Anywhere I can buy crypto, and then buy STEEM instantly. That would be nice, too.
Okay, maybe I should back up and give this a proper introduction.
How It All Began
When I originally signed up for STEEM, it was suggested by the person who introduced me to it, longtime friend, @bbrewer, that I use Coinbase to buy a cryptocurrency, and then use Blocktrades to buy the STEEM with the crypto I'd purchased wth fiat. He explained that there wasn't a straight USD to STEEM route.
So, I got an account with Coinbase and Blocktrades, and then went about all the identity verification that Coinbase required, with the intent on being able to use a credit card to buy the crypto instantly, and then STEEM, instantly.
The other alternative was to use a bank account, deposit some money into a USD wallet instantly, buy crypto instantly, but then wait a week in order to buy STEEM, because, well, Coinbase needed to protect me from myself, I guess (they call it fraud protection).
It's like, "Whaaaaaa?!?
I've documented most of this history in a couple of earlier posts, so I'm not inclined to get into too much detail. Suffice it to say, however, the hoop jumping then was a big turnoff and I almost didn't do it. But, because of other factors, like my upvote being negligible as a plankton, and then not much bigger as a small minnow, I ended up persevering and making some small investments into STEEM.
The Story Continues
Well, over the past now 21 months, Coinbase has made some changes. First, came the credit card change. Coinbase would no longer take credit cards—or was it the credit cards would no longer take Coinbase—something like that. I don't know who initiated it, I seem to remember some finger pointing, but the fact of the matter is, I could no longer use the credit card. Which was fine. Probably better that way, anyway.
And since at the time, they would allow me to use a debit card, I set that up.
Great. Well, after several months, I ended up closing that account and opening up a new one. I was able to link my actual new account to Coinbase, no problem, but when I went to add the card, I was told it wasn't supported. I ended up talking to someone at Coinbase about it and within a few days, that card was finally allowed.
On I went, until about two months ago when I got a notification from my credit union that there had been some kind of fraudulent activity on my card (though I never had anything unauthorized come out of the account), and that they would issue me a new debit card with a new 16 digit number. Fantastic. Don't need to court disaster with a debit card number that someone else is trying to use, even though there's never very much money in it so they couldn't get very far, anyway.
Ah, But Wait...
Until it came time to trying to add the new card. I didn't do it right away because I wasn't urgently looking to invest in more STEEM, given the fact that I had already invested to where I was comfortable, and because I hadn't been employed for six years and was just barely into a new job. In other words, I was at my limit.
Well, STEEM prices have stayed low, cratered some more, I've been at work a little longer now, and so I wanted to add the card. I plugged in the information requested, hit the submit button and this is what I got:
I thought maybe I put something in wrong, so I tried it again. Same thing.
So, same account, same kind of card, but it wasn't allowing me to do add it. I thought, okay, last time I alerted someone and things got fixed. So, I sent off an inquiry to Coinbase. Within a short while I got an email back, which said, in part:
Thank you for reaching out to Coinbase. According to our records, one of the pending authorization debits that we use to verify your card could not be processed.
This may have been caused by one of the following:
- The card has insufficient funds
- The card issuer has blocked the charges
- The card is a prepaid, reloadable, or "secured" credit or debit card, or is recognized as such by the card issuer
It then invited me to talk to my credit union about the matter.
Well, the account in question didn't have a whole lot in it, but it had enough to handle the little temporary debit amounts Coinbase sends to verify the account. As far as I knew, none of the debits had come through, so one being blocked didn't make any sense, and the card was not prepaid, reloadable, or secured, unless being backed by an actual checking account that can obviously be deposited to or withdrawn from constitutes any of that.
So, not inclined to go after my banking institution, and feeling a little rankled by the run around, I fired back an email to Coinbase. After thanking them for the response, I essentially ticked off the reasons why their reasons for not connecting my card were bogus.
I then inquired why they don't just let bank accounts linked to Coinbase purchase crypto and then immediately allow it to be sent to purchase STEEM:
Why don't you allow deposits straight from the bank account to be available immediately, especially for existing customers? What kind of fraud can you be protecting against if it's basically me authorizing the deposits? Why do I have to provide picture ID and other verifications if that's [not] enough for you to know it's me? It seems to me that all that does is keep me from taking advantage of the market at the moment.
I then added this:
Yes, I am feeling some frustration in all of this. The hoops I have to go through to get where I want to go with crypto is not at all conducive to on the spot purchasing, and while I'm sure it's regulation and so forth causing this, it doesn't make me want to do business with Coinbase at all.
I can't be the only one feeling like this.
I don't tend to add paragraphs like the last one, because the person on the other end who gets to read it generally isn't the person who can do anything about it, so why waste my time and theirs, or set up the false expectation something might come of it. However, this had been going on long enough and I just felt like I wanted to vent to someone, anyone, and at least direct it towards what I thought to be main source of the problem.
Interestingly enough, not long after, I got this reply:
Thanks for reaching out.
Having investigated the issue, I am working with a specialist to address it properly. We will follow-up with you as soon as we have an update.
Thank you for your patience.
I was actually amazed I got that response, though the email says "I am working" but then is signed by Coinbase Support. Unless there's only one person running Coinbase Support, and they actually legally changed their name to Coinbase Support...
Yeah, I'm still a little miffed by it, but I do appreciate the attempt. Most companies of any size would just blow it off, or it would get lost in the cracks.
Which could be what's happened since, now that it's been over a week. A few days ago I fired off another email to ask if there'd been any news, but I have not heard anything.
The Plot Twist
So, I decided today, being off work early for once, to call the credit union and ask about why their debit card might be unsupported. The representative I talked to said that the credit union didn't have an issue with me purchasing crypto as long as I told them ahead of time I was going to do it, so they could put a "vacation exception" in place. Why? Coinbase is based in the UK, and so purchasing crypto through them with the card was, I guess, like being there and purchasing something. Without the benefit of actually being in the UK on vacation.
At this point I was thinking, great, another hoop, but then I realized, I wasn't even that far yet. The rep was talking like I had the card linked. I backed it up and stated I didn't even have the card linked. I'd done it in the past with a previous account and card, and then again with the same account, different card.
It was then that he mentioned that in the meantime, the credit union had changed card processors, and that the problem was with them. I asked if calling them and talking about it would do me any good. I was told that the card processor wouldn't even take a call from the customer.
Now, I had a whole level of bureaucracy that I had no recourse with or power to change. And where I was pointing the blame at Coinbase, who was in turn calling out who I thought was the credit union, turned out to be a shadowy organization that I can't even complain to.
So, there you have it. And now you know why I want to be anywhere I can buy crypto directly, if not straight to STEEM, instantly, without waiting a week, because FRAUD, on this fine, rainy Wednesday night.
This wasn't what I intended to debut with for a whereonwednesday post, but there it is.
If anyone has viable suggestions on how I can use a debit card or even an account and not have my money on hold for a week, either straight from USD or even some cryptocurrency, I'd love to hear it. I'm not open to using VPNs or other things that could come to haunt me later, so if it's not legal to do, I'd just like to avoid that. I do appreciate the thought, though.
I also can't be the only one feeling this, can I?
I mean, I live in the United States, supposedly the freest place on Earth. I used to think that. I haven't for a long time, now. Not when it comes to a lot of things. The problem is, anywhere you go, you trade some things you like for some things you don't. It's just frustrating. And even though in the second email reply Coinbase sent they thanked me for my patience, I am not at all feeling or being patient.
Widespread adoption of STEEM, for any of its other issues, such as timely account approval or enough RCs to function with from the beginning (both of which we're told is being solved now or within several months from now), is still going to be held back by the hoop jumping required to purchase STEEM, unless the much ballyhooed masses we're hoping to see all have tradable crypto in hand, or they live in those magical places where they can use their own native fiat to purchase STEEM directly.
End Of Mini Rant
Image source—Pixabay, Coinbase