There are good ways to sell your bitcoins when you need cash, and there are bad ways. CCN has documented numerous bad ways over the years, sometimes with victims writing in to us. Other times we just happen to notice a scam going on, and make haste to inform our readership about it. And still other times, readers write in to let us know that something doesn’t seem right.
There are times when we will reserve the word “scam,” not being sure that it is appropriate to use in the case of this or that business. BTCFlap.com is not one of those times. Why, you might ask? Well, if it looks like a scam, acts like a scam, and, yes, even if it throws on some flare that other scams don’t, it’s probably a scam.
BTCFlap.com, like others that have come before it and others that surely will come after it, offers to pay more than your bitcoins are worth. This is an immediate red flag, of course, but is not in and of itself a reason to distrust a buyer. There are some buyers on LocalBitcoins.com, for instance, who gladly pay for bitcoins at above-market rates. Regardless of their motivation for doing so, they do this in an escrow-based system, and they usually use non-reversible payment methods. One can assume they need Bitcoin more than they need the money they’re spending, or that they have some arbitrage system in place that they’re simply following. In any case, there is a feedback system there, and sellers who act badly will not be selling there for long.
Also read: Bitcoin Scam Alert – BTC-Multiplier.com
If you really need to sell your bitcoins at a higher rate than the market is offering, then try to find a buyer on LocalBitcoins who has a good reputation and is willing to pay for them at a higher price. The rating system on LocalBitcoins, much like the one on eBay, has brought selling to random people on the Internet, without the intermediary of an exchange such as Coinbase or something which willingly tracks you, has brought a real element of trust for the user. There’s no way to fake the rating system. If someone has had more than one thousand successful, positively-rated transactions before you get to them, what are the odds that they’re going to pick you to screw? These buyers are willing to use a non-refundable method of payment, such as a Paypal MyCash card. This creates a situation where they are risking as much as you are.
This is not the case with BTCFlap. BTCFlap will offer to pay you by various means, all of which can be reversed. In the case of a wire transfer, God bless you, because you’ll probably be arrested when you go to make the purchase. As we well documented with another one of these sites, sites like this use stolen account credentials to make the payments. While they may not have great web design skills, rest assured that they have a dedicated network of hackers. Or perhaps they’re even using the funds to buy the PayPal accounts off of the dark net using Bitcoin.
Anyway you look at it, here’s how it goes down for you, the seller: you create a transaction with them, they make a payment to you. Perhaps it goes unnoticed, if for some reason the victimized account holder doesn’t notice. But most likely, within a week or two, the payment you received is reversed, and BTCFlap has made off with your Bitcoin, a transaction which is not reversible.
For all the negatives associated with Silk Road, it did a lot of good for Bitcoin. For one, it proved the currency had utility. For another, it got us an awful lot of publicity, interesting a lot of people who may have not otherwise heard of it.
Sites like BTCFlap do quite the opposite. Someone buys some Bitcoin miners, or wins some bitcoins gambling, and they go hunting for a place to convert it to cash. This site promises to pay more, and then ends up robbing them completely. It’s not hard to see the reverse network effect this will have, over time, if these sites are allowed to stand.
Bitcoin is not the wild west it once was. We are just a news site, and the plague of sites promising to “double your bitcoins” or “buy them at a higher rate” is certainly noteworthy. If you use such a site after reading this or our other articles on the subject, you do so knowing full well what you’re getting into.