Here’s a quick question: Do you know the difference between crypto on-ramps and off-ramps? Okay. Let’s start from the top.
Whenever cryptocurrency occurs in a discussion on or offline, your mind jumps to coins, exchanges, crashes, and bull and bear markets. What nobody thinks about is where the journey begins. Just where is the entrance point to this crypto ecosystem? Well, that’s where crypto on and off ramps come into the picture. What is the difference between crypto on-ramp and off-ramp? We’re about to dissect it in a bit.
Why should you care about it? If you want to understand the fundamentals of buying crypto as a beginner or cashing out some or all of your tokens, you must have a good grasp of on-ramping and off-ramping in crypto. Additionally, you’ll be armed with enough information to carry out off-ramping and on-ramping transactions securely. Luckily, that’s what this article is about, including the differences between the two.
What is a Crypto On-Ramp?
A crypto on-ramp refers to a platform, usually a digital trading platform, where fiat currency like naira, cedis or dollars is used to purchase cryptocurrency. It is the entry point of any person or group into the decentralised cryptocurrency blockchain network.
Let’s use an analogy to give you a mental picture of crypto on-ramps. If you’ve ever used Google Maps during a drive somewhere, you may have heard the automated voice telling you to take the ramp to get somewhere.
The on-ramp is how you get to the crypto ecosystem. Crypto on-ramping is used to explain the process of buying crypto tokens with fiat currency. Call it a fiat-crypto exchange.
Keypoint📌: A crypto on-ramp is a platform or service that lets you exchange fiat currency for cryptocurrency. For example, exchanging GHC (Ghanaian Cedis) for BTC (Bitcoin). On-ramps function the way they do because of something called Fiat gateways. These gateways make it possible for someone who has traditional money to swap it for crypto.
Crypto on-ramps most often double as off-ramps. They might have the unique function of swapping fiat for crypto or offering additional services. If they provide other services, they become a different service/platform.
For example, individuals who want to buy crypto and HODL in their wallets can on-ramp through crypto on-ramp websites or apps that do not have a marketplace where you can carry out token swaps.
Note that on-ramping also refers to the process of getting ahold of crypto you do not previously own.
Examples of crypto on-ramps include
- Centralised exchanges and wallet providers like Coinbase
- NFT marketplaces like Rarible and Opensea
- Mining pools
- Play-to-win platforms
- Work-to-earn platforms
What is a Crypto Off-ramp?
Crypto off-ramps are platforms that convert cryptocurrency back to fiat currency. They provide liquidity to crypto holders for fiat money. You can also refer to off-ramps as the exit point from the crypto ecosystem back into the fiat monetary system.
Borrowing the Google Map analogy we used earlier, think of off-ramps as the routes that lead you off crypto into the system of government-issued legal tender, for example, cashing out or selling all your ETH (Ether) for NGN or USD (Naira or Dollars). Offramping can also refer to spending your assets like regular fiat.
Examples of crypto off-ramps include
- Digital trading platforms like Prestmit
- Centralised exchanges like Coinbase
- Crypto debit cards like the Ledger-powered CL card.
What Is The Difference Between Crypto On-Ramps And Off-Ramps?
The difference between crypto off-ramps and on-ramps is that one converts traditional money or fiat to crypto. In contrast, the other converts crypto back to traditional currency.
Most on-ramps are also off-ramps, but not all off-ramps are on-ramps. This means that some exchanges may allow newcomers to buy crypto with fiat money and sell off their crypto when they want. But some only allow existing crypto owners to liquidate their tokens to traditional currency.
On-ramps and off-ramps are typically safe. However, off-ramps and off-ramping seem safer than on-ramping because you would be taking your crypto off a CEX, which is very prone to hacks or theft. The only exception is if you’re moving your assets to a decentralised exchange and aren’t off-ramping in this case.
On-ramping is safe if you’re buying crypto and transferring it to a cold wallet to HODL.
2. Transaction speed
On-ramps are faster than off-ramps in transactions because exchanging fiat for crypto is easier than for fiat.
3. Transaction fees
On-ramps seem to charge higher fees than off-ramps, including gas fees. But this depends on the particular exchange. Some charge higher than others. Off-ramps charge a small service fee to provide the service, but it is usually less than what on-ramps charge.
On-ramp vs Off-ramp Crypto
- Easy to use – The process is straightforward and mostly hassle-free.
- Quick swaps – Fast transaction speed is guaranteed.
- Easy entry into crypto enables the largest new entries of individuals into the crypto ecosystem. With on-ramps, other crypto services such as DEXs, trading platforms and liquidity pools can onboard new users.
- Diverse on-ramping options are available – You can on-ramp in different ways, such as mining, play-to-win games, work-and-earn, etc.
- Transaction costs – Exchanges usually charge little commissions on the swaps.
- Lack of anonymity/privacy – There is no anonymity or privacy, as KYC is required for most on-ramping services.
Note📌: One of the ways you can on-ramp without identification requirements is through Bitcoin ATMs. The big question is, where do you find one? They’re incredibly scarce.
- Liquidity – They offer you the ability to spend your crypto holdings by converting them to legal tender, which is more widely accepted.
- Freedom of asset transfer and conversion – You can easily convert your earnings or yields to spendable fiat.
- Ease of use – it is relatively easy to off-ramp, especially with a centralised exchange.
- Slow transaction speeds – it can take hours to days for your tokens to be converted to fit in your chosen currency and sent to your local bank account.
- Higher conversion cost – the commissions charged to off-ramp are usually higher than the cost of buying crypto with fiat.
When to Use An On-Ramp and Off-Ramp
When should you use an on-ramp crypto service provider? The answer is pretty clear at this point.
Use a crypto on-ramp.
- When you want to open a new wallet or acquire new cryptocurrency tokens with fiat.
- When you want to mine, work to earn or play games that reward you in crypto.
Use a crypto off-ramp.
- When you want to cash out your tokens in your local currency.
- When you want to utilise your assets to make payments on platforms that do not accept crypto as payment (which is pretty much most platforms).
How to Use a Crypto On-ramp or Off-ramp
Let’s say you’re finally ready to leap into the burgeoning and exciting world of crypto – you need to pay for some tokens with your traditional currency, take Nigerian Naira, for instance. How do you go about it? Just follow the steps below.
Steps to Use An On-ramp
- On your web browser, go to the website, e.g. Binance.com.
- You may need to download the app/wallet to register, or you can register on the website.
- Click register to create your account in quick minutes.
- Complete the verification process.
- Go to your dashboard and select Fund Account. There should be multiple payment methods, including a debit/credit card.
- Select your preferred payment method and link your local bank account.
- Add funds to your wallet and start your first trade with assisting prompts from the website or app.
For an off-ramp, the steps are similar, but the difference is that you should already have a wallet with your tokens.
Steps to Use An Off-ramp
- Open your browser and go to the off-ramp website, e.g. Prestmit.com.
- Download the app and sign up for an account. When you sign up, you’ll automatically have a wallet for your selected token.
- Generate your address. If you want to sell BTC, for example, you’ll have to generate an address, or the off-ramp will generate it for you automatically.
- Depending on the off-ramp you’re using, you might need to connect your existing wallet or transfer your tokens from your wallet to the wallet on the off-ramp.
If you’re doing the latter, you must confirm the swap rates and ensure you’re okay with them before sending your coins from your wallet to the off-ramp account/wallet.
- If you’re connecting your wallet to the off-ramp, check your dashboard after completing the connection.
- Check the available swap rates and select the number of tokens you want to convert to your local currency.
- Proceed with the swap, and voila! Your money should be sent to your account within minutes, hours or days.
How to Use Prestmit As Your Off-ramp.
If you want to use Prestmit as an off-ramp to convert your Bitcoin, litecoin and Dogecoin to naira or cedis, follow the steps below.
- Head to the Prestmit website or download the Apple or Google Play store app.
- Create your account, and an address will be generated for you.
- Send your tokens, e.g., Bitcoin, to your Prestmit wallet. Ensure you check the rates and are comfortable with them before sending your coins.
- Wait for 3 (THREE) confirmations, and you’ll receive the equivalent of your coins in naira or cedis.
How To Secure Your Crypto Off-Ramp or On-Ramp Account
Even with the security measures put in place by these platforms, you must take proactive steps to secure your on-ramp or off-ramp account. Better safe than sorry, right? Practice these tips and best practices to secure your account on a crypto off-ramp or on-ramp.
- Keep your passwords safe.
- Be discreet about your transactions. Your neighbourhood does not need to know when you’re jumping on or off the crypto wagon.
- Password-protect your devices.
- Don’t share sensitive information about your account with anyone.
- Use a different password from your other passwords.
- Never connect your wallet to off-ramp platforms you know little about to stay safe from cyber attacks.
Crypto on-ramps and off-ramps may not be doing the groundbreaking things other platforms do. But they break ground for those who want a taste of the crypto pie and those who have had their fill.
They’re not so different asides from the direction of the transaction. On-ramp transactions move fiat to crypto, while off-ramps move crypto to fiat. Though transactions on off-ramps are slower, transaction fees are higher on on-ramps.
Ultimately, carefully choose an on-ramp or off-ramp for secure and successful cryptocurrency transactions.