Friday, June 16, 2017

Exchanging SGD between Cryptocurrencies (Short Version)

Okay, so here's the short version because I'm sure quite a lot of people want to know this.

You need 2 things:

  • Local bank account
  • Coinhako account

Okay, so let's be quick.

SGD -> Bitcoin / Ethereum

Step 1: Open up a Coinhako account and do whatever verifications necessary
Step 2: Follow the instructions on Coinhako to transfer SGD from your bank to Coinhako
Step 3: Buy Bitcoins / Ethereum on Coinhako
Step 4: Keep your coins with Coinhako (not recommended) or transfer to a wallet where you own the private keys (recommended)

Bitcoin / Ethereum -> SGD

Step 1: Send all the coins you want to cash out to your Coinhako wallet
Step 2: Sell Bitcoins / Ethereum on Coinhako
Step 3: Make a withdrawal request to your bank account

Before you start throwing money in and jump onboard the crpyto train, there are a few things you should know.

1. Creating accounts with these exchanges involves handing over a lot of personal information, such as your NRIC and bank account number. That's just how it works if you want to change SGD into cryptocurrencies.

2. Cryptocurrencies are pseudo-anonymous. Linking a bank account means that your transactions are NOT pseudo-anonymous anymore. The exchange, banks and even the government could find out all your transactions just by looking at the blockchain. (I'm not saying that they would, but I'm saying that they COULD. It is unlikely to be happening now, but it would become more likely in the future if mass adoption takes places)

*Yes, cryptocurrencies have a notorious reputation for shady dealings, so I will not share how to be anonymous with cryptocurrencies in case you might want to do something illegal and paotou me and said GMGH teach you. I'm not going to lie, there are ways to make anonymous transactions, but I'm not going to be the one that teaches you about that today, although I do strongly believe in the right to be anonymous.*

3. Cryptocurrencies are more gambling than investing at this point of time. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

And no, Coinhako is not paying me diddly squat to talk about them. In fact, Coinhako has shit spreads. You can fit a freaking pregnant elephant between the market's price and the stupid prices that they quote. However, they are pretty much your only choice right about now, at least until Xfers gets it shit together and Coinbase becomes a viable exchange again.

Beggars can't be choosers. If you want to try your luck at this crypto stuff, they are your only way in and out of the SGD as of now.

*Coinbase cannot be funded because Xfers is down
*Quoine looks to have the same spreads at Coinhako, and it's more advanced (read: Complicated)
*FYBSG spreads also can fit a preganant elephant, but with what looks to be much lower liquidity
*Localbitcoins spreads can fit TWO pregnant elephants
*Luno doesn't even operate in SG anymore
*Remitano is.. lol

I hope you noticed the lack of any referral links. Honestly, all the exchanges suck. It's just that some suck less than others. However, none are good, so meh. If a better exchange comes along, you can be rest assured I would switch over. As I said before, it is NOT recommended to keep your coins with the exchange. You should transfer it off the exchange and keep it in a wallet where you own the private keys.


  1. I don't know why Coinhako chooses to show the BTC/USD and ETH/USD rates. Those 2 rates are actually close to market rates as shown on coincap. It suggests to me that their SGD/USD rate that they've applied is disgustingly high (around 1.48 vs 1.38). Banks don't even such have high mark ups.

    And they don't accept USD deposits either so again, why bother?

    I hope itbit starts accepting SGD deposits. Their spreads look a lot more reasonable. I've tried to wire some USD to them though, but their bank in San Diego doesn't have a SWIFT code!

    1. Oops replied below instead of replying to your comment.

      BTW, which bank account do you use to keep USD and what is your method to convert SGD to USD?

    2. I don't have a USD account but was thinking of directly converting SGD to USD since bank's FX rate would surely be cheaper than Coinhako.

      I keep some SGD with FYB to pounce on opportunities when the volatility is high. The spreads become narrower and I've even noticed arbitrage opportunities between FYB and Coinhako :P

      Thanks for suggesting Kraken. I've heard some negative news on it but never really gone into the details. I will check it out.

    3. Hi Anon,

      I applied for a DBS eMCA account online and it got approved within half a day. I think it is a good idea to have a USD account so that you could also receive USD funds without having to execute at the prevailing rate. It gives you a bit more flexibility.

      I still feel FYB has larger spreads than coinhako.

      I heard Kraken has a huge backlog for verifying accounts, so it would take 2-4 weeks to be able to fund your account if it gets approved. At least they are diligent though, hah.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. idunnowhatimdoing,

      I saw your comment already.

      DBS eMCA seems to charge about 0.7% +/- 0.1% when it comes to changing SGD to USD.

      I can't really complain, given that they waive all fees when remitting to the US.

      While I might get perhaps 0.2-0.3% better rates at a money changer, I do save at least $25 in transaction fees, as well as I get the comfort and convenience of being able to do it all online, even through my mobile.

      Do you know of a cheaper way to fund an exchange overseas in USD?

    6. 1.47 is almost like Coinhako. Have you seen the SCB USD a/c?

    7. idunnowhatimdoing,

      I didn't mention 1.47.

      This morning when I checked, the rate was 1.3907, while mid market rate was 1.3816 (unless I remembered wrong), which gives out a conversion fee of 0.65%.

      Coinhako's 1.47 rate is more than 6.5% over spot.

      I've only glanced at the SCB USD a/c. How are conversion fees and outward transaction fees?

    8. Based on this link, the conversion rate is as such:

      Or have you tried actually converting using eMCA and got a better FX rate?

    9. idunnowhatimdoing,

      Yeah, that is not an actual rate, just an illustration. That text is hardcoded into the page, meaning it is static and doesn't change.

      The actual rate can be accessed by following that same link and clicking on the right side bar "Foreign Exhange Rates". As of time of writing, the rate to buy is 1.3955 while the mid market rate at XE is 1.38665, which is a 0.63% difference.

      While not the best rate ever, it is still pretty decent IMO, especially considering that it is all done online and ready for you to remit.

      I have tried all the steps until just before the final confirmation. I do not want to convert into USD yet. I will probably be making an actual conversion once my exchange account is live.

      Are you using SCB now? How is that working out?

    10. If those rates as you've stated are indeed true then its still reasonable. Re SCB, I'll go sign up sometime this week. Will update once it's up.

    11. Here's an update. Enquired with SCB on charges:
      Handling comm: 0.0625%; min USD10, max USD35 (0.0312%; min USD5, max USD17.50 for priority banking cust)
      Comm in lieu of exchange: 0.0625%; min USD5, max USD350
      Cable charge: USD15
      Overseas bank charge: SGD50

      Hope this helps.

    12. idunnowhatimdoing,

      It seems like DBS is only winning because they waive commission and cable charges to select countries.

      The conversion fee of SCB looks on par with DBS.

      Thanks for the info!

  2. Hi Anon,

    Yes, I have come to the same conclusion that you have. I've also consistently get the 1.48 rate instead of 1.38 rate when comparing with all the big exchanges.

    Coinhako charges their "exchange fee" of about 1%, but that is applied onto the freaking ridiculous post-exchange rate spreads when converting from USD to SGD. It's a 7% difference in exchange rate, which is outright disgusting. 8% commission from an exchange is just WTF.

    Coinhako is bad, but all the other options are worse. Until there is a better way (Xfers + coinbase WAS better, only 2% fees on a good rate), there isn't really a choice.

    I'm trying to figure out if there is a better way into cryptos. Uphold (by credit card) and Kraken (by wire transfer) seems promising, but requires more research. Since I am a long term crypto believer, I am more concerned about cheaply getting in, and less concerned about getting out. It is just nice to have an exit strategy, just in case.


    PS. Kraken looks very promising actually

  3. Hi! try using Gemini instead - if you wire transfer from DBS, no extra charge.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion YH, I'm reading up on them now. Do you use them? How is it so far?

    2. It looks pretty good, especially since they don't have any withdrawal or deposit limits from wire transfers.

      They also have no withdrawal fees?

      Sounds a bitttttt too good to be true.

  4. Yup I am currently using Gemini exchange - used to use Coinhako but as you said, the spread was terrible.

    Verification process took around 3 working days for me - but once it was verified, everything works well! Wire transfer from DBS also took about 2-3 working days.

    Also, Gemini is an exchange and not a digital wallet so I find that it is better! Can set limit orders etc.

    1. Sounds good YH, thanks a lot! I think I will be signing up testing it out!

  5. I'm new to crypto, and trying out Gemini.

    Any recommendations which wallet to use for storage?

    1. Hi, I have a post regarding hardware wallets up tmr. I recommend only hardware wallets for storing any serious amounts of crypto. I use a Ledger Nano S.

  6. Hi Guys... Which is the best wallet to use right now. Coinhako, FYB or Gemini?

  7. looks like coinhako w xfers is back up. tried Quoine? the spread looks better + there is a no-fee promo now


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