All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
Bitwala is a service that makes bank transfers on your behalf in exchange for bitcoins, so you can use it to pay bills in Euro by spending Bitcoin you own. What is more interesting though it the Bitcoin virtual assistant called LolaBot that the company has just launched and it is dubbed the Siri for Bitcoin. LolaBot is a fun and more personal way to get to know Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. Not only are visitors able to ask general questions such as the price of Bitcoin, who invented Bitcoin and so on, visitors interested in getting to know Bitwala can also ask questions about the company, the founders, and even about Lola herself.
Do note that LolaBot requires you to use Chrome, Safari or Chromium browser in order for the full functionality to be available, including the voice recognition feature, using it on other browsers will still work, but you will have to type your questions instead of speaking them. It is more of a fun project at the moment than something very functional and useful, but you might still want to give a try and ask LolaBot some questions regarding Bitcoin or crypto currencies or maybe even about the services that Bitwala offers to its customers.
The European company Bitwala that provides services for paying bills by transferring Bitcoin to fiat and more recently started offering BTC to PayPal transfers has added a new service – Bitcoin-powered Debit Cards. According to the service the cards should be already available for “Tier 2 verified” customers in the form of a physical or a virtual debit card nominated in Euro. You can order a virtual Bitcoin debit card for 5 EURO or a physical card for 10 Euro with the regular 0.5% percent fee of the service and funds should be credited on the card up 3 business days and often a lot faster according to the information available (during work days it should not take more than a few hours). This means that similar to their BTC to PayPal service the transfer of Bitcoins to your BTC powered debit card will not be immediate and this in the world of crypto currencies is a serious issue. When you want to spend Bitcoins through a debit card that is powered by BTC you will normally want to be able to immediately spend the coins as fiat and not having to wait for up to a few days. Thee are already alternatives for Bitcoin debit cards that we have tried and that offer users to immediately spend their available coins in a wallet or loaded to the card as fiat such as Xapo Bitcoin Debit Card or E-coin Bitcoin Debit Card. Though having more alternatives and different options can be helpful at times, especially in the world of crypto currencies, so this is one more option for a Bitcoin debit card that you can have.
Bitwala is an interesting service that makes bank wire transfers on your behalf in exchange for Bitcoins, so that you can pay your bills with BTC for example. It is an European company that currently supports only SEPA bank transfers, so it is usable to send BTC to an European bank account only, though you can send Bitcoins from anywhere in the world. The primary operating currency is Euro (EUR) with only 0.5% fee on the BTC to Euro bank payments, but multiple other currencies are also supported with a higher fee. This makes the service an interesting and fast way to transfer Bitcoin to bank accounts in Europe and that goes not only to convert BTC to Euro in your bank, but also send payments.
Things just got even more interesting with the service just announcing the addition of support for sending Bitcoins to PayPal accounts as well with the same low 0.5% fee for Euro conversion. This makes it even more interesting for worldwide use and not only for European Bitcoin users like it was before thanks to the BTC to SEPA wire transfers. Since PayPal is the preferred method for payment when using eBay and making other online purchases thanks to the layer of protection that it adds over the use of a credit card directly the ability to quickly and easily convert Bitcoins to Euro and have them in your PayPal account seems like quite a useful feature.
As soon as you register you will have a monthly limit of 200 Euro, but as soon as you confirm your email address and enter your basic details such as name and address the limit will be increased to 500 Euro. For the next level of 2000 Euro limit you need to provide identity verification documents that are required in order to comply with EU law. For the third level with a monthly limit of 50000 Euro you would need to go through a quick Skype call with a representative from the service. For most people even the first level of verification will be enough to try out the service and see if it will work as well as you would expect it to and if it is something that you might find useful either for paying bills with Bitcoins or for sending BTC to your PayPal account.
The first test transaction to send Bitcoins using the service to PayPal that we did took us a little over 5 hours from the moment we have initiated the procedure and sent the BTC to the moment we’ve received confirmation that the money have been sent to our PayPal account. Out of those a bit over 5 hours roughly two were needed for the Bitcoin transaction to be confirmed on the network and another three for the PayPal transfer to be initiated. There is a bit of a problem here that we did not see clearly explained with the BTC to PayPal support that the service has introduced and that is the fact that eChecks are being used to fund your PayPal account and while we got a confirmation on the transfer received, the money sent are not immediately available for use like you would probably want them to be. According to PayPal: “This eCheck payment will post to your PayPal balance once the funds have cleared from the sender’s account, which usually takes 3-5 business days” and we have to wait for November 12th for the eCheck payment to be cleared and for us to actually be able to use the funds from within PayPal. Unfortunately this pretty much kills the usability of the service if you have to wait up to a week after you initiate the BTC to PayPal transfer as you probably would want to be able to use the funds withing a few hours, not within days. It will still be faster and more convenient to do a BTC to SEPA wire transfer to the bank account of a card linked to your PayPal account than to take advantage of the Bitcoin to PayPal service!