The expert guide to safely collecting crypto payments
Ebube Ojimadu, a product manager at Crypto exchange, Quidax talks us through what we need to know before receiving or giving payment in the form of crypto. She warns that before accepting the offer, we must ensure that we know and are comfortable with the crypto that is intended for payment. “Do your research before accepting the deal to ensure that you are not being given a shitcoin”. She also advises that we must be clear on the terms of payment: “do you want to pay them a set amount of crypto? If so, make sure that there is an agreed set amount”.
As a Nigerian living in Nigeria, I believe I speak for at least half of us when I say that the only thing better than getting paid for a quick side gig is getting paid for a quick side gig in a good foreign currency. The only thing I don’t enjoy is the stress of collecting the money.
Let me tell you about the time I left money on the table because of international transfer woes.
It was at the end of 2020 — the peak of the pandemic, so I was working from home. As a result of not spending half of my days in Lagos traffic, I had more free time than I knew what to do with, so I started scouring the internet for some relatively easy, short-term gigs writing for money.
A few weeks later, I got an excellent deal with a company that needed someone to transcribe and write an article for $80. However, they weren’t willing to send the payment via a third-party app to my Nigerian bank account, so I had to get creative. I asked a friend in the U.S. for their Venmo account and shared that with the company. My friend and I then agreed that he would give me the Naira equivalent upon his arrival in Nigeria the next month.
After this ordeal, I started to understand why some companies — even those that are 100% remote — sometimes get inflexible about hiring people outside of their geographical regions. The transfer cost can get expensive, and sometimes the money gets lost in transit and it takes months to recover it. I wondered what the solution might be. Cryptocurrencies and crypto transactions seem to have become the preferred answer for many people.
But how exactly does crypto offer a solution for payments and income, especially in the current market?
To get into the meat of it, I reached out to Ebube Ojimadu, a product manager at Crypto exchange, Quidax.
Ebube explains that like me, many people in countries like Nigeria, where the currency is constantly experiencing devaluation, “prefer to earn in currencies that are considered more stable [like U.S. Dollars], or in high-value assets [like Bitcoin]”.
She adds that she believes “cryptocurrency is the future of money”. “That’s where money is headed”, she says, which is perhaps why even people who don’t have this currency issue are still interested in earning at least part of their income in crypto.
The bad and good of income via crypto.
Ebube says one major advantage of crypto is that it is borderless, so it is the same all over the world — a wallet operates the same everywhere, so you don’t have to concern yourself with the cost of transfer or the different ways financial institutions (like banks) operate in various countries.
Additionally, bank transactions can sometimes take days, and the cost of transactions starts to add up. But transferring crypto is often cheaper and faster.
“I am currently in Nigeria, but I can send money to somebody in Canada in just a couple of minutes through their crypto wallets,” she explains, adding that “crypto makes sending and receiving money more effortless”.
Ebube acknowledges that crypto isn’t without its risks. “It is largely unregulated, and it is easy to get scammed if you’re not careful,” she says.
There is also the fact that some crypto wallets (non-custodial wallets) require more attention from you than the average bank account. As Ebube explained, “if you lose access to them, you’ve lost access to all your crypto.”
She also highlights that crypto’s volatility is also a major concern. Most cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and can gain or drop in value very quickly — as the current market is teaching us 😭.
Some people prefer incentives and income in crypto because of the possibility of benefiting from the volatility. Others have no interest in playing those odds. For people in the latter group, Ebube suggests payments in stablecoins (like BUSD) pegged to stable currencies (like the dollar) as these aren’t usually affected by volatility.
She explains the steps to follow before accepting payment in crypto.
She warns that whichever you opt for, it is important to ask what cryptocurrency they intend to pay you in and research before accepting the deal — “ensure that you are not being given a shitcoin”.
She says even in instances where the cryptocurrency is legit, ensure that you are comfortable with it, stressing that you shouldn’t “just accept it because people are talking about it”.
I run a small business and during our conversation, I started to wonder what I would need to consider if I decide to start paying my employees in crypto.
Ebube says it is essential that I consider the value: “do you want to pay them a set amount of crypto? If so, make sure that there is an agreed set amount”. This means that if I intend to pay 1 ETH, my employee and I must agree that regardless of the market climate, I must always pay 1 ETH.
She also warns that I must ensure I am sending to the right crypto wallet — as there are no names attached to the wallet as I might find with a bank, therefore, I must double, even triple-check to ensure that I have the right wallet address.
Finally, I asked Ebube to run me through the process of a crypto payment — from the sender to the receiver to converting to money — I can use to pay my rent.
Firstly, she says everyone in the transaction needs to have a crypto wallet. “You can decide to create decentralised wallets like a Trustwallet or Metamask, or create a wallet on a centralised exchange like Binance or Quidax”.
Once that’s done, the payer needs to fund their crypto wallet — “if you’re using Quidax for instance, and you’re in Nigeria, you’ll need to deposit Naira or buy a cryptocurrency [on the Quidax app]”.
Since cryptocurrencies can only be sent to a wallet created for that crypto (i.e. Bitcoin wallets can only accept payments from other Bitcoin wallets; Ethereum wallets can only accept from other Ethereum wallets, etc), you’ll need to “swap the Naira for the cryptocurrency you intend to send”.
Once that’s done, double-check the wallet address, follow the instructions to enter the amount and send. And this is where the receiver gets the money.
Once received, all you need to do is convert it to money in your bank — either through peer-to-peer transactions (where someone buys the crypto off you in exchange for money to be sent to your bank) or by converting to your currency and transferring it to your account directly from your wallet.
In countries where the government or central bank aren’t receptive to crypto, peer-to-peer is often the preferred method. But vigilance is paramount. As I don’t know much about crypto, I like to stick to centralised exchanges. Many centralised exchanges have additional security designed to minimise the chances of scams where someone takes your crypto and doesn’t send you the monetary equivalent.
I currently receive my income in a cryptocurrency and I’ve lowkey been wondering if, considering the risks, I would do it if it were a smaller company or a freelance job. But my conversation with Ebube put me at ease.
Thanks to Ebube’s insights, I now know I am only interested in accepting payments in stablecoins that I am familiar with, like BUSD or USDT. Hence I am now a lot more comfortable with receiving — and even requesting to be paid in crypto for my freelance work (provided they intend to pay in my preferred cryptocurrency).
Now you know what to do when someone offers to pay you in crypto! Why not share with your friends (and social media family) so that you can all benefit from Ebube’s tips?