VirWox (stands for Virtual World exchange) attracts a lot of attention currently because it is one of the main ways people buy Bitcoin with PayPal. Many people claim that VirWox is legit while others say it’s a scam. I have been buying and selling through them for almost 4 years, so in this post I would like to share my own opinion of the site
Short Overview of VirWox
VirWoX is an Austria-based centralized convertible digital currency exchange, specializing in SecondLife Lindens (SLL) and other virtual currencies used in online gaming since 2007.
VirWoX is a rather popular site, especially in the US, the UK, Germany, France and Brazil.
Currencies traded other than Linden Dollars include the Open Metaverse Currency (OMC) and Avination’s C$, and these virtual currencies can be exchanged for fiat currencies like the Swiss franc, British pound, US dollar and Euro. In April 2011, VirWoX started accepting Bitcoin and currently, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency available on the platform. This basically opened a loophole for people to purchase Bitcoins with PayPal by first buying SLL via PayPal and then converting that SLL to Bitcoins. The site has over 740K registered users (at the time of writing this post).
This platform offers service for the following currencies:
My Personal Experience with VirWox
I have personally purchased and sold Bitcoins through VirWox several times in order to convert them to my PayPal account. I conduct a transaction through the site at least once a month for several years now. I’ve reached several conclusions from this experience:
- SLL – BTC/SLL, EUR/SLL, CHF/SLL, USD/SLL, GBP/SLL
- OMC – USD/OMC, SLL/OMC, EUR/OMC
- ACD – SLL/ACD, EUR/ACD, USD/ACD
- MVC – EUR/MVC
However, I do know a lot of people have issues with the site so I do want to cover that aspect as well.
No verification is required.
VirWox is available all around the world.
Safety and Security
VirWox states that your personal information will never be shared with third parties, except in cases when they’re ordered to by public authorities. As a part of Virtual World Services GmbH, VirWox employs a HTTPS Protocol. This means that your passwords and other information shared through your communication with the site will be well protected and safe. The company also has a pretty strict and relentless red flag policy. This often results in many blocked and suspended accounts, and a portion of user outrage also comes from that fact. One more thing worth noting is that they also don’t store any information regarding your credit card.
VirWox restricts deposits made through PayPal for security reasons. Your deposit limit will be capped at 90$ once your account is set up. The trading limits for PayPal and Skrill deposits (in Euros) are outlined below:
Level 0 (immediately) – 90 EUR; 270 EUR
Level 1 (after 10 days) – 120 EUR; 900 EUR
Level 2 (after 45 days) – 200 EUR; 2000 EUR
Level 3 (after 90 days) – 400 EUR; 4000 EUR
Level 4 (on request) – 1000 EUR; EUR 10,000 EUR
As you can see, the levels coincide with the number of days since your first successful deposit, which means that you’ll work your way up the levels the more you use the platform.
Use a simple currency converter if you need the limits expressed in USD, GBP, and CHF.
Online Reviews of VirWox Users
You won’t find many (or any) positive reviews about VirWox online. However, the negative reviews are usually about two things:
- The support of the site is not the best you can find. If you have a problem, you’ll need to write to them a couple of times until you get a proper response.
- The site is definitely legit. I never had a time when my money was withheld or stolen.
I’ll address the high fees in a second. Regarding the account ban – users who got their account banned always got their money refunded (through PayPal). It’s true that sometimes it can take a few days for the money to come back. However, I’ve never heard of someone who got his money “stolen” by the exchange.
I have no idea why VirWox ban so many accounts. I can only assume that they are more cautious than other exchanges since they have a high risk of fraud by selling Bitcoins via PayPal. However, this does not make VirWox a scam and we cannot really begrudge them for that.
VirWox takes high fees for converting Bitcoin to PayPal and vice versa and there are several reasons why they do that:
- Some users complain about the high fees VirWox takes.
- Some users complain that their account was banned and they don’t understand why.
Deposit fees vary depending on the different payment methods:
- They have a high risk of fraud and need to cover their losses with a premium.
- The site wasn’t built for purchasing Bitcoins directly with PayPal, which means that you need to first purchase SLL and then convert it to BTC. Each action on the site has an additional fee. This makes the process pretty expensive at the end. It would probably be cheaper if you were able to purchase BTC directly.
- Because they can. They allow themselves to request high fees because there’s not enough competition at the moment of sites allowing people to purchase Bitcoins with PayPal. LocalBitcoins is the only worthy alternative, but I think that prices there are even higher.
- Bitcoin – Free of charge. Funds are available within 1-2 hours.
- My Virtual Community Pay Terminal – Free of charge. Funds are available instantly.
- PayPal Express Checkout – EUR 0.35 + 3.4%. Available currencies – USD, GBP, CHF, EUR. Funds are available instantly.
- Credit/debit cards – GBP 0.29 + 3.5%, USD 0.49 + 3.5%, EUR 0.96 + 3.5%. Funds are available instantly.
- OKPAY – Free of charge. Available currencies – USD, GBP, CHF, EUR.
- Skrill – GBP 0.29 + 3.5%, USD 0.49 + 3.5%, EUR 0.96 + 3.5%. Funds are available instantly.
- Paysafecard – 20%. Available currencies – USD, GBP, CHF, EUR. Funds are available instantly.
- Sofortbanking – 2.5% (min EUR 0.25). Funds are available instantly.
Sending virtual currency to fellow users is free. It’s important to note that you will be charged a 2$ inactivity fee per month if you haven’t used your VirWox account for over 12 months, but only if your account features a positive balance. Calculating the total fees can present quite the challenge, so you’ll greatly benefit from downloading a customized calculator or just a simple extension for your browser.
How VirWox Works?
VirWox is a very clever business enterprise. It managed to exploit its status of the official authorized Linden Dollar reseller to also purchase/sell Bitcoins directly, and this feature is something that makes it unique on the market of cryptocurrency exchange.
The process is flawless and it includes the following steps:
- PayPal – 1 EUR (GBP, CHF, USD) plus 2% per withdrawal.
- Bitcoin – 0.002 BTC.
- Skrill, Bank transfer… – 1 EUR (GBP, CHF, USD) handling fee per withdrawal.
You can reverse the process and filter fiat currency through the L$ conversion in order to effectively “purchase” Bitcoins directly. However, users encounter problems when they try to send those Bitcoins to a wallet located outside of VirWox (which is also where most of the complaints stem from).
Bottom Line – Is VirWox Legit?
Yes, in my opinion VirWox is legit. It may not be the best site to conduct business on due to long transaction times, high fees, and their laggy support. However, if VirWox is your only option, it will do.
VirWox Pros and Cons
- Initial deposit – You’ll receive an e-mail directly from VirWox after you deposit a certain amount of Bitcoin. The operation is instantly fulfilled, but you should calculate in a small confirmation fee.
- Posting – The expected posting time is 60 minutes.
- Purchase – Purchase the max quantum of L$ at the ongoing market price. This incurs extra commissions of 2.9% plus the conversion of L$ into SLL.
- Flat currency – You’re purchasing the max USD amount at the ongoing market rate in this step. This again, leads to 2.9% in exchange fees, plus your L$ conversion to USD. VirWox will also send you a second order confirmation e-mail.
- PayPal withdrawal – This withdrawal will come with another 2% alongside 1$ for PayPal fees. It posts to PayPal immediately.
- Multiple payment options
- Great privacy standards
- Requires no ID verification
- 4 popular fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF)
- Allows you to buy Bitcoin through PayPal
- High fees
- Limited user support
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