Bitcoin enthusiast, entrepreneur, and world traveler.
He writes about Bitcoin privacy at buybitcoinanonymous.ly.
Here is the story of how I lost all my access to cash while in Cambodia and how I quickly sold some of my Bitcoin to save my trip.
In early 2018 I was living in Siem Reap for a few months, exploring Angkor Wat and enjoying the fantastic people and culture that the city has to offer. Of course, I had some fun on pub street as well…maybe too much fun in retrospect. After one hazy night, I awoke in my guest house missing both my wallet and phone.
My phone could easily be replaced. However, my wallet contained both my ATM and credit cards – all my access to cash and bank accounts was gone. Unfortunately, my bank, although sympathetic could not ship a new card to Cambodia and I was too prideful to call family or friends to ask for a wire. I was determined to figure something out and fast.
I soon remembered the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies I held in my Exodus wallet on my laptop, which I, fortunately, hadn’t lost. If I could find a way to quickly convert my BTC to USD, I would be saved!
Here is what I learned from that experience:
How did I quickly convert my Bitcoin to USD in Cambodia?
I discovered cash2pm.com after googling “how to sell Bitcoin for Western Union”. I was extremely skeptical and spent hours searching for third-party reviews. Most of the reviews I read were positive, and the bad reviews all had personal responses from cash2pm representatives. I thought for sure I was going to be scammed, but I need money fast, so I decided to take the gamble and sent them 0.2 BTC.
How does it work?
I initiated a trade on their homepage to Give Bitcoin and Get Western Union. I gave 0.2 Bitcoin which came out to be about $2,000 after the western union and cash2pm fees. Then I entered my Western Union information and clicked Create Order.
Once the order is created, I received a confirmation email and an email with my account login information. I logged into my account to find the BTC address to send my BTC to. Once they received my BTC, I received another confirmation email. Then I waited approximately 10 hours (it was a Sunday to be fair) to receive an email that my order was complete. From there it was a matter of going to a Western Union location to pick up my money!
In my situation, I was willing to pay a high fee for the ease and speed of the trade. However, you may wish to avoid charges altogether. Here are some of the other options I explored which also allow you to quickly sell BTC for cash in Cambodia with much lower fees.
Other options I explored:
Localbitcoins is another way to sell your Bitcoin for cash in Cambodia. Localbitcoins.com is a peer-to-peer (p2p) purchase method that puts you in touch with people in your locality who will sell and/or buy Bitcoin. As such, depending on your geographic location it can be more hit-or-miss than fully online platforms since there may or may not be buyers and sellers near you.
Cambodia has a relatively low number of Localbitcoins sellers, most of whom are located in the capital city Phnom Penh and the expat-hub Sihanoukville.
Paxful is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, that connects buyers and sellers online. Most likely to be grouped as an alternative to Localbitcoins, I found Paxful to be much easier to use in Cambodia since you can find online trades in addition to local peer-to-peer trades. I was able to easily create my offer through their user dashboard, transfer my Bitcoin to their platform’s wallet, and was receiving trade offers within minutes. Selling Bitcoin for Western Union was one of 300 different payment methods offered when creating my trade.
Although I received many offers in a short amount of time, many buyers were not serious or were looking for someone to scam. If you are willing to sort through the bad offers, I did find a handful of serious traders on there.
Peer to Peer
This option is not the easiest or most convenient, but it is possible to connect with other “Bitcoiners” in Cambodia. There are expats and digital nomad types that are users and holders of Bitcoin. If you befriend them and explain your intent to sell you Bitcoin for cash they may offer you a fair rate. Most people that are enthusiastic about cryptocurrency are more than happy to help someone else in the community, especially if it means they can acquire more Bitcoin for a good rate. This is also a great option if you are concerned about privacy and wish to buy your Bitcoin anonymously.
To accomplish this, look up “coworking space” + city you are in, or “digital nomad” + city you are in. You should do these searches on Google and Facebook. You will find locations and groups where Bitcoin-aware people are likely to hang out.
Hopefully coming soon! I could not find any Bitcoin ATMs in Siem Reap at the time, nor any in Cambodia as a whole when searching on Google.
Get more MekongMonkey
Subscribe to our mailing list and get everything about Bitcoin and Cambodia in your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.