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Australian client wants to pay me via a coinbase digital wallet

Hi, I am a professional consultant. I have clients all over the USA who pay me via direct deposit for my coaching services. I have a new client who lives in Australia, who wants to pay my $2000 – $4000 per month fee via coinbase. He wants me to set up a digital wallet, he’ll transfer money and then I’ll transfer funds to my bank. Is this a regular occurrence? Is there anything shady about this? My accountant says there is no 1099 as he’s not a USA resident and doesn’t pay USA taxes. How do i protect the deposited value of say, $2000 , so it remains $2000 until i withdraw it?

Is this safe? I’ve read reviews about it taking a long time to get funds and there will also be fees (which I will pass onto the client if there are fees associated with this type of transaction.)

What do you think?

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11 Comments

  1. Coinbase is the biggest exchange in the US, if you’re using it exactly as you described there wouldn’t be a problem.

    A lot of people here conveniently leave out their illegal/questionable actions that resulted in their account being frozen.

    I would only accept stable coins, such as DAI, if the volatility is a concern.

    What I’d keep in mind is the very high fees for selling / instant withdrawal, maybe charging him a convenience fee to compensate.

    Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have.

  2. If you convert the crypto immediately into US dollars, then you don’t have to worry about losing due to price volatility. Understand the percentage the exchange will charge you to transfer the USD to your bank and factor that into your fee. Understand that you’ll still have to declare these transactions on your taxes as you would stock transactions (i.e., capital gains). Also, there’s a risk of Coinbase seizing the funds if they can be traced to stolen addresses, so consider adding a term to your agreement that payment is not complete if seized by the exchange.

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  4. > Is this safe?

    No… you would be in violation of the terms of service leaving the funds subject to seizure.

    Read the `legal` section of the website CAREFULY. Pay close attention to anything with the phrase “personal use”. There used to be one such clause in the terms of service earlier this year, but they change it all the time, so you have to refer back to it regularly.

    If you did choose to go forward using a liberal definition of “personal use” I would do the following.

    1. Set up YOUR OWN account on coinbase
    2. Give him your email and phone number you used to set up the account to deposit to.
    3. Enable notifications on all transactions
    4. Spam your email refresh key waiting for an expected deposit.
    5. Sell the funds for USD the instant they arrive in your account
    6. Withdraw the funds to your bank
    7. Wait 2 to 21 days for the funds to arrive at your bank
    8. Once arrived ask your bank when the funds will be “available” to spend
    9. Record the amount of time from CB deposit to bank availability

    If you find the amount of time it took to get the funds in #9 acceptable, then carry on, but get funds off of coinbase the instant they arrive since they are subject to seizure while they are there.

    I also need to warn you that any bank account you link to is open to attack through coinbase. If you don’t know data security, spend some money on Yubikey and learn how to use Authenticator. Add hardware-2FA (yubikey) to your bank, email and coinbase accounts. Use ghastly long random passwords and random userids on all three. Have a dedicated bank account for this CB buisness that you keep completely empty.

    All and all… not recommended unless you are already have a coinbase account and do all this stuff, or want to.

  5. If you are only doing this for one client you can use any wallet to receive and then transfer it to Coinbase to convert it to fiat (cash). Coinbase does have a wallet app, so you own the keys, you can link this to your Coinbase account to simplify selling.

    If you use a stablecoin (like USDC) You would potentially need to pay a mining fee with Ethereum to move the funds to the exchange. The cost varies, but around $10 wouldn’t be unusual.

    The pros to using USDC is that Coinbase pegs it 1:1 with USD so you won’t lose anything even if the crypto market tanks.

    You could opt to use Stellar (Xlm) it has very low mining fees, so transferring from a Wallet to the Coinbase Exchange would cost pennies. But the price is more volatile, so you would want to know when the funds were coming so you could sell them right away. The exchange would take a percentage for the conversion (there are ways to save if you use Coinbase Pro).

    You should not have the client send funds to your Coinbase exchange address directly, this is where people can get into trouble and get their accounts locked temporarily. This is due to concerns with money laundering.

    If you want to simplify things or plan to use this feature with multiple clients you could use [https://commerce.coinbase.com/](https://commerce.coinbase.com/) – it streamlines the acceptance of crypto, but depending on how you set it up, you would manually need to convert funds. This would also help avoid and legal issues.

  6. Let’s assume your client is doing nothing nefarious or illegal:

    Most likely, your client has a Coinbase account, and has funds in the account that recently grew in value. It would make sense for someone into crypto to want to pay for goods and services with crypto. Coinbase was recommended most likely because that will be the easiest/convenient way for you to end up with real cash money. If they have a Coinbase account and you have one too, it’ll make for easy payments. You can then either keep it as crypto with the belief the value will go up. Or you can sell it on Coinbase which creates US dollars, which you can then send to your bank.

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