Category Archives: Blog

Buying Cryptocurrency in the UK

So you want to buy some Bitcoins, Dash or other cryptocurrency? Welcome to a wonderful world of workarounds and hurdle jumping. If you have verified yourself on an exchange then now you need to get some funds on there.

UK banks won’t give accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges.

This means most exchanges don’t have Great Britain Pound (GBP) markets. The ones that do have their GBP bank accounts in foreign countries, often Germany or Poland.

Because of this it is costly for anyone in the UK to send GBP to an exchange. I use kraken.com because it is based in the UK and has Euro and GBP based markets. It has GBP and Euro bank accounts based in Germany.

If I try to send GBP from my account in the UK to the exchange’s GBP account in Germany these are the costs:

  1. Normal Current Account, Swift Transfer (£22 flat fee)
  2. Kraken (£10 receiving fee)

Cost: flat fee of £32

My current workflow is this:

  1. Normal Current Account, Bank Transfer (free)
  2. Transferwise (fee = roughly 0.5% or £5 per 1000)
  3. Euro Current Account, SEPA Transfer (£5 using online banking)
  4. Exchange (zero receiving fee with SEPA)

Cost: £5 + £5 per £1000 (so it is cheaper for amounts below £5400)

The Transferwise link above gives you a free £500 transfer from GBP to another currency, you can use it if you set up a Euro current account. I use Transferwise because UK banks will generally charge about £7 plus 3% on currency conversions = £37 per £1000 converted, instead i get a true mid-market rate and just pay a 0.5% fee.

In the UK Barclays and HSBC offer Euro current accounts, you will need to open a normal current account with them if you don’t already have one. This can be done online, but the Euro account will require you to visit a branch.

Allow 3 weeks to get Euro online banking set up and running if you don’t already bank with them.

I hope that is helpful, if you have any questions then contact me directly.

Dash, What’s That?

If email is a electronic mail then Dash is digital cash. One is a system for sending words over the internet and the other is a system for sending value over the internet.

Dash along with others, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin & Etherium, are forms of currency created and transferred between users using cryptography which is the art of writing and solving codes and lies behind the science of securing data.

These cryptocurrencies allow individuals to become their own bank and complete international transactions as well as pay for things in shops where merchants accept them.

Dash also has some interesting features including a system that allows instant payments and a democratically controlled budget that is spent each month on projects that benefit the Dash ecosystem.

On behalf of Circus City I applied to this budget system with a proposal to sponsor the 2017 festival.

I see such huge potential for the technology of Dash and straight away I felt there could be a beneficial collaboration between the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) that is Dash and Circus City.

The circus world needs an independent international payment solution, a way for people to be their own bank and Dash is seeking real world adoption and integration.

Having explained the background a bit in the next post i’ll talk about the process of creating a proposal and engaging in a meaningful way.

Artists as Detritivores

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The Great Chain of Being was an Elizabethan cosmology, with at the top:

God, then King, Nobility, Gentry, Peasantry, Animals, and finally the Land.

This view held that trouble at the top would by it’s very nature shake everything beneath which was suspended from it as links in a chain. King Lear can be read through this lens and we see eventually even the land is driven to madness during the storm on the heath.

There is something pleasantly  simplistic and attractive about hierarchy. No doubt because it implicitly benefits those at the top who in turn seek to define and sustain them.

In the city we might feel ourselves part of a kind of food chain: perched at the top, like magnificently wealthy eagles, sit the developers, then come tame councillors, below them landlords and at the bottom renters. The renters are the grass feeding all the levels above. In this chain you are most likely just food for someone already better off than you.

But the linear hierarchy is an artificial construct, a trick of discourse which defines out thinking, because we are really part of a cycle. In the traditional food chain we have primary producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers and tertiary consumers however there is one more layer which is simultaneously at the top and bottom of this chain, the link which makes it circular: detritivores, being creatures which eat detritus. Without something to eat the fresh corpse, the fallen branch or rotting fruit the world becomes choked with still unmoving death.

The city needs its detritivores too, the ones who will consume and re-use unwanted buildings and neglected spaces. This is the role of artists and squatters, making use of abandoned buildings, saving them from dereliction and re-purposing them. Living from them during that time when they are of no use to the rest of the chain.  Without them the city becomes a still and barren landscape of decay and disuse. With them there is the possibility of a speedy renewal and of course a continuation of  the cycle.