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Chris Parker

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  1. Does that also work in the opposite direction? Could she send euros from Raiffeisenbank to Schwab? That's what we're actually doing.
  2. Nothing new from me. Ruble doesn't actually transfer, it's just swapped with other exchangers, be it for crypto or U.S. dollar deposits. More recently I've been fighting with ways of getting around the ongoing U.S. Mail suspension on even letter deliveries to Russia, but that's off-topic here so please don't reply on that.
  3. See attached trading screenshot from Garantex: As you can see, they definitely seem to support USDC, and they even say so on their main home page before login or registration. Also, Coinbase is not the only U.S. cryto exchange with low-cost or free redemption of USDC. Gemini's fee schedule for Stablecoin (ActiveTrader UI mode only) provides 0.01% Taker Fee and 0.00% Maker fee for the USDT/USD, USDC/USD, and DAI/USD pairs. Note that USDT is currently not allowed in NY.
  4. The concept of a P2P, which I discussed earlier before crypto came up, goes like this: 1) I need to transfer, for example, $150 from Russia to USA. 2) You need to transfer $350 as mentioned about from USA to Russia. Now, if we can trust each other, you see how we could help each other accomplish our goal by just making local transfers between each other rather than any international wires! However, it's not a complete solution, because there is an imbalance in our amounts, and you'd need somebody else also to get your remaining $200 exchanged. Of course, dealing with strangers like this who have no reason to trust each other, save the common need for repeat business, usually there needs to be some kind of broker, middleman, security deposit, etc. to provide a means for recourse or chargeback in case either of the parties defaults. What I've just described is what a P2P exchange is supposed to do: match the parties, facilitate the trade, and provide some means of security. It's all based on an concept called, "Bills of Exchange" which pre-dated modern era bank checks usage.
  5. I'd suggest Dai (DAI) currency instead of Tether (USDT) or USDC if you want to use a token that's pegged to the dollar. It's the least expensive in terms of fees. If you don't care about dollar value, BCH (Bitcoin Cash) or LTC (Litecoin) are other options with low transaction fees designed for quick exchange rather than long-term holding. But be careful that the network used on both ends matches before transferring to another service! Most (or maybe all) of these international exchanges dropped RUB (ruble) as a fiat currency this summer and will not directly process Russian credit cards. Binance, in particular, has pulled out but also set up a totally different exchange they call "CommEx" for use exclusively in Russia with the ruble currency (it's much more limited in terms of currencies and networks, and it relies almost entirely on P2P listings to get rubles in & out of the exchange). A better suggestion we're about to try is Garantex (garantex.org), which is now based in Moscow and operating only in Russia due to international sanctions. Don't expect U.S authorities to have anything nice to say about Garantex or Sberbank or using P2P or cryptocurrency in general. Cryptocurrency is enabling not only bypass of the Russia sanctions but also international fraud, theft, and money laundering. However, this really isn't the fault of the blacklisted exchange or Russian banks. Rather it is the government's own fault for refusing to accept that cryptocurrency is foreign money and needs to be regulated as such. It's also hypocritical, as there's plenty of cryptocurrency fraud available even in the U.S. For example, Paxful (paxful.com) which is a P2P cryptocurrency exchange based on the U.S. whose user base seems to be like 99% scammers on both the buyer and seller sides (targeting especially new users, or constantly stealing from each other I guess), so be careful using any P2P and always stick with small amounts!
  6. What I'm finding is the West's approach of financially isolating Russia by blocking these services is really pitifully if you look at it from the ground in Russia. Wouldn't it be a joke if a major political power like the European Union or something listed one or more of the big banks in the U.S. like Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citibank on a sanctions list? You really think that stain would impact the operations of these banks and stop people from using them? It's just not right to hold such huge organizations as somehow directly responsible for financing a holy war or something like that, but rather it serves mostly as a political show for their constituents. The policy is hypocritical and should have been done differently. Russia, in particular, seems to be a country where many people don't even have a bank account, and there is almost no such thing as a "pre-authorized electronic transfer." The closest thing to that is the use of credit/debit cards, as those are used primarily like checks are in the U.S. to transfer money between accounts at banks, not to pay for purchases at retail locations. It may be different in the major metropolitan areas like Moscow and St. Petersburg, but what I'm finding is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) exchange systems are growing in use in Russia because they fit in socially and culturally with the people and history of the country, and they also work well in the current financial environment within the country itself as well as on cross-border transactions. So the ultimate outcome of the Russian bank sanctions and boycott may be that the Western banks are shooting themselves in the foot. Many people on both sides are discovering that they don't need the expensive money transfer networks of the banks, which aren't even always reliable or dependable, because money movement on the bank systems is too often subject to lengthy holds and delays for suspected fraud or money laundering or other excuses. People today can actually use the Internet as an open financial network with P2P exchanges to achieve the same functionality, and in this context, it is the banks which are looking increasingly backwards and outdated, unable to verify, complete, and finalize transactions in a timely and accurate way.
  7. As we all know, the banks and transfer networks have all boycotted Russia because of the Ukrainian war. I realize this is intended to isolate the country and prevent foreign investment, etc., but it also causes a lot of practical problems for ordinary people like us with just a personal relationship connecting us to the country. How are people actually working around this problem? Looking for a solution, the only two ways that I see is either by having a bank account in a third country that can still transfer with Russia (ex: FSU satellite countries), or the more risky hawala system of personal exchanges (net transfer of $0). Both approaches require knowledge on the ground and connections...
  8. Are you sure you need a valid passport for the interview? Because I really think they're more concerned with you having 2 forms of valid identification, and that can be U.S. documentation like the driver's license and work permit. I could be wrong, but I think they will just take the I-94 out of the passport and stamp the place the temporary I-551 visa page in the expired passport all the same. Or they might forego the stamp because the passport is expired and you'll have to wait for the Permanent Resident card in the mail.
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