In mid December 2021, I decided to see if I could purchase Bitcoin without the use of a KYC exchange. I installed Bisq on to my computer and looked at the offers that were available. I saw plenty of line items, but I needed to filter it down to payment methods that I could use.
My US bank account offers Zelle, so I opened up a Zelle account. It has very small limits for the first 30 days. $500 per day and $2,500 per month. After 30 days, the limits increase to $2,500 a day and $15,000 a month.
To access European markets, I also opened up a Revolut account. I could transfer from my bank account to the Revolut account, switch the amount to euros and access the European/UK market that way. This is great for HodlHodl, but it can also be used for Bisq.
With these two payment mechanisms, I pretty much had the US and European liquidity covered.
Note that both Zelle and Revolut require KYC. No financial institution will let you open up an account without KYC. This is a problem of the fiat world. The idea is to not be on a central database of known users who hold Bitcoin. Opening up a bank account does not necessarily mean you own Bitcoin. Buying Bitcoin off an exchange does.
My first trade was on Bisq. The initial stumbling block with Bisq is that you need a small amount Bitcoin to start buying. There are also amount limitations by Bisq on how much you can buy for at least the first 30 days (using Zelle, at least). It's limited to 0.01BTC until your account buys bitcoin from a verified peer and 30 days have passed since you created your bisq profile.
I loaded up some bitcoin on to my Bisq wallet to start trading. I accepted an offer to buy 0.01BTC at a 4% premium to the market rate. Confirmed the trade details and went through the process.
I sent the money via Zelle to the counterparty's Zelle account. I got the BTC. It went incredibly smooth. I just bought 0.01BTC all without using my identity. Epic!
The next day, I felt like doing it again. This time, I accepted an offer for 0.01BTC at a 4.20% premium to the market rate. Success! Bought another 0.01BTC without KYC! This is going great.
So I tried doing this a third time a couple days later. This is where I stumbled a little bit. When I went to transfer, my bank locked my account (perhaps citing suspicious activity, I hadn't used my US bank account in while, and now all of a sudden money is moving around). I had to call up the bank and verify my identity for them to remove the lock on my account. How annoying. Ultimately, success though. Collected another 0.01BTC.
I wanted to see what the situation on HodlHodl is like. I opened up an account with them and filtered for all the active offers using Revolut as the payment method. I found a seller that was giving a decent rate so I traded a couple of times with him.
Hodlhodl is a pretty slick platform. You can get notifications send to your telegram, it's all web-based.
I wanted to max out my $2,500 Zelle monthly limit for the first month. So I kept buying Bitcoin until I hit my limit for the month.
A week later, I wanted to trade more, but I forgot I was at my monthly limit, and unfortunately my bank declined my payments. I had to wait a couple of weeks for my first 30 day limit to be bumped up. Thankfully, the counterparty I had entered into the contract with was cool with it. You can chat directly to your counterparty on the Bisq and HodlHodl platforms to sort out any issues.
- Be weary of bank lockouts - do not put a payment description of any kind when transferring money to a counterparty.
- Be aware of your bank account's daily and monthly limits. Do not exceed them.
- Conduct 1 trade with a verified account. It gets your street cred going.
- Understand that your counterparty sees your real name when sending money. You may wish to register your transfer accounts in a company LLC (or similar) to show a business name rather than a real name.