Once you have been active in the crypto space for some time you start creating a comfort zone without even realizing it. I call it Crypto Inertia which makes us stick to the coins, wallets and exchanges we have been using for a while and not try anything new. This is linked to basic human nature which likes to stick to familiar surrounding and not venture into the unknown. This is in a way good as it protects us from scams and disasters but there’s a negative side also as we may miss out on some amazing new options available.
I was in this comfort zone until sometime back where my crypto world was limited to Bitcoin, Coinbase and Trezor. I was a bitcoin maximalist and considered all other coins including ETH as doomed for failure, I only used Coinbase to buy my Bitcoin and did not trust any other exchange. I stored all my Bitcoin on Trezor and considered all other wallets as too risky to store my precious BTC.
I stayed in this bubble for a long time but then slowly I started to explore ETH and ERC20 projects. Soon I had to create an account of Binance, then buy a Ledger Nano. Next I got to know if Staking crypto and I had to try Atomic Wallet. I soon realized the value of these new options- Binance offered much better exchange rate than Coinbase and it supported so many coins whereas Coinbase had really limited options. I found out how convenient Atomic wallet was and how easy it was to stake a wide variety of coins there.
I will not say that all my crypto adventures were so pleasant as on the way I found many exchanges and wallets which were outright awful. A key lesson learnt was that you should be open minded to new things even if some of them might be awful.
I was happy with Coinbase and Binance and thought I won’t need any other exchange, as I had tried Bisq and Idex which I didn’t like much so it left a bad taste for me regarding Decentralized exchanges.
Keeping this in mind I was a bit apprehensive about trying ChangeNow as I had serious doubts about what can it offer me that Coinbase and Binance are not already providing.
However I told myself that, Sam you got to try it once at least and then decide if you want to continue or not. I am glad I took that decision as this opened my eyes to a whole new dimension in crypto exchange. In this article I am going to layout what are the key features of ChangeNOW which make it a must try for all crypto enthusiast even if you have been using other exchanges and are feeling more or less content with them.
- Non-Custodial Transactions
This has been the most differentiating factor for me in ChangeNOW. If I compare this to all other exchanges I have used so far, I have not come across this option. In other exchanges to convert a coin you first need to send the coins from your wallet to the online local wallet of the exchange then you need to check what all trading pairs are available. If you find a pair you are interested in then the trade is executed and depending on the volumes you might have to wait a bit. Once the trade is completely executed your newly traded coins would be available on your online local wallet of the exchange and then you will have to perform the last step of transferring these to your personal wallet.
This last step has usually been the worst experience in most of the new platforms I have tried. Some exchanges put a exorbitant fees on making a withdrawal out of the exchange. One particularly bad experience was when I did a trade on MXC exchange and tried to transfer the USDT (Tether) to my local wallet. At this step MXC bluntly declared they will charge a flat fee of 2 USDT for each withdrawal. I basically paid 2 USDT for a 10 USDT withdrawal which was effectively a 20% commission. I decided never to use MXC ever again, no matter how attractive a trading pair they might offer.
I always have this never ending fear of losing my tokens on the exchange due to some hacking or error. The regular news of exchanges getting hacked makes this fear worse. Due to this I never leave any tokens online on an exchange I transfer them out the same day.
The best pat of ChangeNow is you never transfer your coins online. The whole trade can be broken down into the following steps:
- Specify the Trading pair and how many tokens you want to exchange. To try it out I converted USDC to ETH. I provided an ETH address where the exchanged ETH will be delivered.
- Next you will be given an address where you transfer the coins to be converted. I sent the USDC to this address.
- Next ChangeNOW will automatically search for an exchange where the most profitable exchange rate is available. Then execute it. You might think it might be really time consuming but it took less than a minute.
- As soon as the trade is complete the coins will be transferred to your personal wallet at the address you had provided at the first step.
For people like me who are paranoid about safety of their coins in online exchanges this is a great safety feature. I plan to shift most of my trades from Binance to ChangeNOW.
2. Friendly Interface- Simple, Fast & Easy
The trading interface of most exchanges is really intimidating for someone who is new to crypto. Imagine you are making a first trade and land up on a screen with detailed candle bar graphs and moving averages. Chances are high you might panic and close your screen. ChangeNOW has really simplified the process that a complete newbie can use it. The steps I explained for the sample transaction I explained above can be easily taught to a high school student or an old granny.
There are not too many steps which makes the instructions easy to follow and the fast processing time makes it really convenient. I have been to many exchanges where the transfer would take hours. I remember one transfer which took 10 hours, I had actually given up hopes of ever receiving those tokens.
3. Best Transaction Rates
We all know about Crypto Rate Arbitrage, which simply means that there might be considerable difference in the exchange rate for a pair between different exchanges at any given point of time. Most of us don’t bother to compare rates and just accept the rate offered by the exchange we are familiar with. In my case I found the exchange rate on Binance decent and never bothered to compare it with other exchanges.
Frankly speaking I was not expecting ChangeNOW to offer better rates than Binance but I don’t know how but they managed to beat the rate of Binance.
Once you select the trading pair they show you what is the exchange rate available. Once you execute the trade they search if there is a better rate and at end of transaction they showed what was the final exchange rate. This is a big advantage for people who trade regularly as even small improvements in trading rates will make a big difference for them long term. For a long term investor like me this is not so critical but who will complain if you offer him a discounted rate.
4. No Hidden Fees
Normally the exchanges eat up a small % of your crypto at each stage of your transaction. They charge a commission for conversion. Then they charge a fee for withdrawal. At the end you can notice the crypto that arrives back to your wallet is much less than what you expected.
ChangeNOW does not charge any fee at any stage of the transaction. I am wondering how are they making the money to run their operations. I think one option could be the premium they are charging if you buy crypto from fiat as the rate offered there is not so attractive.
5. Scope to Raise Crypto Adoption
Looking from a long term perspective for crypto adoption in general, I feel ChangeNOW can play a pivotal role. This can be achieved by their widget feature. This basically means you can embed the trading interface in any of the sites or blogs you manage.
If you are an old time blogger this is as revolutionary as when Youtube allowed embedding of Youtube videos on sites. So people could watch the video on the site without moving to a different site.
Similarly with the ChangeNOW widget people can make the crypto transaction on any of the crypto blog which ahs this widget without going to any external site. It has a huge potential to boost crypto adoption amongst masses.
If you run a large successful blog you can earn a handsome commission as well. My blog is not so popular but I am going to try out the widget in anycase.
6. 100% Decentralized- No KYC, No Registration
One key fundamental of decentralization is true anonymity. The moment we introduce KYC we introduce the potential of regulatory control. I was able to perform the transactions without any KYC or formal registration. Lengthy registration process and KYC formalities can be a major deterrent and turn off for a majority of people. Satoshi had created Bitcoin with a vision that anyone can use it with complete anonymity and no fear of government or regulatory backlash. All popular exchanges are introducing KYC and Coinbase agreeing to surveillance is making things worse. Having KYC free options is a welcome sight.
Before I end I would like to highlight some areas that I think can still be improved
1. Buying Crypto on ChangeNOW is Expensive
At the time of writing this article BTC was trading at $9,250 but as you can see that if I tried to buy BTC by fiat on ChangeNOW it will cost me more than $10,000. This is too high and at this rate it can not compete with other exchanges specially Coinbase.
2. There can be KYC in future
They don’t have a detailed or mandatory KYC now but there site has left it a bit vague hinting in future there might be stricter KYC and they might do it on accounts they find suspicious or if asked by the government. Let’s see how this evolves in the future
If you liked what ChangeNOW has to offer and would like to try out for yourself then feel free to use my affiliate link - https://changenow.io?link_id=a5c52cefe38a79
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