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How emigrants from Russia and Belarus survive in Europe with the help of cryptocurrencies.

In 2022, hundreds of thousands of Russians and Belarusians left their countries for the European Union. In the context of increasingly harsh sanctions, with Russia’s currency laws being sharply tightened, and with strict policies of European banks (many of which practically do not open accounts for Russians and Belarusians), it is cryptocurrencies that have become something of a lifeline.

So how does an expatriate use cryptocurrency abroad:

We advise to use Stablecoins, because of their low volatility. For example USDT (essentially a digital analogue of the dollar).

  1. P2P transactions with cashless payment. To do this, you register on the exchange (e.g. OKX) and in the P2P trading area you exchange your Stableroys for euros, which are then transferred to your card of a neobank (Wise, Revolut, etc.).
  2. Cryptoexchanges. There are offline crypto-exchangers in almost every European country. They are easy to find via google or using BestChange service. Disadvantages – not very profitable rates and high commission of 3-10%.
  3. Cryptocurrencies. Probably the most popular cryptocurrency card by far is Binance. But there are others: Crypto.com, Coinbase, Vexel, etc. The principle is simple. Several coins from the balance of the exchange are linked to the card and you choose a convenient currency (e.g., euros). Such cards usually have no commissions, and plastic is delivered in about a week.
  4. P2P deals for cash. Such deals are usually looked for in special telegram chats. The easiest way to find a person who will agree to the deal is to post an ad in the immigrant chat room of the country you are in to buy currency for your crypto. And you will start receiving offers in your personal message, or you may receive links to local chats. But here you must understand, that rates will be different and not always pleasant. You should also take into account physical risks of such transactions.
  5. Sale on the exchange and withdrawal of non-cash. Here it is necessary to mention right away. Few EU banks can boast of loyal compliance to such transactions. In general, if you do not withdraw amounts larger than $10,000, you usually get by without blocking. Although one should not be one hundred percent sure.
  6. Buying goods and paying bills directly with cryptocurrency. This method occurs, but is quite rare. In Portugal, for example, in May 2022, there was a transaction to buy real estate with bitcoins. It is also possible, for example, to negotiate with a landlord to pay the rent in cryptocurrency or to pay for citizenship processing services. In other cases, it would be very problematic to pay directly in cryptocurrency.

In general, when it comes to not very large amounts of money – all of the above methods are very effective.

But how do you properly withdraw $100,000 or more?

Here it is worth revisiting point 5 and to clarify something. When it comes to large amounts of money (in some banks this also applies to small amounts) banks are required to conduct so-called AML – procedures in addition to confirming the identity. AML literally – Anti Money Laundering. AML (Anti Money Laundering). Banks don’t really like cryptocurrencies, because it is quite a complicated procedure for them to confirm the origin of such funds. And this is not because they can’t or don’t know how, but because this practice is still quite new.

It turns out that if a bank customer independently withdraws large sums from the exchange directly to his bank account, it often ends up being blocked and a long clarification of all the circumstances. In the end the account will be unblocked, but it may take quite a long time.

Therefore, in this case, we recommend contacting companies that provide the appropriate services.

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