exchanges also will not accept gift cards as a form of payment either. Fee is usually 3-4% for credit cards. Im am using this investment to meet minimum spends.

  3. NinjaX says:

    yea. like Evan said, i have no clue what youre trying to get at with this post. kinda out of scope IMHO, but no harm since you have done other interesting posts and doc can do whatever he feels like with his blog so all good. glad you had some fun with crypto.

    i see a few readers are into crypto. nice. i would be interested from a poll or a survey to see how many churners are also into crypto. im always interested to hear about the kinds of people in this game. i do know we have many software developers and coders which could easily point to crypto and cyber security. always cool to talk to those people.

    anyway, what you did there has some similarities to this game with points/miles but make no mistake. you are in the realm of FX and trading currency pairs. has nothing to do with vacations or flying F/J. altho you could argue that USD fiat profits leads to vacations.

    instead of a “community resource”, this should just be your OP ED piece. crypto is probably too “boring” for most people and its way way too complex to explain in a single post. there are many 200% dedicated blogs on crypto already. youre not in that space.

    So to just comment on your 2 questions:
    Did I sell my Ripples, or did I lose my Marbles?
    – its a personal choice. but you sold too early when XRP is still growing. yes, you lost your balls.

    What did I do wrong?
    – you didnt look into crypto exchanges similar to the NYSE or the NASDAQ. you just went through the most expensive one way transmutation to get your money out. again, personal choice, but your rate was probably terrible. also, you deposited BTC laced USD fiat into your bank account. thats a mistake. BTC = Drug Dealer Money Order. Banks shut you down for BTC related transactions. Dont make a habit of that.

    the blockchain is the future of decentralized financial services without borders. consider yourself lucky to be part of early history with your share of XRP and BTC. instead of closing out your positions, you should have added to it. like others have said, look into ETH and LTC.

    churning can not be compared to the complexities of crypto FX trading. even simply investing in BTC is complex when most people dont even put passwords on their damn phone.

    • Evan says:

      “also, you deposited BTC laced USD fiat into your bank account. thats a mistake. BTC = Drug Dealer Money Order. Banks shut you down for BTC related transactions. Dont make a habit of that.”

      That’s certainly exaggerated. Bitcoin is not drug dealer money, a lot of everyday people buy it to invest or use for purchases. I also don’t think a bank would shut you down for withdrawing from Coinbase. Do you have any DPs to back this up?

    • Don L says:

      “Lost my Balls” might be fair. I’ll always been very risk adverse though, so maybe I never had any; geez, that sounds worse 🙂

      Echoing, Evan – would be interested if you had any adverse action DPs from banks. I think the space is maturing a lot and Coinbase is legit (the IRS data request, and I think they just hired a formal federal prosecutor being examples), but probably can’t hurt to use a temporary bank bonus account going forward – keep whatever is left of my family jewels safe.

      • NinjaX says:

        being risk adverse is great. means you dont lose everything and keep ur balls intact. haha.

        in any case, just be sure to stay away from all the major banks and you will be OK. there are many forums and huge communities (including reddit) dedicated to crytpo. you can search for DPs there, but its important to remember that its still the Wild Wild West.

        established financial institutions will never be OK with transactions associated with Dark Web activity.

    • adam d says:

      NinjaX, whats your take on Golem and more well known monero?…the retirement kind of money to be had on btc,eth,and ltc is long gone so trying to find a up and comer. Might throw a few hundred on golem and see what happens in 5yrs. I stink at programming and never tried to get into cryptocurrency until last month really, bought 4 ethereum at $80 and it 4x in a month…cryptocurrency profits are to be had now even if the early adopters made the massive profits already.

      • NinjaX says:

        GNT is next IMHO. Watch it very carefully.

        For any alt coin, you have to study everything about it. the team and what they are bringing to the table with their project. cryptocurrency space changes too quickly and the community is massive. there would be no way I can write everything on this post. its just like if you asked me “what do you think of UR vs MR?” well thats a tough one man, but the cryptocurrency space is even more complex so just go study.

        XMR is a very close second. the problem is that the government will never be OK with it. Snowden would love XMR. the NSA will hate it. and we all know where Snowden is chillin right now. Russia. you dont want to invest too much in drug lord money, but that doesnt mean you cant make short term day trades. you can be very profitable due to the volatility.

        you can still make money with the godfather BTC and kids like ETH and LTC. the only issue is that you need more money to do so. no different than the equities market where AMZ now trades over $1k despite lower close.

        bottom line is that you gotta study and be damn OBSESSED with it. if you are then you will know whats up. from that aspect, its like the points game.

        • Chris says:

          Where are you finding a majority of your reading? I have been mainly using reddit but I am not certain if their are better forums.

  4. Trevor C says:

    Another crypto to look into might be XLM. Stellar Lumens. There are a lot of interesting things there (and some cool projects they’re working on), but the reason to look into this now is especially if you own any BTC. They’re giving away lumens to all holders of BTC in the next month. See here: https://www.stellar.org/blog/bitcoin-claim-lumens-2/

    There’s obviously no telling if they’re going to be worth anything or not, but I’m hoping for the best. Like the author of this post, I received around 10k lumens by signing up a couple years ago… at the time it was worth $10-20, now it’s $400. Lumens are currently just worth a few cents a piece. Maybe they stay there, maybe they crash into zero. But some people have seen their value increasing to a dollar or more within a couple years. I don’t claim to know the answer to that question though!

  5. Rob Arias says:

    Interesting, are there any other crypto services with sign up bonuses? I’ve been looking at getting into crypto for a while now and bonuses like this would make it a lot better

    • Don L says:

      Thanks, Rob I’ll try and put together a page with the current bonuses I can find and tips submitted by readers.

      Most of the bonuses are probably going to be fairly small, but I sort of look at them like traditional lottery tickets with a good chance of being worthless, but a small chance of taking off.

      Some cryptos can be traded for bitcoin, so another route might be to do a few bonuses to build up an investment in BTC.

      I’ll start exploring the space more and report back.

  6. Adam D says:

    Just called chase after having a problem verifying my cc, Coinbase is red-flagged and can;t use chase cc to make purchases. I was able to purchase with bitstamp after calling in, but their charge is 8% instead of coinbases 4%. BofA CC works for Coinbase, F chase.

    • Adam D says:

      I would not request funds from coinbase to a chase checking account now that I think about it either.

      • Don L says:

        Adam, thanks for the DP, I’ll pull it into the main portion of the post tomorrow.

        • Adam D says:

          Tnx, imho I bet coinbase is blacklisted due to a high # of chargebacks like offshore sportsbooks. Due to the very fast purchase and transfer, secrecy etc; I can see why chargebacks are a very easy way to stack a decent initial stack of coins. Its an easy way for degenrates gamblers to have a decent bankroll for free and hope to day-trade their way to substantial profits.

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