The crypto market and its barriers to entry - A regular girl´s experience

7 months ago

'Accessibility drives traffic and growth in technology. That´s a proven trend in technology.' - Sean Plott, also known as Day[9]

Let´s just think for a second about home computers which lived their great breaktrough in the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that - for the first time in history - were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user.

It was both accessibility and usability that smoothed the market entry for the masses.
I am convinced about the fact that the crypto currency markets will need to lower their entry barriers in a similar way to open doors for the next technological evolution. 

Crypto needs to become 'the currency for everybody'.

A regular girl´s story 

It´s been a personal experience that has inspired me to write this article. 

About two months ago my buddy @knircky sent me a $10.00 bitcoin fragment via Coinbase to initialize my very first trading experience. I immediately started to complete my Coinbase account, providing the required personal information. 

Things got stuck when it came to validate my ID. Coinbase doesn´t like people whose country of residence is not equal to their nationality (proven by a valid ID). 

Cosmopolitan people are not welcome. 

There was no chance to validate my ID on Coinbase.

Their support team seems to be heavily overloaded. I sent them a request but never got any answer back.

Since several attempts to set up my Coinbase account failed, I decided to change the provider. Some steemit users recommended me to try localbitcoin. 

About one week ago I reactivated my localbitcoin account which I had already used to cash out some money that I earned on steemit in the past. 

Excellent, I thought by myself. I was at least moving myself within a more or less well known environment. I felt confident. 

After evaluating the different exchange methods I opted for Paypal since it appeared to be the most efficient one. I scrolled down the list of users that offered BTC for EUR via Paypal and decided on one that stood out due to his positive ratings. 

A few minutes later I approved a Paypal transfer of €208.00 (including an €8.00 transaction fee!!) to a completely unknown Russian email address and wanted to die. 

I felt like a fool. Did I seriously transfer my money to a complete stranger located somewhere in Russia? The following 30 minutes became a real disaster. Besides the adrenaline that rushed through my veins, I had serious difficulties in understanding my trading partner. 

When he sent me a screenshot of his Paypal account full of Cyrillic letters, I mentally said 'Goodbye' to my 208 euros. 

I couldn´t feel any blood in my extremities anymore. 

After a while the Russian guy - who luckily turned out to be kind - translated the message. Paypal had frozen the money due to some 'security reasons' asking for patience and informing that they would react within the next 48 hours. Seriously? 

Now there were two options for me: A) Cancel the deal and ask the Russian guy for a refund or B) Wait 48 hours with a high probability to not come to any solution anyways.
I decided on A.

A few minutes later I had my money back, including the €8.00 transaction fee. 

Then I had a drink and swore to myself that I would never try that again.

Today I spontaneously changed my mind. 

It´s been a mellow day without waves and a lot of wind. I still felt yesterday´s surfing session in my body, so I decided to not surf today and do something more relaxing instead - like having another crypto experience LOL

I gave it another chance. 

Today´s morning I went to my local branch bank in order to place a transfer. Thanks to another recommendation of a fellow steemian I had opened an account on kraken.com, seeming to be a serious exchange platform. Was this supposed to be THE DAY when I would finally complete the highly desired deal?

Just in case you missed it here is the blog post where I proudly reported about my morning: The Mellow Monday Story

Do you know what is going to happen next? This won´t work out for the following reason.

The bank transfer is going to be refused since there is a difference between the bank account holder´s name and the Kraken account holder´s name. I have two given names and when opening the Kraken account I simply introduced my second given name which is actually the one by which I am known. However, the first given name is the one used in my bank account. 

Kraken explicitly informs on their website that they don´t accept any discrepancy regarding names. Furthermore, they generally estimate a handling period of about 5 working days to proceed my funding request. 

Another five long long days being outside the barriers. 

I am mentally prepared for the worst case: not becoming a cool member of the fancy crypto world in this life anymore. 

But seriously talking: In my regular life I am neither exceptionally dumb nor unskilled.
This one will probably make you laugh: I even studied Computer Science in Media completing my degree in 2004. Sure, from a technological point of view 13 years are a lifetime. 

But regardless of the fact that I am not up-to-date when it comes to programming, I usually don´t have any frontend usability problems. 

Today I feel like: 

According to my own personal experience - which might be a single case - the crypto market has extremely high barriers to entry. If I wasn´t infected by the steemit virus, I surely would have given up long time ago. 

Am I the only one facing these problems?
It would be great to know more about your experiences in entering the crypto market.

Marly -  

PS: Don´t forget to follow  #theeverydayproject: The Everyday Project


Picture sources:
Title image: http://favim.com/image/1227681/ 
Group of peole at the beach: http://theconversation.com/how-cultural-diversity-can-help-to-boost-body-confidence-61719
Drinking girl: http://forevertwentysomethings.com/2016/05/23/drunk-you-is-the-worst/
Britney Spears: https://twitter.com/stupidgrlprobz
 

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Well written article. You are not alone and I've had other friends with ID frustration taking forever to become part of the crypto community.

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Thank you! :)
Forever is quite a long time....

The answer is a Bitcoin ATM if you have one locally or just buy from people you know. There are many Crypto fiends like myself that have access to BTC. Yes I meant fiends ; )

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Hey Randy! Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, I am living on a small island where no ATM service is provided yet. I will try two more networks that have been recommended to me. If that doesn´t work I will contact my f(r)iend :-)

I hope you chose beer this time for the drinking part ... ;)

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LOL - I usually don´t drink (since it doesn´t fit very well with my sports activity). But lately (not wanting to say since I am on steemit :-D) it seems to happen more often...
Back to your question: Yes, it was indeed a cool and refreshing Weissbier :)

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Indeed alcohol and sport do not fit well together :D

When you get this crypto thing all figured out, do me a favor and let me know how it works.;)

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Ha! @theregularguy meets @theregulargirl :)
It will be my pleasure to share all my good and bad experiences with you here.
Somehow I have this presentiment that it´s going to be a long time journey.

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I am still where I need a translator — or a parent who would explain me as if I were a child — to understand your post, but I'll keep I eye on you to see where it could bring all this buzz. To begin with, I haven't ever considered the question “how could I cash out just in case I want to?”

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That´s no problem at all. We´ve all started from zero one day!
Basically "cashing out" means starting a power down process through your wallet. But that´s nothing that can be quickly explained in a comment. Can I find you in the steemit.chat? Then I will provide you with the details there :)

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Is there a steemit.chat???

Joking, I knew, but I've never used it. Now it's 23:38 (11:38 PM) and I have to wake up very soon in the morning… The next time I'll sit in the chat, also to see it at least a time in my lifetime ;-)

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Easy, whenever you want and have time.
steemit is a long term project :)

Someone promoted your post. Promotions help every steemians.
Your reward is an upvote and 0.018 SBD extra promotion.
Good job, see you next time in Promoted! ;)

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Yeah I have promoted it by myself - you got me! ;) Thank you very much for your great support it's MUCH appreciated!!!

Well, at least I am impressed with your braveness. Since you mentioned the word "A regular girl´s experience," I would say that none of my female friends did even try to use cryptocurrencies They all got overwhelmed by just hearing about it. When it comes to a digital wallet and some exchange experience as a beginner, I would recommend "Exodus" wallet. You can find as below
https://www.exodus.io/
I feel like this is a good start for storing and exchanging some coins. It is limited a little bit but it is most user-friendly wallet I have ever used and it is very easy to backup when computer crashes. If you watch a few minutes of tutorial videos, you will figure out very fast. Also, tech support representatives are ultra friendly. After you gain some confidence, you may go for next challenge. Don't give up on cryptocurrency. It is fun and it is worth it. I am not a computer savvy but I learned a lot a little by little over time. I don't know where you live so I don't know where you can buy bitcoins and I don't know where you can buy even if I know where you live. Sorry about this part. I only know about the U.S. part of exchange experience. But I believe crytpocurrency experience can be fun once you get used to it. I promise ;). I also believe that over time, using cryptocurrency will be more and more user-friendly. Some developers are working on it. It will get better.

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Well, at least I am impressed with your braveness. Since you mentioned the word "A regular girl´s experience," I would say that none of my female friends did even try to use cryptocurrencies.

Thank you! :) The knowledge provided on steemit is overwhelming, we all learn very quickly. When I started in July 2016 I didn´t even know what a blockchain was. That´s one of the huge advantages of steemit - you get smoothly in contact with the crypto world. To me that is a great plus, besides the writing and chatting and socializing.
Back to the story: thank you very much for the recommendation. So Exodus will be on my list of networks to try, too. A friendly support sounds very good and important to me. That´s actually what I missed most on the other platforms.

I also believe that over time, using cryptocurrency will be more and more user-friendly. Some developers are working on it. It will get better.

Yeah "some" are working on it :)) Well said.
Thanks for your great support it´s much appreciated!
Following you now :)

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You're welcome. If you need help, just let me know. I'll do my best to help you out. Cheers!!

Have you heard of open ledger? It's the Bitshares wallet and also a descentralized exchange. It has a Fiat gateway. I've never tried the Fiat part since I am in Latin America and it would take forever for me to do a wire transfer but it's probably worth a try.

Also blockchain.info has an option to purchse Bitcoin with a credit card in certain countries.

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving your recommendations, @onthewayout!
This may be a stupid question, but: if you´ve never tried FIAT, how did you get your money in? I mean, supposing that we all started having our savings stored on a regular bank account (in dollars, euros or whatever currency), which are the alternatives to convert cash into crypto?

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I meant that I've never tried using the fiat option in Open Ledger. You would be surprised how easy it is to convert fiat to BTC or Ether in my country (at least small amounts of about 250 USD per day).

WOW, entering with FIAT currency seems even more complex and seamingly impossible than I already thought. I'm on exchanges, but only connecting crypto currencies, Steem, Bitcoin, Particl etc. Still have to get into Euro to Crypto tranfer. Your experiences including all the comments here will help me, so looking forward to all the positive experiences and guideliness. Until then, I keep on Steeming and use a little of my earnings for trading in other cryptos.

Update: just reading advises from specialists recommending Rock (Malta), Kraken (SF), Gatecoin (Hong Kong), CryptoPay (UK), Bitstamp (Luxemburg). Apprently all with good reputation, support for good wallets and possbility to use European SEPA method of bringing FIAT currency in and out. Apparenyl all require bank account and ID verification and may take several days to execute. Sonif you somewhere in the EU, I suggest to check them out and see which works for you. Otherwise check out the Hong Kong one. Kraken is also advised, but you had difficulties with them; Maybe open a new account with them and use the name as know at your bank?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, @edje!
If you say that you are on exchanges, may I ask how you get there? I mean, supposing that you live in a country where the regular currency is USD, how did you convert it into a crypto currency? There may be always a starting scenario, right? Or did you earn crypto directly and were inside the system right from the beginning?
There are so many questions which supposedly seem very basic to you. But I think that is what most people need to learn when they get in touch with these new currencies for the very first time.

Kraken is also advised, but you had difficulties with them; Maybe open a new account with them and use the name as know at your bank?

Yes, that would be one of my next steps :)
Again, thanks for your help!!! It´s much appreciated.

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Or did you earn crypto directly and were inside the system right from the beginning?

Correct. I only opened an exchange (Poloniex) a week ago, and transfered some Steem from Steemit to play around with and try trading and recently invested a tiny bit in Partcl, a new crypto currency that still need to start and now in crowd funding phase; I transfer from Poloniex directly to them some BTC and SDC (another crypto currency I purchased on Poloniex).

I have Poloniex, but they do not fiat currency (like $ Euro or some other hard currency). I also have Openledger, but don't know if they do fiat currency either.

Apparently my hometown has one Bitcoin ATM, so I may try that one.

BTW, maybe a stupid question, but did you google how others who live in you country are converting fiat in bitcoin or another altcoin?

On trading, I'm testing short term trading, buying and selling a currency in minutes; Poloniex is good for that; They handle high volumes; They claim to be the biggest in their segment; I've written a couple of posts on it in my series "my transition to enlightenment".

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Thanks for the insight, @edje! Sharing experiences is just the best way of learning :) "Everybody you meet in life knows something you don´t." I love that principle.

I´ve got a Poloniex account, too, where I have transferred a small amount of steem in order to cash it out. But now I´d like to do it the other way around - so pushing some more money from the outside into steemit.

BTW, maybe a stupid question, but did you google how others who live in you country are converting fiat in bitcoin or another altcoin?

Yes, I have googled that but I already knew the results before I started :) I live on the Canary Islands (very small archipielago in the Atlantic Ocean close to Africa) where we don´t even have a good working internet connection. So you may imagine how advanced the technological process is when it comes to crypto currencies. People here don´t even know what that is :) Maybe it´s a market segment I should conquer... ha!

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I found localbitcoins.com with some mentioning of local Bitcoin purchase possibilities in the Canary Islands. Try that one to see if someone is physically available at your island. This are probably private people. I also noticed ExpacioBit (espaciobit.com.ve) being active in the Canary Island or at least it looks like it; I think this is a company.

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Yeah I have tried localbitcoin but haven´t found anybody close. I may have a look from time to time to see if somebody enters.
EspacioBit is new to me - I´ll definitely have a look at it! Thank you :))

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Let us know it you succeed. Otherwise, when I managed to deposit Euro's for Bitcoins, I maybe able to help you out. BTW, you have SEPA? You must since you part of the EU. Than there are so many exchanges in Europe, like the ones I mentioned in earlier comments. I would check the one in Malta out, or the one in the UK. Once having Bitcoins, you may transfer them to your Poloniex exchange and start trading there.

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Sure, I will let you all know! :)
I did a SEPA transfer to Kraken, so yes I am able to proceed like that.
However, the fact that you can do SEPA doesn´t automatically mean that the network where you send the money to will accept it.
However, I won´t give up and (hopefully) post the success story soon here on steemit :)

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I did a SEPA transfer to Kraken, so yes I am able to proceed like that.
However, the fact that you can do SEPA doesn´t automatically mean that the network where you send the money to will accept it.
However, I won´t give up and (hopefully) post the success story soon here on steemit :)

Agree, but the EU exchanges should be better equipped working with EU banks than Kraken which is San Francisco based (as far as I know) so I suppose quite focussed on the US system rather than the European systems and banks. In the Netherlands all our exchanges accept our Dutch standard bank transfer methods, so it'll be very easy for me to transfer funds from my Dutch bank account to a Dutch exchange and get Bitcoins for it. But, although I do not want to hide anything from government, I like to see how long I can be kind of hidden while being in crypto land, so I like to explore alternative options.

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Kraken is located in London and they have a German bank account, so the transfer is done within European territory.
If Kraken doesn´t work, I will try bitcoin.de which has been recommended by the German steemit users.
There will be some point of time when I will be registered on ALL existing exchange platforms in Europe :-))

Dear Marly,

Although I have not as yet used one, I would recommend that you get a Trezor wallet for your Bitcoin transactions.

Why haven't I used it yet? - Because I use my own "quirky" difficult to use offline methods.

Why do I recommend Trezor? - Because it gives you what is called "cold storage," i.e. YOU are the only one with your Bitcoin master key. Oh, and Trezor, because it has a good reputation.

Why have you had these difficulties?

Because Coinbase and banks are in the pocket of human governments that don't want you to have or save wealth. They want you poor. They want to track your every move so they can rob you with ease. Shun them!

Local bitcoins are good; see if you can find someone to trade with face to face, for cash? That would be simplest... but have a Trezor first to put your fresh bitcoin into... ;)

😄😇😄

@creatr

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Agree with @creatr

  1. Cold storage. (paper wallets, usb, hardware wallets ie:TREZOR, KEEPKEY, LEDGER)

  2. "THEY" are onto crypto. Stay vigilant and ahead of the game.

  3. Friends and family are a great source to teach and introduce into crypto in small quantities which will allow you to diversify your holdings internally.

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Marly does not have a fortune in bitcoin yet. I think before dealing with cold and expensive hw wallets she should focus on getting into bitcoins first.

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I think that happens to a lot of people who start getting in contact with crypto for the very first time ever. What they need is a beginner´s program, starting from zero - like if they were opening their very first bank account.

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I understand not a fortune in bitcoin yet. Learning about "cold storage" and how to do it does not have to cost any upfront money. Most countries have bitcoin atm which allow paper wallets to made on the spot for those who don't have mobile devices. USB can be tricky and cumbersome to use for offline. And as you mentioned HW wallets are somewhat expensive $30-$100. In all learning about "cold storage" now rather than later will make things a lot easier eventually.

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Unfortunately, we don´t have ATM here. I am living on a small island :) That´s why I´ve tried several online exchange networks. But it seems that they are all heavily overloaded, there is almost no customer service available. If your ID validation fails e.g. there is no chance to talk to anybody and find a solution. But again, I won´t give up too fast :)

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I don't live on an island, but may as well, no ATM's and been struggling for over a month to get verified on Coinbase, Kraken also won't take my money.

All I want is to buy Steem...

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I have used cex.io in the past. Give them a try with a third of your money. That way, if it does not pan out. You still have 2/3rds left.

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I won the whale vote contest - watch out! Good things coming!

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What does cold storage mean?

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Thanks, I will have a look at it! :)

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My pleasure @surfermarly

I strongly believe in "thirds rule strategy" which can be searched on Google

Hang loose!

Frank

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Thanks for the recommendation, my friend!
I´ve become really sceptical after all these setbacks which is too sad. steemit caught me, I got in touch with crypto for the very first time - but know that I have decided to invest my money, there seem to be so many barriers.
Face to face would surely provide the highest trustworthiness! But is this supposed to be the future of technology? :))
However, I won´t give up on my crypto dream, haha

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All technology comes at a price. Crypto comes with the amazing added benefit of not being under the arbitrary control of a human government. Just like surfing, you may never understand this until some government sends your bank a fax and says "give us her money," and the bank does. Believe me, this happens with great regularity.

What you choose to do will also depend on how much money you plan to hold as crypto. Considering all the bank fees, risks, and etc., not to mention inflation of fiat money, an investment of $100 in a Trezor may begin to look like a really good deal.

The real benefits of cryptocurrency will come when it starts to replace government scrip. Then you won't need banks; you will be able to be your own banker. You won't need "face to face" because anyone you want to do business with will pay you in or accept crypto.

You are only struggling a little with this because you are an "early adopter," a pioneer so to speak. Hang in there, I believe it will get much better as time goes on.

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Thanks for your wise words, @creatr.
That´s exactly my impression: the system works perfectly when you have entered safely. There is no doubt about the fact that - once you are in - the crypto market provides a lot of benefits.
I will be patient, keep trying to enter and be happy just for being part of it right from the start :)
Have a wonderful day!

One more smart, deep, wonderful, beautiful and interesting post...

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Thanks for your lovely comment my friend :))
I am happy you liked it!

You are pretty spot on with the accessibility and ease of use for the average person. Once someone builds a platform with an easier "paypal" type interface, we could be looking at something huge, until then the volatility of the market will continue to be pretty epic. But, hey, that's where you can make some $$$ in the process.

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Nicely recapped!
I'm definitely relaxed. If they don't let me pumping money into the system from the outside well then I'll have to blog post more on steemit and generate SBD from the inside ;)

what a pain in the butt. I couldn't get signed up with Coinbase either but my reasons were different. I wam using a VPN and i connect through different countries depending on the speeds at the time, since I'm in China i need a vpn to many things like banking, China has strict controls. I signed up to coinbase with IP and then a few days later they said they needed to confirm my ID so i sent photos they requested and they said because my IP changed they couldn't confirm me. SO i tried deleting account and starting over and they said they know it was from my computer. lol

I also needed a bank account they recognized. Sothis sumemr I will make the trip to Canada, open a new bank ad see what I can do with it.

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Oh dear, yours it not better than mine! :)
That´s exactly what I meant by high barriers: We need to travel, apply for new citizenship or do whatever disproportional step to simply exchange one currency into another.
There is still much work to do until regular people will join the party...
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience, @solarguy!

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I won the whale vote contest - watch out! Good things coming!

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Which contest, @ebryans?

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hahaha, i am so in your shoes right now but there are many features about crypto, that i haven't delved into! only till lately did i try to convert steem to sd on the market part of our wallet. i also tried blocktrades to exhanges bits of steem, to see how that works. i entered steemit just in the same manner as me and i see you are ahead a bit. how about changelly, i see people feature that as a means to buy crypto with fiat. i feel it will work in your country of residence. plus https://99bitcoins.com/how-to-buy-bitcoin-with-a-credit-card/

hahaha, i am so in your shoes right now but there are many features about crypto, that i haven't delved into! only till lately did i try to convert steem to sd on the market part of our wallet. i also tried blocktrades to exhanges bits of steem, to see how that works. i entered steemit just in the same manner as me and i see you are ahead a bit. how about changelly, i see people feature that as a means to buy crypto with fiat. i feel it will work in your country of residence. plus https://99bitcoins.com/how-to-buy-bitcoin-with-a-credit-card/

It is incredibly frustrating when services a) expect one to have a permanent residence, b) expect one to receive paper mail at that residence, c) believe a bunch of falsehoods about the invariance of users' names, d) expect users to be physically located in the country of their nationality, or e) require users have a US zip code or a +1 phone number.

I'm a native english speaker but I imagine also that non-english speakers are constantly annoyed by the fact that most web apps assume that everyone on the Internet uses english.

I run into these problems all the time, and I can totally relate. My friend Patrick wrote a great article about part of this some years ago:

http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-names/

I wish more programmers and service operators lived trans-national lives and built products accordingly.