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Bittrex and Me


This is a post about Bittrex and eventually I get to that. But first, some context.

Someone said me in 2014: You are the Bitcoin whisperer of University Ave. (Palo Alto, CA)   He said that  because I introduced Scott Robinson, fintech advisor, founder of Bitcoin Accelerator and the original Bitcoin Meetup in Silicon Valley, and Jean Paul Coupal, owner of Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto which accepted Bitcoin early on.  These were the days when bitcoin was an exotic word and many had no idea what it was. I’m actually a nobody in the crypto world but if no one else knows what you are talking about,  and it is early days, maybe no one knows that.  One time long ago XAPO contacted me and asked if I would write about them. They were young, in Palo Alto, and in need of getting known and someone there knew I wrote about tech stuff and went to Bitcoin meetups and they needed some publicity. 
Quoting myself from that very long ago post wherein I wrote about XAPO:

He followed me out of the coffee bar and said, “Excuse me, was that a Bitcoin transaction you just did?” Since he was behind me in line at Coupa Cafe, Palo Alto’s only retail place I know to use Bitcoin, I assumed the question was rhetorical. Wasn’t it obvious?  I had my phone out and pushing buttons and doing the QR code and the entire drill. Purchasing with Bitcoin at the retail level is a bit of a sideshow. If my hair isn’t looking good, I’m using cash because everyone gathers round and looks at you. No wonder it isn’t mainstream. Kind of like, Does my SAT score make me look fat? Is my short story on artificial intelligence/machine learning too much for pillow talk?

Yes, it was a Bitcoin transaction I told him.  “Oh good”, he replied, “because I’m a lawyer with clients with Bitcoin startups and I have no idea how it works.”Hmm. My mind was wandering: “And you waited until now to find out? Do they know you are clueless? No googling, no meet ups? No purchasing and using? You don’t know what it is and they pay you? Can I become a lawyer too?”   How could he represent clients in this exciting field and not even know how it works? I jumped all over Bitcoin when I heard about it.  A cryptocurrency? The blockchain? Mining?  Feed me more.  I want to know what this is all about.
The above is just to establish my somewhat obscure and, if truth be known, thin street cred in the cryptocurrency world. I did defend BTC against the bubble theory, calling it an S curve and I did learn enough about the blockchain from Scott Robinson to prove to Coupa Cafe that I had been charged three times for the same cup of coffee, and I have met some amazing people in the crypto world (Thank you, Scott and how I miss the meetups. They were awesome. And so was the pizza.)
I saw bitcoin become a known entity. The meetups went from 10 or 15 people to 300. The price acceleration from say, $500, to almost 20K was the kickstarter for that. 
Enter Bittrex. (and you thought I’d put you first?)
Out of the blue one day my kid in LA who had no interest in crypto asked me  if I knew about LISK.  No, I did not. He said he had it on good sourcing that it was a buy.  This was shocking.  What circles was he running in now?  Ok, I bought some.  But it had to be bought on a special exchange which is how I found BITTREX.  I opened an account and over time lost interest in it as I lost my investment in LISK.   I still sometimes follow it on Reddit threads. 
I also lost interest in Bittrex because they changed the user interface and I couldn’t even find my barely visible whatever was left of LISK account.
On May 21, 2020 I received an email from BITTREX:
 It’s been a while since you’ve logged into your Bittrex account – we miss you  As a special offer, we are reducing your trading fees to 8bps for the next three weeks.*
And then, a few weeks later, I find out my account has been disabled.

No one can explain to my satisfaction why they need to verify ownership. Why would they? Did they lose something? Get hacked? Screwed up? How can they not know I am the owner? That’s the path I need to know about because that’s the problem area.

In order to verify my account I must take 3 pics with arms and shoulders showing and holding in one place a government issued ID (I use CDL) and in another place a piece of paper with BITTREX on it and the date.  I can’t do this the normal selfie way and since I am on the road and don’t know anyone to ask to take a pic I have to learn how to use my Apple watch camera app to take a remote using my iPhone.  Actually I am glad I remembered it can be done and I found instructions but checked with one of the many, many (too many) Apple employee/guards outside the Santa Barbara store about the 3 second timer. (This is why tech is fun. In what sci fi film did I learn how to take a picture with a phone using a watch. None. But Tim Cook and a slew of Apple engineers gave it to me. TY)


I’m not the only one not liking this freezing account stuff from Bittrex. Here’s another’s opinion:

Bittrex does fairly poor when it comes to public opinion, mainly on issues dealing with suspended accounts.  Occasionally, certain accounts will be temporarily suspended pending completion of a review. The process has drawn sharp criticism from the owners of the frozen accounts, who have taken to web forums to air their grievances online. Apparently, this situation has been going on for some time, with only minimal response from the Bittrex team. Overall, according to Bittrex, only about 0.1% of accounts are affected by suspensions, closures, or outright bans. However, many threads have been opened in various BTC forums regarding this matter.
Read more: Bittrex Review (2020 Updated) – A Critical Issue You NEED to Know About | 99Bitcoins

Ok, that’s all I have to say – Bittrex, you have the pics now. Time to get me unfrozen. And as soon as I can figure out where you put my baby LISK and whatever else is in suspended animation, color me gone.  I still don’t understand why you can’t explain you are no longer sure who owns this account and why this doesn’t bother you.
UPDATE: Bittrex replied: “These photos are almost perfect but since the date on the paper does not match the date you submitted the photos we cannot accept them. Can you please send in three new photos that will meet this requirement?”    BITTREX did not request the date that was to be put on the paper to be the date submitted.  I handwrote the date I read the email because the email said, put on “today’s date” and the date was June 20. Done, Bittrex, done!  So, I have requested in house counsel name, we can take it there if they want.

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