Buying Bitcoin in UAE – My Experience

 

Before reading this article, let me clarify a couple of important things:

  • This article (along with the experience I gained) did cost me 1000 AED (272 USD), and I went into the cryptocurrency and trading world because of the experienceonly, not to make profit, and not to invest, so if you are searching for quick way to be rich, riding all these crazy Limos, then this article is not for you.
  • If you are confused and don’t know how to get BitCoin in UAE, then this article can help.
  • If you hate long, narrative in-depth analysis and hands on experience, then you can skip to the tl;dr section.

 

Satisfied enough? so Lets start.

Cryptocurrency is the next big thing. Some are speculating that its only a bubble, and some are against. For me; I like new things, and would like to try having – even a small – experience in whats coming next & the new cryptocurrency exchange world.

I was specially interested in Lisk as I started following up the Lisk reddit community and reading a bit about cryptocurrency in general, how it works? what is blockchain? and why it is a big thing?

In conclusion; as the name indicates: Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange (currency) that uses cryptography (crypto) to secure its transaction. The first among these currencies was BitCoin, which firstly appeared in a paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. 

 

Lets talk business.

After some research, I found out that I can’t buy Lisk directly using my credit card; however, I will have to buy Bitcoin at first and exchange it with Lisk, and due to my trust-issue; I preferred to download the offline wallet for Bitcoin (120GB+) & Lisk and not store any of my assets at any online website.

 

Bitcoin Wallet, 24 hours of downloading, and counting

Bitcoin Wallet, 24 hours of downloading, and counting

 

Through out my experience, I found that there are two ways of paying by Credit Card; either directly from the website, or through a third party. Having a direct credit-card transfer has its own pros and cons. In pros side: your credit card information will not be stored in the system. On the other side; its not a direct process, and you have to create an account with a third-party website in order to transfer your funds.

 

Bittrex

Buying bitcoin and transferring them to my digital wallet was not straight forward. Most websites required authentication documents (Passport, ID Copy, Personal Picture, Visa Copy, etc), and here where I was concerned the most about my privacy.

The first website I tried was Bittrex. At first; the website welcomes you with information about the highest cryptos in demand and some other information.

 

 

As a starter, I have no currencies yet, and the website only supports buying Bitcoins using other crpto currencies, and in order to do so you have to verify your account with your Passport and ID Copies. I went into the authentication process and sent my documents 3 days back, but:

Since 3 days back, dating from the writing of this post

Time to look for another alternative..

 

Yobit

This website is another story. Buying a currency was an easy step as one-two-three. You have first to create an account, add funds to your wallet using Payeer, AdvCash, PerfectMoney, or Capitalist (no direct credit card transfer) and then use these funds in exchange to crpytos, easy right?

 

No ID required, no Passport required, no nothing. Its easy yet fishy. But what about withdrawal of money? well here is the catch.

So I did my research, according to CryptoCompare; the website is under Russian authorities investigation, and they are advising traders to trade with care, along with negative comments from traders.

 

Several people were complaining about withdrawal problems, as if it wasn’t enough for me to stay away from Yobit, another research led me to this, this, and this.

It’s time to look for an alternative.

 

CEX.IO

Another day, another search for a place to buy Bitcoins. This time I landed on CEX.IO website, which has a seamless interface, with 2 factors authentication. I was greeted with a homepage which displayed the amount of Bitcoin I can get and the amount of money I have to pay to get it, pretty nice.!

However, being the don’t-trust-until-you-search guy, and going back to my previous experience, I tried to search a bit for them, and..

It turned out that this is not the right platform for me to buy from, according to ctrl blog experience; he went into a so-many authentication requests after he bought the crpyto currency, and he couldn’t receive back the Bitcoin he purchased easily. In addition to the reviews I read here, and here.

And a wild NOPE appeared..

 

BitOasis

Apparently, search again! but with different keywords; lets add “UAE” in the search field shall we?

BINGO! a new website! and its located in Dubai..! Sweet.

 

So I registered an account there, and guess what, they don’t need any kind of verification for the first 1500AED purchase of BitCoin, which exactly what I was looking for.

Time to search for the authenticity of the website, apparently the website was reviewed by CNN and ScamBitcoin , also reddit community were pleased with their experience. For me, that was enough to start buying my first BitCoins.

The website did not support buying through credit card or buying Ethereum for the unverified accounts, so I went forward for the Wire Transfer (Online Money Transfer) option & BitCoin. They requested to explicitly write a unique User ID in the “Reference” field while sending the amount, however, the bank I am dealing with does not have the option to add any extra field except the pre-defined ones.

I sent an email to them, and received the following reply in less than 24 hours:

 

 

Nice..! now to be frank here, the customer support I received was really good. Each and every ticket I submitted a ticket took less than 24 hours for them to reply, which I was satisfied for.

Lets go back a little bit. In order to buy BitCoin from BitOasis, you need to do two steps:

  • Buy a voucher for the specific amount you want to buy
  • Redeem the voucher to BitCoins

One other positive thing while dealing with BitOasis is the time I had to wait in order to receive my voucher; I sent the amount on Thursday, 9:00am, received it on the same day.

 

Getting Lisk

Now its time to get Lisk out of the BitCoin I purchased, so my strategy was the following: I will send half of what I received (0.017) to the exchange I decided to trade Lisk for Bitcoin (Binance,)  and send the other half to my physical wallet address. They have a good interface, and a reliable mobile application where you can trade from.

 

Binance Interface

Binance Interface

 

Here is the catch, I did put the amount to transfer in BitOasis & transfer them to my Binance account, and got the following

 

 

Did you notice? Yes, you read it right: AED 191.64 ($52.21) to transfer total of AED 513.16  ($139.82), which is TOO MUCH expensive.! The problem is that this amount was not communicated before doing the transaction, like (you will be charged this and that, do you want to continue?) , instead it was after transferring the amount.

Not only that, when I decided to send the remaining amount to the same address (not to my wallet), I was charged the following:

 

 

AED 190.52 ($51.91) to transfer AED 88.53 ($24.12)..!

In summary:

Total Transferred: AED 601.69 ($163.94)
Total Transaction Fees (for two times transferring): AED 398.31 ($108.53)

So initially, I lost almost 40% of the amount transferred only for transaction fees..!

After receiving the BitCoins in Binance, i did trade them for Lisk, and now I have 7.21 of Lisk Currency, Mission Accomplished.! but what a cost, and experience..

 

Final words & Observation

I enjoyed the good customer support with BitOasis, but had a sour experience when it came to the transaction fees and the amount I lost without doing anything. Its true that I went through the whole process for the sake of experience, but, man, that was hard.

Investing in Cryptos is risky, way risky. The market fluctuate like there is no tomorrow. For example, left is the amount I had after exchanging my BitCoins to Lisk, and right is the value of what I have after less than 24 hours

 


 

Also, it seems that the website is not able to coop with the traffic its getting, the website sometimes is not available to the public, error 502 and 500.

 

 

 

Other times it could not send an SMS to verify the login attempt

 

 

So yes, the website needs to mature more in order to coop with the amount of people interested in cryptocurrencies.

 

Summary, TL;DR

Trading with BitCoins and cryptocurrency in general is a risky step, never, EVER, invest with all your money in cryptos. Its way better to dig your way forward and get money out of your hard work and to invest in yourself rather than these virtual currencies.

However, if you decided to move forward, then stay away from YoBit at all cost, and I could not trust CEX.IO with my documents. My advice to get BitCoins in UAE will be:

  • Create account at BitOasis.
  • Wire transfer money to their account.
  • Wait for your voucher.
  • Redeem your voucher for BitCoins.
  • If you want to buy another cryptocurrency, then transfer BitCoin to Binance and start exchanging.

 

BitOasis Pros :

  • Excellent customer support
  • Does not need any kind of verification for your first transaction
  • Your voucher comes in around 24 hours or less (mine came less than 24 hours)
  • Redeem and send your BitCoins to the needed address almost instantly

 

BitOasis Cons:

  • Insane transfer fees  (paid 40% of the total amount to transfer my BitCoins)
  • Fees are not stated before doing the transfer (ie: your transfer cost will be this and that, continue?), instead you will be aware of the price AFTER transferring.
  • Website is not stable sometimes

 

I hope this article either helped you, or gave you a bit of information. If you found it useful please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Thank you.!!

 

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