Backpage has been seized. I’m so sorry everyone
Sexworkers guide to… Paying for advertising with bitcoin
Disclaimer PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL WITH YOUR MONEY AND TRANSACTIONS. THIS ADVICE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT LEGAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE.
Updates April 2018: Crackpage has stopped taking credit cards again so I have updated this guide to include using Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum as well as Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash gives a 15% bonus, Litecoin and Ethereum give a 5% bonus in credits received. It’s also focused on Australia but can give a general understanding for overseas folk. I’m also using the term crackpage to refer to either Cracker or Backpage. In Australia they are the same, credits loaded onto your account on one will show on the other.
I highly advise reading https://bitcoin.org/en/you-need-to-know at a minimum. Also understand there are risks associated with using Bitcoin. Further information at https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/ in particular the Security https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/#security and disadvantages https://www.weusecoins.com/en/questions/#what-are-the-disadvantages-of-bitcoin sections
What is bitcoin
Bitcoin is a type of currency that is virtual, you might hear it called cryptocurrency. Think of it as internet money. You can’t hold it in your hand or stuff it under your actual mattress but it works in some physical stores and online sites that are set up to take bitcoin like any other money. Luckily for us backpage.com and cracker.com both accept bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency, meaning it’s money controlled and stored entirely by computers spread across the internet” http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
“Bitcoin isn’t just a currency, like dollars or euros or yen. It’s a way of making payments, like PayPal or the Visa credit card network. It lets you hold money, but it also lets you spend it and trade it and move it from place to place, almost as cheaply and easily as you’d send an email.” http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
For more details try
- ‘The Key To The System’ section on http://www.wired.com/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/
- ‘How Does Bitcoin Work’ on https://bitcoin.org/en/how-it-works
- Bitcoin Wiki https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page
- We Use Coins https://www.weusecoins.com/
What are Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum?
Basically they are other types of cryptocurrency so for our intents and purposes they are like Bitcoin. In fact there are hundreds of different types of cryptocurrencies but for paying for your ads only these four are options. If you want to see what some others are have a peek at coinmarketcap. There are some important things to note:
- Don’t send Bitcoin Cash to a Bitcoin address. It’s like sending me 10 Pesos instead of 10 Dollars. At worst you may actually lose everything you sent in that transaction so always double check what you are sending and what the receiving end is expecting.
- Each cryptocurrency has a three letter abbreviation. Like Australian Dollars are AUD and US Dollars are USD, Bitcoin is BTC and Litecoin is LTC. Ethereum is ETC, don’t mix it up with Ethereum Classic (ETC). Bitcoin Cash is usually BCH but is sometimes BCC, such as on the Coinspot exchange. But BCC is also Bitconnect coins, although they are not common, so just double check both the name and the abbreviation to make sure.
Update: I say bitcoins here but you can mostly swap the bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin in. The only restriction is not all wallets or services will work with them all.
Opening a wallet
Update: if you are only buy cryptocurrency for your crackpage account you can skip this part if you want. If you do skip setting up a wallet you will need to register with an exchange and credit your crackpage account directly, see below.
If you own bitcoins you will have a private key which is like an weird looking internet address that’s a register of your bitcoins. You’ll need a program called a wallet to manage your private keys and bitcoins. Wallets will have addresses that look like 17ppddvsAiWHG5gua9x1NY7kJdsav85oQz to send cryptocurrency to another wallet or to pay someone you will need their address. Never try and type out an address, always copy and paste it or scan a QR code. If you type it and make one little mistake the transaction, with your currency, will disappear.
“As with paper money, you can save Bitcoins in a wallet, which stores the public and private keys needed to identify the Bitcoins and execute a transaction. These can be digital wallets that exist in secure cloud environments or on a computer, or they can take physical form. If a wallet is hacked or you lose your private Bitcoin key, you no longer have access to that Bitcoin. Possession of the public address and private key amounts to possession of the Bitcoin.” http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/17/bitcoin-for-idiots-an-introductory-guide/
A wallet is what an account for storing or holding cryptocurrency is called. There are many excellent wallets for smartphones, desktops and web access. For a good list try https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet I’m going to suggest for desktops/web applications (note that web based may potentially be less secure)
- Coinjar (easy to use) https://www.coinjar.com/ This is a wallet I use (update: I don’t love it as much as I used to, they aren’t completely transparent with their fees but they are still easy to use and do have a smartphone app as well) for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
- Armory (super secure) https://bitcoinarmory.com/ (for Bitcoin)
- Blockchain (see below, they have a desktop wallet and a smartphone app)
and for smartphones
- Airbitz (iPhone, android) https://airbitz.co/ or check the app stores
- Blockchain (iPhone, android, desktop) https://blockchain.info/wallet/ or check the app stores. This is a wallet I use ,for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash
but check out the options and find something you are comfortable with. And as always READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS! I haven’t gone over all of them yet and they may change.
*Update: check closely that your wallet doesn’t have anti-sexworkers policies. Coin Cafe and Coinbase should be avoided. Also be aware that many wallets have “must be legal in your location” terms in their legal policies.
Generally speaking some bitcoin wallets will let you transfer money from your bank account to your wallet. Note that to use your wallet with a bank account you will most likely need to meet identity verification requirement https://support.coinjar.com/hc/en-us/articles/202909955-Verifying-your-identity for example, essentially government issued photo ID and a statement showing your full name and current residential address and it could take a few days to process. The other options are to use cash or buy from an exchange.
It is possible to buy bitcoins without a bank account or without linking your wallet to a bank account. WARNING! Be careful with who you trade with. Check reputations and avoid scams.
Bitcoin Australia https://www.coinloft.com.au/ take payments for bitcoin by creating an order online and then doing an over the counter bank deposit at any Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac or NAB bank branch.
Local bitcoins https://localbitcoins.com/ is a marketplace for trading bitcoins locally for cash or online payments of your choice, you can search by location and see who will accept cash or over the counter bank deposit. Please read https://localbitcoins.com/guides/security for security information.
Bitcoin ATM’s exist as well but there are not many of them. Try http://abatech.com.au/ (requires government ID even for cash) and http://coinatmradar.com/ or http://www.bitrocket.co for an ATM search.
For more information on buying bitcoins try https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Buying_Bitcoins_(the_newbie_version)
You can also open an account with a cryptocurrency exchange and buy directly from them online. You will need a verified account, for this you will need to use your real name, provide ID and it might take a couple of days to be approved. Then you usually deposit AUD onto your account and buy whatever cryptocurrency you want (that they offer) on there.
The first rule of exchanges is DO NOT STORE MORE CURRENCY ON AN EXCHANGE THAN YOU ARE WILLING TO LOSE. If you’ve ever heard about Bitcoins being stolen or hacked it is usually through an exchange. If you are just loading dollars on to buy cryptocurrency and then transferring it out to your crackpage account then that’s nowhere near as risky.
If you don’t want to faff around with setting up a wallet this is an option. I’ll show below how to get your crackpage deposit address and instead of sending from the exchange to your wallet you can send directly to your crackpage address.
A few exchanges you can try are
If the exchange gives an incorrect address error when you try to send Bitcoin Cash (I’m looking at you Coinspot) use https://cashaddr.bitcoincash.org/ to change your deposit address to a legacy address and then use the legacy address as the send to address.
My process for buying and using bitcoin
I have set up a fully verified Coinjar account in my real name and linked to my personal bank accounts. I also have a Blockchain wallet set up with Corrines email. My preference for buying bitcoin is through an ATM and I will load it onto either of the wallets. If I’m not near an ATM then I use Coinjar to buy bitcoin using their Poli service. I then either use it straight from Coinjar for everyday things like buying coffee or if I want to use things as Corrine I transfer it to my Blockchain wallet. If you are concerned about transactions between wallets being monitored I would suggest using a mixing service such as https://bitmixer.io/ but to be honest I don’t bother. Update: bitmixer has shut down, I’ll update with an alternative when I find my notes.
This works for me in Australia as an Australian. Otherwise to buy I would use ATM’s, a reputable seller through local bitcoins (see above) or an exchange.
When taking payments from clients I have a few separate addresses in my blockchain wallet so I can keep track of where things have come from.
My process for buying and using bitcoin cash, litecoin or ethereum
I either do the process above for Ethereum or use an exchange. From the exchange I usually go to my wallet or pay to someone else’s address.
Using cryptocurrency for crackpage
On cracker and backpage (they are basically the same) log into your account and go to ‘Buy Credits’. This will bring up a page looking like this (backpage just has a different color scheme), you will need to expand the cryptocurrency section.
Next select currency (for this example I will choose Bitcoin Cash)
Then choose Deposit
On the next screen you will see an address with a copy button next to it. If you want to copy and paste your address this is the way to do it. If you are on a computer or phone and the wallet or exchange you are using are on the same computer or phone this is the easiest way to do it. This address is what you give them to tell them where to send and you will also put in how much to send.
If your cryptocurrency is in a wallet that is on a different device (say you’ve logged into crackpage on your computer but you wallet is an app on your phone) you can create a QR code and then use your wallet app to scan the code.
If you create a QR code this is what it will look like
You’ll need to follow the instructions in your wallet on how to scan a QR code.