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This is the fifth of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. Read part one here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here

By Rob McNealy

Buying cryptocurrencies can be a major challenge, especially for Americans. I will explain some of the reasons why and help walk you through the process.

AML and KYC Laws

One of worst things, privacy wise, that came out of the last Bush Administration was the PATRIOT Act. The PATRIOT Act gave the government all sorts of powers to spy on Americans. Many of those regulations are still in force and affect all Americans today.

AML stands for anti-money laundering and describes processes designed to fight the flow of illegally acquired money back into the financial system. As part of their federally mandated compliance requirements, financial institutions are required to implement several data gathering and reporting procedures aimed at preventing money laundering.

A key part of AML is Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. KYC compels financial institutions to collect and retain all sorts of personal data about their customers just to do business with them.

The regulations mandate that people opening bank accounts, getting mortgages, opening crypto accounts, or even 401Ks and IRAs, need to present, as a minimum, a government-issued ID, current address, and social security number. That data is then checked against various anti-terrorist and sanctions-related databases to make sure you aren’t a bad guy. Land of the free?

That means in order to buy crypto and withdraw it from regulated, US exchanges, you’ll need to verify your identity to comply with these regulations by providing a photo of your ID and sometimes a photograph of yourself or copies of bills or other mail to verify your address. Identity verification can take some time, especially when crypto markets are hot, so plan accordingly.

Crypto Trackers

Every cryptocurrency has a ticker symbol just like stocks and mutual funds do, which allow you to follow the price and trade volume on tracking sites. For example, Bitcoin’s ticker symbol is BTC. The ticker for TUSC, is well, TUSC and the symbol for Ethereum is ETH.

Various crypto tracker websites exist which allow you to learn about cryptocurrencies, track prices, and identify where specific coins or tokens are being traded. Nomics, Coin Paprika and Coin Market Cap are some of the largest and most up to date.

These trackers offer calculators and tools to help you calculate cryptocurrency values in dollars or other fiat currencies in real time. They also provide links to official websites and social media channels for crypto projects, which is helpful in identifying copycats and avoiding scams.

Centralized Exchanges and DEXes

Unless you know someone interested in selling you crypto directly for cash, you can purchase cryptocurrencies on centralized or decentralized exchanges (DEXes). If you’re just starting out in crypto, you’ll need to get dollars into the system through a centralized exchange like OKCoin, Coinbase or Gemini which accepts deposits using ACH, credit cards, or wire transfers.

These exchanges have a centralized owner which verifies accounts and provides customer service. Once you deposit cash, depending on the exchange and deposit method, there may be a waiting period before your transaction clears, and you can buy or move your crypto.

Once your crypto is available in an account, you have a few options:

  1. You can trade it for other popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
  2. You can withdraw it your own wallet for safe keeping.
  3. You can withdraw it and send it to another exchange like Bololex to buy smaller market cap tokens and coins too small to be listed on American exchanges, like TUSC.

Unlike centralized exchanges, DEXes offer trading without a middleman by using smart contracts or other technology to govern sales. They allow more freedom and ability to get in early on newer tokens, but they tend to be riskier and less user friendly.

Fiat vs Crypto Swaps

Major cryptocurrencies can be purchased with dollars, but most cryptocurrencies can only be obtained by swapping or trading one cryptocurrency for another. In addition to exchanges, tools like Pancake Swap and Uniswap facilitate swapping one token for another on the same blockchain. This is similar to trading on a DEX, except there is no order book. Instead, you swap for the current exchange rate between two tokens or a token and a coin.

American vs. Foreign Exchanges

American exchanges tend to have a smaller variety of coins and tokens than foreign exchanges due to US securities laws. Foreign exchanges can be an easy way to trade for newer, smaller value cryptocurrencies like TUSC.

However, many foreign exchanges have banned US traders due to concerns over US law enforcement. Check terms of service and identity verification requirements before depositing any cryptocurrency on a foreign exchange, as you may not be able to withdraw if they ban US users.


This is the fifth of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. Read part one here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part four is here

Rob McNealy is an entrepreneur, 2A supporter and co-founder of TUSC, a 2A-friendly crypto payments and NFT project, and Krappy Art, an NFT and digital art collective. Rob lives in the Salt Lake City area with his wife, four kids and their ferocious guard doodle. You can listen to his podcast or follow him on Minds and Twitter.

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    • Bingo. Run it up, get the buy-in, and let it crash. What never once was becomes again what it was before–nothing.

    • I read a great article by an industry expert explaining how the “glory days” of crypto fortunes being made with no effort are now behind us, and we’re in the time-between-times before Crypto 2.0 is established and several rise to the surface (perhaps BTC will be one, perhaps guvs will eventually only allow their own such as a FedCoin). Crypto is here to stay, but will be regulated and no longer private except for those very few who know how to “Gray Man” themselves online.

      In the meantime, cryptos will serve mainly as speculative trades. The only two potential events on the horizon that are likely to be money-makers are (1) Ethereum 2.0 this year and (2) the next BTC halving cycle.

  1. I have taken a foray into the equity side of crypto: bought stock in two crypto miners. I understand how they make money and I understand equities. As for actual crypto currency, I have my wallet established, and have selected an exchange. Target is Etherium. Just looking for that “buy” signal.

    • I can sell you all the crypto of any variety that you could possibly want. It works like this; you send me lots and lots of actual money, and once I have ascertained that it is real I will mail you nothing. Because that is what crypto is! The good part is that if you send me several billion, you can carry home your crypto in your everyday briefcase, and it won’t weigh a bit more than before! How cool is that? And sure enough, the Feds will have no idea about your fortune, or where it is now (in my pocket).

  2. I don’t have a lot, but what I have is very secure. I think this is a great investment. If you’re stupid.

  3. So now that we’re done with this series, I have the simplest of questions.

    Why should I be using crypto currencies as currency?

    I buy a lot of guns and a lot of gun related accessories (likely every single day), and I’ve never had any bank transfer canceled or credit card transaction canceled for any firearms purchase I’ve made.

    There is one exception. I have had credit card and bank transactions canceled for non-firearms related business when I have tried to pay for items and services in southern Africa, because the payment portals they used also accepted cryptocurrency. The credit card companies and banks I use won’t allow me to do business with that vendor, because they accept crypto, and the finance companies assume they do this for illicit purposes.

    So what is the upside?

    • Let’s take a look at the use case for currency, what crypto brings, and then your case.

      Currency acts as a stable store of value and as a medium of exchange. The US dollar, for example, had a fairly predictable value, even if there is a bit of inflation over the long term. It’s also accepted virtually everywhere to buy goods and services. So, good store of value and strong medium of exchange.

      How about crypto?

      The biggest is Bitcoin. The value of Bitcoin is all over the place. Poor store of value. But how about capability as a medium of exchange? Virtually no one accepts it – and the few vendors who do claim to accept it make you go through a third party, and they convert out of Bitcoin as soon as is feasible. So it’s a pretty poor means of exchange, too.

      So, for your use case: buying goods and services of a legal nature, crypto is a terrible choice.

      There is a side use case, though.

      Illicit trade that better currencies do not support.

      Let’s say you wanted to buy oil from Iran. You really can’t do that in USD unless you have access to a pallet, a C-130, and political connections worthy of the White House. All financial agents who work in USD are stymied by compliance with US controls on trade, and therefore your purchase is blocked.

      But, working in Bitcoin, there are no such controls. And as long as no one can tie your identity to the “wallet” you use, the trade is anonymous.

      However, it’s worth noting that the ID of your “wallet” is permanently and irrevocably attached to the Bitcoin you used to make the purchase as the payor; and the “wallet” of the person who received those coins is permanently and irrevocably attached as your payee. So if the two of you are ever identified, your transaction is designed to be fully public and eternal.

      A better way to think of this innovation is as a distributed ledger. Because that’s really what it is: a public, encrypted ledger maintained by volunteered computing resources.

      • The Chinese Communist Party Government has outlawed it and it’s use in China. Now think about this. Suppose China is behind cryptocurrency. Even though many others claim to be it’s start. Collect Billions of Dollars from all over the Economic world. Including the Assets of companies that have decided to allow it’s use to purchase goods. Then everybody wakes up one morning and POOF. It’s Gone like a Fart in the Wind. Billions of Dollars lost with No way to trace it. Like it was never there. Just like every other Ponzi Scheme. Only this time there’s No one to find Guilty.

    • I also have ONE QUESTION. Is TTAG that bad off that Zimmerman has to sell space for this BS to stay afloat? Is it 1999 all over?

    • Well … If you buy some dollar-linked coins (aka stablecoins) that generally trade for $1/coin plus or minus a fraction of a cent …

      You can, depending on where you deposit them, get 5-12% effective interest rates. Beats the 0.05% my checking account offers.

      If you choose your exchange carefully you can avoid some or all transaction fees. For instance, the Gemini exchange will sell you their bespoke GUSD coin without a fee. If you leave it at Gemini you can get 8% interest, if you send it to (say) Vauld you can get 12 1/2%.

      We’re dipping a toe into this realm as we watch inflation.

      But as with all such things, greater returns equals greater risk. In this case we’re mentally modeling it like money market funds – the share price is designed to track the dollar, but there isn’t a guarantee it always will. So as always, never put in more than you can afford to lose.

      As to actually using crypto to buy anything? Nope.

  4. I still don’t understand one thing, and have looked high and low for one piece of information. What I need is to create my own wallet. I have a few hundred dollars’ worth of bitcoin on Gemini. What I want to know how to do is move my meager amount of crypto into a wallet so it isn’t stored on Gemini, and I can’t find anyone who can tell me what the hell to do. Once I know how to do that, I fully intend to purchase more. It’s not that I don’t trust Gemini, but it is an exchange and is vulnerable to hacking. Once I know how to “offload” my crypto into a cold wallet of my own creation, I’ll be a fairly happy camper.

  5. Now that this series is done……let’s not do another one. This was nothing more than an advertisement for TUSC given the veneer of a tutorial series. Since this is a GUN site, maybe stick to the guns and run some actually useful content. Or keep shilling for crypto and Mr. McNealy.

    • That is a pretty awful and weak take.

      I am not selling TUSC. I never sold TUSC.

      Lots of people fear change. Stay ignorant if you want to. The gun industry has major problems with payments, which are only getting worse. What is your solution? What are doing to solve them? If nothing, maybe you should not comment? Do better.

  6. You can t pay with out kyc n the usa at atm too under an cash limit ?

    I have 2 atm”s here in germany arround my home inside 50 kilomters where you can buy anonymous with cash up to 4999 euros each but they only have bitcoin if you want decentral unregulated coins and no unsafe centralized shit as etherium and bitcoin for me at the moment is not for payment it s virtual gold.

    In future if the fiat world goes down and changed back to gold and btc standart then lightning layer comes for the micro payments but thats an long way 🙁

    For payment i see xmr coming in the war on cash “future” it s complete underated and should have x100 marcet cap !

    The only atm i found that have xmr/monero is 600 kilometers southside and have an lower limit without kyc (1999 the same as the war on cash bringts for gold sinde 2021 (before 2017 14999 then 9999 now 1999 but “only” for gold)

    Here 2016 the war against cash goes extrem. First new new 500 dollar prints then 2017 tafelgeschäft/cash goes down from 14999 to 9999 then 1999 for metals mostley silver and gold.

    Time to repeal the fed, ezb and fiat “money” it s realy worth ZERO.
    Toilet paper for me have an higher value basical ^^

    Satoshi Nakimoto, Genesis Block 0

  8. I’m told by numerous reliable sources that the next really big ‘thing’ in investing is tulip bulbs. Real, Dutch tulip bulbs. Millions of guilders to be made, for the wise investor that gets in on the ground floor.

    If you don’t like tulips, then there’s always the British South Seas Company, or land in Florida. Iraqi dinars, anyone?

  9. CRYPTO CURRENCY is the worst possible choice should there be a war or national disaster where electric power is gone, networks are dead or destroyed, and you need to buy something. That day is getting closer.

    Why ? Because it relies on a working internet infrastructure.

    • What good is cash when it no longer has a value due to what you mentioned above. At that point its survival by trading with tangible goods.

    • Nice FUD. All digital payments are subject to that. That being said, bitcoin payments have been made over packet radio, so that won’t always be an issue.


  10. Crypto sounds great, but how risky is it? No one seems to know? I have always associated crypto with money laundrying. I don’t want the Gov’t to know what I have, but crypto seems too risky. Cash works for me. Just an opinion.

    • More money laundering and illegal activities are done with actual physical cash (buying drugs etc.) Everyone should do their own research before investing in anything.

      • I doubt that, Rob. “Money laundering” is a term and an offense invented by the U.S., other nations’ currencies have the same thing happening but do not care, I still have not figured out how our gov’t managed a complete 180 degree turn, from cash dollars guaranteed for any transaction to forbidden beyond $9999. And what it is supposed to prevent I have never understood either.

  11. Mr. McNealy, I take you at your word (and TTAG at its word) that you didn’t pay for this series as sponsored content, that this really is an effort to educate, and that you’re not trying to get specifically us to invest in your crypto. That said, there are several pretty obvious reasons why the readership (or at least the commenters) have overwhelmingly got that impression.

    1. Your first entry in the series mentions “Being financially de-platformed has been a huge problem for business owners in the 2A industry since Operation Chokepoint began in 2013. Since then, the PayPal and other financial institutions of the world have become more and more hostile to honest 2A business owners, shutting many off from financial services and leaving them no way to process online and in some cases, in-person payments.” This is very true and very much a reason to discuss alternatives to traditional banking. However, you go on for four other articles without referring to this threat. This is the only relevant touchpoint between firearms and crypto (that I can see) and it should have been the OVERWHELMING bulk of the content. When many of us seamlessly are buying firearms and accessories online and have zero issues, it’s a hard sell on the relevance of the article. I have absolutely zero doubts the pressures of Chokepoint were real and will be increasing, but bringing these issues to the light and being crystal clear how crypto could avoid them would have been much more beneficial.

    2. When you don’t discuss much in terms of firearms, it’s hard to pass off a series as “benefits for the Second Amendment community.” Article 1 touches on the issue, but doesn’t develop it fully. Article 2 I’ll give you a pass on, even though I think NFTs are profoundly stupid. Article 3 there’s not a single mention of 2A issues, firearms, guns… anything. Not one. Article 4 mentions possible benefits of crypto for firearms-related business, but in the same breath says the benefits are the same to EVERY business. Article 5, there’s not a single mention of 2A issues, firearms, guns… anything. Not one.

    3. When you combine the lack of relevant 2A connections with mentioning your own currency as often as you do, it comes off as shilling. TUSC is mentioned in the text of every article at least once and a whopping FOUR times in the final article, not including the link in your bio. Acknowledge you helped found it in the first article, explain why, maybe even give us a self-deprecating “I’m not trying to sell you anything disclaimer,” then leave it at that.

    For what it’s worth, I think this all could be in an interesting read if the ideas got boiled down a little and refocused.

  12. Crypto payments can be used for any industry. It’s no secret how how the 2A industry is having major issues in that area.

    Yes, I mentioned TUSC as an example, because it’s 2A focussed, created by 2A people, and that I know isn’t a scam. I used other coins as examples too. Should I have used Doge more as an example, even though it is not 2A focused?

    That makes zero sense.

    If you don’t care about the problems gun retailers have, move on. We are focussed on helping them.

  13. Crypto still relies on the same infrastructure that currently exists and is currently owned, run, and “lorded-over” by the left. For gun owners, sellers, and specifically online retailers that you have mentioned in your articles, wouldn’t a better alternative be to set up our own infrastructure? Say maybe a competing internet, our own banks, etc?

    As a poster above mentioned, when you constantly mention TUSC in the articles without effectively teaching or showing what the benefit of crypto is to the community as a whole, you’ve got to understand why we cry “shill” and “scam.”

    I’m completely ignorant of the crypto game aside from watching people I work with on the ambulance who have invested in it over the past 10 years and lost. Anecdotal evidence, yes I know.

    But this series of articles hasn’t actually cleared anything up from my completely-ignorant-of-crypto perspective. Hence, why I (and I suspect others) would much prefer The Truth About GUNS to stick to the guns.

    • An open internet is not controlled by anyone. It’s just computers talking to computers. I can send crypto to you without using left controlled technology. It’s no different than sending an email essentially.

      • Try it! I dare you! Send me a billion dollars worth and I’ll let you know when it arrives. How much is it gonna weigh? Will I need a team of horses to get it out of my office? Good grief.

  14. No, crypto isn’t lorded over by the left. That simply isn’t true.

    Lot’s of people lose money for all sorts of reasons. That is why I wrote an article to help people NOT lose money from scams.

    • I don’t know anything about who owns or runs crypto. What I meant was that it seems the infrastructure (internet) that crypto relies upon is lorded over by the left (big tech and govt.)

      When leftists can deplatform whole apps and websites due to server hosting gymnastics and other internet magic (parlor), I have trouble putting any faith at all in a digital currency that relies on that same infrastructure.

      Even stating that crypto is decentralized still doesn’t assuage those fears because ISP’s are still subject to political pressure and our lovely new cancel culture.

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