What is LocalBitcoins?
LocalBitcoins is something a little different to a regular crypto exchange. This LocalBitcoins review takes a look at a global exchange that allows investors to directly buy and sell Bitcoins (BTC) in a full peer-to-peer manner. This can be done either locally in person or online.
There are good points and bad points, and that is what we aim to find out, but before we dive more in-depth, you should know it is one of the most accessible places how to buy and sell cryptocurrency.
Where is LocalBitcoins Located?
The LocalBitcoins head office is in Finland and was started back in 2012. This being said, it is a global exchange and doesn’t have many restrictions, and the site has around 15500 exchangers spread across 250 countries.
This makes buying and selling BTC more accessible to a lot of people who were unable to gain access to exchanges.
How LocalBitcoins Works
Sellers of Bitcoins will create advertisements, and for each trade which is made from this advertisement, the LocalBitcoins fees will be charged at a flat rate of 1%.
There are also merchant invoicing services provided, and from these, a fee 0f 0.5% will be deducted. If any invoice is paid via an external transaction, then a Bitcoin network deposit fee would be deducted.
Aside from this, all other areas of using the site are free from charges. However, any transactions which involve other Bitcoin wallets will be subject to a fee from the Bitcoin network.
Once users have created an account and been verified, there are no buying and selling limits imposed.
Users can also make use of the LocalBitcoins app, this not only makes transactions easy while on the go but if you make a trade in person, you can see the deal has gone through before parting with any money.
Accepted Payment Methods
There are many ways you can pay on LocalBitcoins. If you use harder to reverse payment methods, you can obtain better prices.
Sellers often increase a selling price for their BTC if easier to reverse methods of payment are used. This is done for protection, and no money can be taken from their account such as “chargeback.”
- Bank wire transfer
- Western Union
- Cash (by mail)
- Cash Payment (in person)
Although users can sign up with just a username, and email address and a password before they begin trading.
Some buyers or sellers might ask for additional ID verification before they will trade with you. This is merely self-protection and is a good thing to follow.
However, earlier this year LocalBitcoins has started to implement and enforce KYC (Know-Your-Customer) protocols. This comes into force for buyers and sellers whose trading volume is over set limits.
LocalBitcoins explains this is one more step to protect their users from scams or fraudulent practices, such as money laundering.
This now does take away the element of true anonymity which was a large part of the appeal of LocalBitcoins.
LocalBitcoins only supports Bitcoin transactions. Although this might be restrictive for a lot of people who are into trading altcoins, this could be the best place to buy Bitcoin for a lot of users, especially in harder to reach countries where restrictions apply.
The site itself is as secure as any could be, and they even encourage users to point out any vulnerabilities they find with their service.
This aside, most of the security or concerns of security are down to the fact, it is a peer-to-peer platform, and with all platforms of this type, there is the chance of unscrupulous traders.
LocalBitcoins do all they can, but it is down to their users to check on the other party to ensure they are safe and reliable.
Also, users should make use of another wallet rather than the one offered by LocalBitcoins to store their assets.
LocalBitcoins customer support is carried out via email. The team is pretty quick in response. There is also a community forum where users can discuss or hand out advice.
One other area the support team is welcomed is in conflict resolution. If any client has problems, LocalBitcoins offers this conflict resolution service through the support team.
They will investigate the dispute and aim to resolve the situation between the seller and the buyer.
Is LocalBitcoins Safe?
One of the reasons why LocalBitcoins is so popular isn’t just how easy it is to buy and sell Bitcoin, it is how much they do to make the process as safe and secure as they can. They include a few features to help make this possible.
- Escrow Service – When trading any cash which has been sent is held by the administrators of LocalBitcoins.com These funds are only then released once the vendor has confirmed a successful exchange.
- 2 Factor Authentication – An extra pin number adds another layer of protection against hackers. This 2FA allows a user to verify their LocalBitcoins login by having this pin sent to their phone.
- Reputation Ratings – Traders build up a reputation and ranked based on activity. Aside from this a traders history and feedback ratings are open for public viewing.
LocalBitcoins makes it easy to buy and sell Bitcoins, and as soon as you look at the website, you are presented with buy and sell options in your local vicinity.
How to use LocalBitcoins is straightforward from start to finish, and the only real thing to be wary of is untrustworthy sellers that do frequent the site.
The platform is tried and trusted and gives users a much easier option for testing the waters into cryptocurrency investing.
One downfall is the higher prices you might end up paying, but overall this could be insignificant if you purchase your BTC at the right time.
As it stands, the LocalBitcoins company make it easy, and they do as much as they possibly can in protecting their growing community, and the more they spread and make their site and features available to more people, then that will do nothing but good for BTC traders.