Category Archives: Exchanges

Throwing Scraps to The TradeOgre

TradeOgre is a cryptocurrency exchange that specializes primarily in privacy coins.

For a while I hesitated to sign up for the exchange because it looks more like the website for a metal band than a reputable exchange, and the available contact info is minimal at best.

However, I had a few coins I wanted to get rid of. I call them “scraps” because they’re a small quantity that came from test mining various altcoins.

I signed up for the exchange, and it was a fast process because they don’t require any KYC verification. They use two-factor authentication via Google Authenticator, like most exchanges.

I sent in a little Garlicoin (GRLC), Turtlecoin (TRTL), and Ravencoin Lite (RVL) [since renamed to Avian (AVN)]. I wanted to send in some Masari (MSR), but the wallet was unable to send outgoing transactions. I didn’t have the patience to mess with a broken wallet, so I uninstlaled it and deleted the data directory. Say goodbye 11 cents worth of Masari forever.

What I saw from the website made it look like there were no trade minimums. Nothing was mentioned on the fees page. I was wrong. There is a trade minimum and it’s $3. That’s quite reasonable, but it would have been nice to know beforehand and it’s something I’d expect to see on a fees page.

I sold the 47 cents of Garlicoin by buying $3 worth and then selling the whole batch. I lost a couple cents in the spread, but at least I’m rid of Garlicoin and managed to get a little bit out of it.

I decided to keep the RVL. The Ravencoin Lite/Avian saga is a story for another day.

The 17 cents worth of Turtlecoin I have sitting on TradeOgre will probably sit there until the heat death of the universe. TRTL’s bizarre setup where you have to pick a node to send through  with each node having varying fees is quite odd, and a dangerous trap for those who aren’t paying attention because the fees can be exorbitant. I used, which had no additional fees, but overall the coin is not something I find appealing.

Since my initial “scraps cleanup”, I’ve traded RVN, RVL, RTM, and LTC on TradeOgre. It’s fast, smooth, and reliable. Although they might look a little shady, it’s legit. I even contacted them via Twitter for support to correct a problem with a Litecoin address and they were very responsive and helpful.

Don’t be afraid of the ogre. It’s a good exchange.

Buying GoByte (GBX) on STEX from the United States

There’s an altcoin I want to get more of. It’s called GoByte (GBX), and is used primarily in Asia. It was created in Malaysia back in 2017 and seems to have fairly active development.

The “major” exchanges available to US citizens — BinanceUS, Bittrex, Coinbase, and Kraken — don’t trade GBX. Of the exchanges that do, HitBTC is not available to US citizens.

However, I did find an exchange that trades in more obscure crypto and is available in the US. It’s STEX. Although they don’t allow funding via ACH, they do allow funding via credit card.

Signing up was easy enough, and no more trouble than any other exchange.

For more trading freedom and lower commissions, you need to verify your identity with them. Their preferred identity verification partner is Cryptonomica, so I started that process after signing up.

Before signing up with Cryptonomica, I did a search for the company. They seemed legitimate and above board.

Cryptonomica is a bit more thorough than other places, in that they wanted both a passport and driver’s license, phone validation, encryption keys with at least 2048 bits, and even a video recording of me stating my identity.

However, when I made it to the phone validation portion, the website threw a Twilio login error. I forwarded this to support, but so far I’ve been unable to finish their verification process.

While this might be an honest glitch caused by someone doing a careless Friday code deploy, it’s worrisome. The feel of the site itself seems a little sketchy, and it was founded by two Ukranians (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se). If someone can make a mistake like breaking their 2FA account, who’s to say that they won’t have made other security mistakes that would leak my identity documents to the world?

Cryptonomica didn’t respond to my support email after 24 hours, and attempting to verify the next day failed in the same way. I also noticed that the last post on their Facebook account was in March 2020, so I’m not even sure it’s a going concern. Rather than go through the hassle, I used STEX’s own verification, which was pretty simple and painless, even if it does come with a lesser commission reduction (0.15% vs 0.1%).

While waiting for verification, I tried to create a receiving address for some Tron (TRX) that I wanted to exchange. It wouldn’t let me create a receiving address, saying that verification was required. Since it says that verification takes 36 hours when you start the process, I decided to wait until that finished to try again.

The next day, I got impatient and tried to use one of their other verification partners – That failed pretty quick when they redirected me to Fractal’s site and their registration page was broken with content security policy script load errors on the developer console. Their other verification partner is only for people in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, so that wasn’t an option.

I go through so much verification nonsense for tax purposes even though I have never failed to report a cent of income and have never lied on my taxes. I really wish the United States would just chip its citizens at birth and any time a financial transaction happens, it’s transmitted to the IRS. That opportunities should be denied to me as a US citizen (such as crypto exchanges in Asia) just because the IRS can’t watch what I’m doing with my money every second is ridiculous. I’m not a fan of being punished because someone else misbehaved.

STEX ended up taking a week to verify my account. This makes sense, since two of their verification partners are broken and their verification team probably has a higher workload. What is odd, though, is that the verification will expire in 6 months, 2022-04-10.

After verification, I was able to transfer in some Tron (TRX), sell it for Bitcoin, and buy some GoByte. The spreads weren’t great, but they also weren’t terrible considering what a low-volume coin GBX is.

I was also able to transfer the coins out of STEX with no difficulty, and now I have a good source for buying GoByte. I’m sure I’ll use STEX again, since I want more GBX.

You can always GBX me at GNyGaHXBUvvUQ8Uv2u5j1o8j3MkkDVGWVx

Buying Raptoreum (RTM) and Litecoin Cash (LCC) on SouthXchange

A couple days ago I bought Raptoreum via Graviex and had a hard time due to the low liquidity. This time I wanted to try an exchange with much better liquidity. For a buyer from the United States, that makes SouthXchange the best option.

I signed up for an account, and it was the easiest and most straightforward process of any exchange I’ve signed up for. In fact, there was so little KYC that I’d imagine that regulators will be giving them a hard time soon. Enabling 2FA was easy, since like most exchanges they use Authenticator.

When I finally got set up with a trading window, I noticed something odd. Their pinned currency at the top included Trumpcoin (TRUMP), which was down 15%. So, like its namesake, it was a worthless loser.

Funding my account was very easy because they accept Tron (TRX). Tron is one of my favorite currencies to send to an exchange because it’s fairly stable (I believe the large initial investor allocation may be a factor there), has pretty good liquidity, and has almost no transfer fees. But as I write this, it looks like TRX got a little unstable. Ah, crypto.

Exchanging the Tron for Bitcoin (BTC) was easy, and they have a very easy-to-use trading interface that isn’t very intuitive at first, but after clicking around a bit it becomes very clear and smooth.

Like my Graviex experiment, I bought about $20 worth of Raptoreum. This time I got 1997 RTM for around $19.50, which I’m pretty happy with.

I also bought 2729 Litecoin Cash (LCC) for about $40 because that also has good liquidity and a small spread.

Transferring those purchases out of SouthXchange was also easy, and hassle-free. Coins in, traded, and out in only a few minutes.

I would definitely trade on SouthXchange again, especially since I’d like to acquire more of the two coins I just bought. I did not explore their dice system, or faucets, or chat. I was just looking to trade, and the exchange does very well at that. I can almost forgive them for trying to make me think about American politics, which is only slightly more gross than watching sausage be made.

Buying Raptoreum (RTM) with Graviex

I wanted to do a simple thing — buy $20 USD worth of Raptoreum (RTM). None of the cryptocurrency exchanges I had an account with were trading it, which is no surprise since it is a fairly obscure altcoin.

Opening an account with Graviex was fairly simple and straightforward and there was nothing weird about it. I completed the Know Your Customer (KYC) steps without hassle. You can fund your account with a credit card, but I wanted to fund with crypto instead.

I had some cash (USD) in Bittrex, and since there’s not a lot of low-fee overlap between coins that trade on both exchanges, I bought some Ravencoin (RVN) to send over. Some of Bittrex’s withdrawal fees are exorbitant, but withdrawing Ravencoin is only 1 RVN, or just under 11 cents USD as I write this. There may have been another coin that I could have used that had lower fees, but I doubt its liquidity would be as good as RVN.

I sent the Ravencoin in, and it took 60 minutes to confirm — Graviex requires 60 confirmations, which is a bit on the long side, but not unreasonable.

Since I couldn’t trade Ravencoin for Raptoreum directly, I had to convert it to Bitcoin (BTC). Selling the RVN for BTC was fairly straightforward, although their trading interface takes a little getting used to.

Now that I had a little BTC, I created an order for Raptoreum. That altcoin has very low liquidity and even less liquidity on Graviex, with only 2941.6 RTM traded in the last 24 hours. It had a large spread with buy orders at 18.8 Satoshis and sell orders at 24.7 Satoshis, so my order just sat there for a while. I eventually gave up and put in a buy order at a higher price.

After the purchase, withdrawing my RTM was easy. The fee was only 0.002 RTM, much more reasonable than Bittrex.

The end result is that I ended up with only 1595 RTM. In other words, I spent $20 to get $15 worth of Raptoreum. That reminds me of trading pink sheet stocks 20 years ago. In terms of Graviex, today I am a market-moving whale.

It looks like SouthXchange also supports RTM and has a much higher volume, so I think I’ll try that exchange next. I probably should have started there, but $5 is a low price to pay for a learning experience in the world of fairly obscure altcoins.

I would trade on Graviex again, but I will definitely check the volume first next time.