LocalBitcoins provides users with an alternative way to obtain and trade Bitcoin. Started in Finland, in 2012, the site aims to connect Bitcoin buyers and sellers via an open, peer-to-peer marketplace. By using the site users can create and list advertisements, communicate with prospective buyers and sellers and confirm all the transaction details before finalizing any trade.
Localbitcoins acts as gateway into the world of Bitcoin trading and allows new entrants to the world of cryptocurrency to quickly get accustomed to buying and selling Bitcoin. Localbitcoins has developed a good reputation and established itself in a large number of countries around the world, with the site currently listing exchangers in 15582 cities across 248 countries.
LocalBitcoins Login & Signup
LocalBitcoins works as a decentralized marketplace, and allows people to trade Bitcoin directly. To start off, new visitors to the site can navigate to the signup page and register an account.
Once an account has been created, users can now begin to search for Bitcoin sellers in their area. The site allows members to conduct a wide variety of searches, including seller location, accepted payment methods, and ID verification requirements.
When conducting a search a number of possible vendors will show up, users can check the reputation and trading history of each vendor and also communicate directly with the seller in order to discuss any relevant issues. Once the search and verifications have been completed, it’s possible to start the trade by clicking on the “Buy” button.
From here it’s possible to complete the purchase of Bitcoin from the vendor. Before buying, it’s necessary to confirm the amount you would like to buy, your method of payment, how you would like to receive the Bitcoin, and if agreed upon, the form of ID you will be using.
The entire process is quite straightforward, and in order to keep trades taking place with as few problems as possible, Localbitcoins incorporates a number of key factors that enhance the entire experience.
Localbitcoins allows buyers and sellers to transact via a wide range of payment methods. These include:
- COD or Cash on Delivery
- Cash via mail
- Western Union
- Wire exchange
The site also incorporates a number of features designed to help secure trading:
- An Escrow Service–When making trades, any cash sent is held by the escrow administration of Localbitcoins. The funds are discharged only after the vender confirms a successful exchange.
- Reputation Ratings– Traders are given a ranking based on their activity, in addition their trading history and feedback ratings are open for all to view.
- Customer Support – Localbitcoins offers support via email and the support team are generally quick to respond. The site also hosts a forum where users can discuss issues and give out advice.
- Conflict Resolution– In the event that a client runs into any issues, Localbitcoins provides a conflict resolution service via its customer support team. The team investigate cases and look to resolve any disagreements between buyers and sellers.
- 2 Factor Authentication– Having an additional PIN code provides an extra layer of protection against hackers. 2FA allows users to confirm their sign-ins by having a PIN code sent directly to their mobile phone.
LocalBitcoins also charges a commission of just 1% usually taken from the sellers (or individual who posted an advert). However, buyers on the site should be aware that Bitcoin prices will generally be higher than anything that can be found on the more mainstream centralized exchanges. The larger exchanges are able to generate revenue by charging commissions across all the trades on their platform. However, as LocalBitcoins runs as a peer-to-peer marketplace, vendors often choose to generate revenue by slightly increasing their selling prices. Vendors also run the risk of selling Bitcoin to individuals that may try to initiate a chargeback (via PayPal), and as a result prices are higher across the platform in order to mitigate this risk.
Is Local Bitcoins Safe?
As Localbitcoins operates as a decentralized exchange, it’s necessary for its users to incorporate certain safety measures in order to ensure successful trades. Whilst the site has developed a good reputation as being a safe, and trustworthy place to buy and sell Bitcoin, there is always the possibility of more unscrupulous vendors also choosing to use the site. As a result in order to avoid bad sellers or any possible scams, it’s best to:
- Check the seller’s profile and verify that they are suitable for trading with. When possible look for vendors with an account that is at least a year old, has a rating of around 98%, and has conducted over 100 BTC trades. On top of this, it’s possible to identify verified merchants that display their company account details as well as phone number and email address.
- Contact the seller and request an exchange through the platform. Avoid trading with vendors externally as this negates the escrow service, it’s also best to stick to communicating through the Localbitcoins message box and avoid sending messages via email or text.
- Explain your requirements as much as possible and highlight any issues you may have. Localbitcoins allows individuals to negotiate prices, and payment methods, as well as Bitcoin delivery method so it’s important to discuss the most important aspects of the trade.
- Contact customer support and make use of the forum if you are experiencing any issues, or have any doubts regarding sellers. Whilst the site is quite straightforward, it’s always possible for users to run into problems. Help is always available.
LocalBitcoins is one of the most easily accessible platforms for acquiring Bitcoin. The site allows for private purchases and can be used worldwide; it also allows users to make purchases via a number of different payment methods and doesn’t impose buying or selling limits.
However, visitors to the site should keep in mind that, there may be untrustworthy sellers on the site, and reputable sellers may have certain stipulations when conducting trades. Sellers make ask for ID verification for larger amounts and refuse reversible payment methods such as PayPal. Prices may also be slightly higher, as vendors choose to charge more for Bitcoin than the mainstream exchanges.
The team behind Localbitcoins focus on providing a service that benefits both users and the general community, with the homepage stating “We are ever expanding and want to bring a Bitcoin exchange and economy to every city in the world. We believe Bitcoin to be a black swan event, something that fundamentally changes how the financial world works. This will be an enabler for more prosperity, especially in developing countries”.
Localbitcoins is a tried and trusted method of trading Bitcoin that has been embraced by the Bitcoin community. The site attempts to stay true to Bitcoin’s decentralized ethos and fills a very particular niche within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The site is a good choice for those new to buying Bitcoin as well as more experienced traders.
This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators’ websites before making any decision. Pococoins, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.