A little over a year ago I discovered faast a new crypto swapping website from bitaccess, the folks that run a bunch of bitcoin ATMs. I tried it and I was very impressed with the selection of pairs and the speed of the swaps, but the fees felt a little high for me.
I stumbled on their API and in hopes I might be able to save myself some coin and maybe even earn some coin by integrating it into some projects I had gestating for awhile, I decided to sign up as an affiliate and build some test cases that utilized their API under conditions that simulate the real world as much as possible.
Because their sandbox was so limited I used their live endpoints for testing, creating 439 swaps and completing 43 of them over the course of a few months.
1 in 10 felt like a good number for completions, but I noticed the API would return 500 errors, mostly 503's if there were more than a couple of outstanding swaps. This could be an issue if integrated in an app that got popular because the app would need to call the endpoint for each unique user, but the API provides no way to distinguish new user, new swap vs existing user new swap. Ergo an API that silently limits the number of outstanding swaps, or having it throw an error would create a lot of issues for an end user of any app built on top if the app saw any real world usage at all.
After a few months of working with it, I realized it will probably never be reliable enough to work under real world loads so I abandoned it. But because I had completed 43 swaps I did leave some commissions on the table to the tune of 0.013 BTC about $50 ~ $65 at the time.
Last month while assessing my crypto positions I noticed the value of that position had climbed and realized it would be a shame to leave $100 on the table, but their affiliate system will not allow you to withdraw any commissions unless they exceed 0.015 BTC. So I decided to just do a few more big swaps to get my commission up to the minimum so I could get it off the table.
One of my swaps returned a USDC endpoint instead of TUSD, my code was not prepared for that and sent funds.
Once I realized what happened, I freaked out, but I was impressed with customer service's ability to deal with the situation quickly and in a professional manner.
Nevertheless I was left wondering why did the API return USDC on TUSD? Maybe a bug in my code, maybe a bug in theirs, I honestly don't know, but it spooked me and I decided to just get my money out as quickly as possible, so I performed more swaps in an effort to finally reach the minimum withdrawal amount.
After finally getting it up to the threshold, I initiated a withdrawal and I waited. Then I waited some more, then I waited some more.
Finally after 24hrs I decided to send an email to figure out where my money went.
I got passed from person to person, until Moe Adham finally responded.
I've been dealing with them for 3 days now. I've explained myself repeatedly, my potential use cases and the fact that I never built an app, but only some unit tests. I have yet to receive my money.
Here's the truth people. They do have an easy to use API. My experience is that it has been flaky and unreliable, when put into test cases meant to simulate reasonable use, but on the plus side it hasn't had major changes over the year and some of the flakiness might be due to a misconfigured proxy.
What concerns me the most is that they do ex-post facto reviews on apps prior to paying any earned commissions. I could understand this if the purpose were to see if the commissions were legitimately earned or not. But that's not the case here. All of my swaps initiated from the same IP address range and out of 43 swaps there were only 5 or 6 unique addresses, all of which I'm in control of.
So what faast is doing right now really does have all the hallmarks of a classic stall tactic.
First off, there are no questions about use cases asked before signup, and no approval or review process upfront. So why is there one on the backend AFTER commissions are earned, owed and payment expected?
Secondly, this review wasn't some sort of automated trigger caused by my first activity. It was only when trying to exit the platform that I started to get the third degree and it wasn't even my exit that triggered it. To get even this far in the process, it took me sending an email asking where the money went that I got any response at all. Had I not reached out to them, I doubt I would have heard anything back from them at all.
The experience hasn't all been bad and the company seems legit. faast is owned by the bitcoin ATM company bitaccess and as a result I don't think they are going away any time soon. Furthermore they are in fact responsive to emails which is more than I can say for most exchanges. And as I mentioned I had one swap go awry and they did handle it professionally rather than tell me "to bad, so sad, sux to be you" like a lot of exchanges do.
However if you are a developer and looking at their API with hopes of integrating it into anything I'd advise extreme caution.
- The API gets flaky under real world loads. The sandbox is severely limited.
- The required commission amount is higher than you could expect to earn in a reasonable time frame of a month to a quarter. Even setting my commission rate to the max of 5% in order to ensure I get to the threshold as quickly as possible, it took nearly a year to get there.
- They don't appear to be in a position to pay any commissions you would have otherwise earned. At least not without a lot of hassle. Nothing automated there.
- The ex-post facto review process seems to be put in place specifically to limit their need to payout.
- Their affiliate agreement which Moe was quick to point to, says they don't actually need to pay you the commissions you've earned. Should they, in their sole discretion decide not to pay up, then they owe you nothing.
As result I'd advise aspiring developers to look elsewhere.
If they do by some chance decide to pay me, I'll update this thread and let you know. But I know for my part at least, this is my exit and a warning to others to avoid faast .
Imagine putting in all the effort to develop a real world app, market it, build a user base and when it comes time to collect your earnings, you find out they aren't actually obligated to pay, don't want to pay and suddenly have "questions" about your app's usage of their API.
Imagine a review process where you are left trying to explain very simple concepts like unit testing to their ops manager Moe who appears to not understand the software development lifecycle nor why anyone would want to do unit and integration testing; Instead of intuitively understanding that test cases are required for any serious software he decides to call it spammy and abusive to have a 10% completion rate on swaps. I mean really, if this is a concern why are they not monitoring the endpoints and sending an email asking what's going on, during the actual development cycle? Why is it an issue only AFTER I ask for my money?
I don't know what's going on over there. But I'm writing off 0.015 BTC because I know its not likely to ever be returned. YMMV, but as for me, I felt I should give a review and advise caution.
Has anyone else had similar problems?
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