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You can send money from USA to sweden via paypal. According to paypal web site, it costs only 0.5 USD if you pay from bank account.

No matter how you call it, coinbase still needs to perform exchange, so bid-ask spread and price fluctuations are involved.The price of bitcoin so it is inferior to paypal.

Now if you want to send money from USA to ukraine… You just can’t do that via paypal.

Why is that?

Providing service like that requires compliance with local laws, cooperation with banks etc. It is complex and expensive.

Ukraine has a population of ~45M (that’s ~4.5 times more than in sweden) and large IT outsourcing sector (it was in top 5 on popular freelancing site odesk in 2011), as well as lot of people working abroad. Surely if paypal would figure out how to provide service in ukraine they’d have a lot of business, but they do not provide such service, so it must be hard or even impossible.

Here’s a list of countries which paypal supports, as you can see, they offer different services in different countries.

So let’s summarize, if you transfer between countries which have regulations and banks friendly to electronic payment systems, there is already a way to do personal transfers at low cost.The price of bitcoin

PayPal is a huge company whose core business is payments. If it haven’t figured out how to do it, chances that a local coinbase analog cannot exist either, because this is basically similar.

Anyway, let’s say you want to send money from USA to ukraine via bitcoin, what are the options?

You can do it via btc-e, which actually allows one to withdraw to ukrainian bank account, in local currency or USD. But the fee is 6%. Oh.

So let’s summarize, there ain’t such thing as a free lunch. Bitcoin doesn’t magically solves all money transfer problems. In fact if you think more about it, it actually solves nothing.

Let’s consider an example: suppose there is a company coinbase-ukraine which works in urkaine. Because of a large IT outsourcing sector, there will be more people who want to withdraw USD than people who want to send.The price of bitcoin coinbase-ukraine cannot print USD, so it needs to get them from somewhere. That is, it needs to exchange bitcoins to USD on a bigger exchange. And it will get USD through a banking system (wire transfer), there is simply no other way for large volume transfer.

Thus, in the end, if people want to withdraw fiat money, company needs to be able to move fiat money.

So process goes approximately like that: a person in USA deposits USD into coinbase, wants to buy bitcoin. Coinbase doesn’t have excess of bitcoins, so it sends USD wire to mtgox and gets bitcoins. Then bitcoin is sent to coinbase-ukraine. Now we have process in reverse: bitcoin is deposited into mtgox, exchange is made, mtgox sends USD via bank wire to coinbase-ukraine, which then is able to give it to person to ukraine.

So what we see mtgox is used as an intermediary to send US dollars.The price of bitcoin can’t coinbase-USA just send USD wire to coinbase-ukraine? They can save on mtgox fees.

So I’m afraid you just haven’t thought it through

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Well, currently I cannot buy groceries with bitcoin. I need either cash or payment card to do that.

Thus I need to transfer money from exchange to my card or wallet.

So bitcoin will provide cheap transfers ONLY when it can be used for payments directly. That’s important function, not implementing WU on top of bitcoin.

Also I think you don’t get what WU does.

If I have money in my bank account, I can transfer it within country either without any fee, or for a very low fee.

So WU is, basically, for people who do not have bank accounts, it is for people who have cash and want to transfer cash, especially across borders. Their fees are high because they need to maintain hundreds of thousands locations all around the world.The price of bitcoin having agents on ground is necessary to be able to do convenient cash->cash transfers, but it costs a lot.

So WU’s business is to provide convenience to people who do not have access to other payment options.

If you would start cash->cash transfer business which would use bitcoin, you won’t be able to escape from high costs of having agents on the ground. And if it is not cash->cash, it isn’t like WU at all, it only works with help of other payment systems

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