Bringing the story of crypto compliance alive

Bitcoin of America

Using my journalistic skills I was able to turn the dry subject of financial compliance for crypto business Bitcoin of America, into a compelling story about how it worked with the FBI and its bank to overcome the obstacles.

Creating the article allowed me to combine the recent news of successfully working with the FBI to return half a million dollars to fraud victims, with an earlier story about having their bitcoin ATMs destroyed.

Key to connecting the article elements was an interview with Bitcoin of America’s attorney William Suriano, which allowed me to flesh out the details, for example adding that the $496K fraud victims’ restitution actually strengthened Bitcoin of America’s relationship with their bank. Plus through the interview Suriano shared an early lesson, when they made the mistake of selling bitcoin to a customer who then revoked their wire transfer, to show how the business has developed its systems to meet compliance requirements and in learning from experience as a crypto exchange, as well as a bitcoin ATM provider.

Through online research I was able to update the story first told in the crypto press when Bitcoin of America had around 20 of its bitcoin ATMs smashed, leading to a lawsuit in late 2016. “It seemed like the 1920s in Chicago that people would run around and smash competitors’ bitcoin machines just to pay in some kind of competitive advantage and get into a location across the street,” Suriano explains.

Fast forward to 2020 the article took the initiative in reporting the conclusion to the ATM attack. Firstly, with a successful $196,000 court judgement for Bitcoin of America. And in the words of Suriano it “created a pathway for others in the business who know if it were to happen to them that there is a way they can do something,” their successful legal action boosting their reputation in the industry as a whole.

Read the full article on bitcoin.com

** If there’s an interview with your CEO, a White Paper you need writing, or just some feedback on content message me on LinkedIn or contact me on Telegram: http://t.me/stuartgh **

Sent an unsupported token to your Freewallet account?

Yes, I admit it, I sent an unsupported token to my Freewallet account last August. So I thought after yesterday’s tweet on the subject I would chart what’s happened. Partly to see what can be done to rectify the situation, and partly because I suspect there’s a wider story here about how the crypto sector needs to get better at dealing with consumer issues if its going to grow from its current community base.

I should say in the relevant support page on listing tokens in Freewallet it states:

“If the transaction of the token was made to your Freewallet address before the token was listed with us, you need to contact our support team for it to become available in your balance. Still, it cannot be done instantly and it does take a while to start supporting a new token, that’s why we recommend you to always make sure that the token is supported prior to sending it.”

On 10th August after I alerted support I received the following friendly response –
support ticket ID is 169025:

Dear Stuart,

Looks like you purchased some tokens that are not supported in our app yet. You can view the full list of supported tokens here.

I`ve forwarded your request to add OCTb token to our development team. Please note that this is not an automated operation. It may take several weeks/months. After we add this token, we will send you step-by-step instructions on how to access your balance.

We highly recommend to always check if the token you are about to send is supported by the receiving service. In cases when a user receives an unsupported token, the transaction is not processed correctly.

Consequently, we have to initiate a lengthy refund process, that depends on when the support of this token will be added.

We will update you once we have news. If you have any questions, let me know, please.​

Best regards, 
Fairuza,Support Manager, 
Freewallet

On 10th September I tried again. And again got a friendly reply:

Hello,
Your case is processing. Sorry for the delay and inconvenience caused.
Best regards, 
Paul,
Support Manager, 
Freewallet

On 9th October Another email, and the following reply from Paul in support..

Hello,
Please note that it may take several weeks/months. After we add this token, we will send you step-by-step instructions on how to access your balance.We will contact you as soon as we have any information for you.

Best regards,
Paul,
Support Manager, 
Freewallet

And a couple of days later, a reply from Christina..

Hello,
Thank you for your query!Unfortunately, we can’t manage your tokens before creating support of these tokens.We are working towards a resolution.Hope to resolve it soon.

I waited to the 1st November and asked again..and was rewarded with a reply from Mike

Hello,
Unfortunately, we don’t support them yet. 
We ill contact you as soon as we enable that token. 
Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Best regards,
Mike,
Support Manager, 
Freewallet

On 11th December, after setting up 2FA authentication on my account (I’m a slower learner!) I checked in with support..

Hi Stuart,
Your request for the refund was sent in processing but we still do not support OCTb tokens. I can’t give you ETA right now, but our Fin team will contact you once we have news.
I am sorry to keep you waiting for so long.
Best regards,
Fairuza,Support Manager, 
Freewallet

As it was now Jan 2020 I thought I’d check in to see if there’d been any news over the festive break.

Hello,
We will contact you as soon as we have any updates for you.
Best regards,
Paul,
Support Manager, 
Freewallet

At this point I thought I would get the help of well known crypto scam buster On Yavin, CEO of Cointelligence, and forwarded him the email thread with Freewallet.

Whatsapp message to On Yavin on 18th Jan 2020

But again, no joy from On, though I did get hold of their PR head Solomon Brown’s contact detail..and sent him an email at the end of February:

The problem is that while your support team have been super nice about it, right now it doesn’t look like a solution is in sight, to either list the tokens on Freewallet or find a way to return them. 

As a fellow professional I appreciate that such issues negatively impacts on you in the long run, and therefore your workload. So I wanted to connect with you Solomon, to see if you can help me to find a solution?

Hello Stuart,
I pity to see you in this situation. Sometimes such kinds of cases happened with our clients, and we’re always on our customers’ side. We’d like to make a refund for you. However, Freewallet supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies, and we’ll add other tokens gradually. We have a plan and stick to it.
Our support team is informed about your ticket. I’ve transferred your letter to my colleagues, too. We’ll do everything possible. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you a time frame.
Please feel free to contact us and follow Freewallet news concerning new supported tokens.
All the best
Solomon

My token holding community above!

It seemed I was at a dead end. I gave Solomon a deadline of 18th March, but still no joy.

So what’s left? To publicise my issue and the wider issue of crypto customer support, and post it in the Twitter thread that starts this article.

Freewallet responded by saying, they were investigating and when they “had news, we’ll update you”.

Here’s my point. That’s the same line they said at the start of the issue in August 2019. Leave it with us!