LocalBitcoins is a popular P2P exchange that allows users to buy and sell bitcoins directly. The international platform was launched in 2012 in Finland. Notably, the exchange is not like other similar platforms. The transactions at the exchange are performed between the users and the service is the guarantee that the parties will comply with the conditions of the trade. Buyers and sellers decide on the price at which they want to buy or sell bitcoin and choose the methods of exchange.
LocalBitcoins is currently one of the most liquid P2P exchanges, providing the services of exchange of the first cryptocurrency absolutely legally. The platform is registered as a legal entity (EU VAT number (VIES) FI25251957) in Helsinki, Finland. The operation of the platform is regulated by the laws of the country and the rules of the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland. Also, all transactions on LocalBitcoins are performed in compliance with the Act on Detecting and Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML) and KYC.
|Security and regulation||10|
|Deposit and withdrawal||9|
|Exchange type||Decentralized p2p platform|
|Regulation||Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland, no license for transactions with cryptocurrencies.|
|BTC withdrawal limits||No|
|USD withdrawal limits||No|
|Withdrawal in Fiat||No limits, transactions can be performed in any of the 75 national currencies.|
|Time frame for account opening||No longer than 24, verification included.|
|Customer support languages||English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese.|
|Withdrawal fee||Your bank’s fee + 0.5% of the withdrawal amount; for cryptocurrencies the fee is calculated depending on the asset. If the funds are withdrawn to an external wallet, there is also the blockchain fee.|
|Payment methods||Over 60 methods of payment: debit/credit cards, wire transfers, electronic payment systems, cash.|
|Account currencies||75 national currencies, including euro, ruble, hryvnia, US dollar and others (+BTC).|
There is a simple and clear system for calculating the fees on the platform. You can find the information on the fees in the Fees section on the website or on the page of the wallet when you are making the trade.
The platform charges a fixed fee for bitcoin trading at 1% of the value of the trade. At that, the buyer’s fee is not charged. There is also an additional platform fee of 0.5%.
If an external transaction is involved in the execution of your trade, an additional Bitcoin blockchain fee is charged (this fee is automatically deducted). In this case, the fee varies based on how congested the Bitcoin blockchain is.
All incoming transactions to the platform’s wallet are processed for free. There is, however, a limit for minimum deposit (shown on the wallet page).
LocalBitcoins withdrawal fee is regulated automatically to ensure quick execution of transactions. In case of external issues with a transfer of fiat money or bitcoins (transaction failures or errors), you can leave a request for custom work, e.g. research of external problems. The cost of such service is EUR 200/hour.
The maker’s fee is 1%, which is higher than at the other cryptocurrency exchanges. However, the taker’s fee is 0%. Therefore, a conclusion can be made that the service offers rather good conditions for the takers.
LocalBitcoins is a P2P exchange, where all transactions are performed exclusively between the users of the service. There is no margin lending on the platform.
The company does not have the license for trading cryptocurrencies. However, the service offers other ways
to protect your personal data and money.
The platform keeps records of all user transactions, collects user ratings and requires account verification for trading without restrictions.
Traders, on their part, can activate two-factor authentication, use the features of a cold wallet for holding assets and transfer only part of them to the trading account of the exchange. Coin escrow feature deserves special mention. Specifically, when a trader opens a sell position, the service automatically reserves the trade amount from the wallet and moves it to the escrow account. After you confirm the trade (after you receive payment), the funds held in escrow are transferred to the buyer. The security of the transaction is also regulated by the escrow service protocols.
For the protection of user data and cryptocurrency, the platform uses HTTPS encryption, SMS- and email alerts, and PGP encryption for emails. Automatic option Login Guard is yet another option of information security, which remembers the browsers and devices the clients use when passing authentication. When a new device is used, confirmation of access is sent to the email.
In the entire history of the exchange, there have been three attempts to hack it and steal users’ funds. The first time, the fraudsters hacked the service in 2015 and stole 17 Bitcoins. The next hacker attack happened in 2018, although no funds were stolen. The latest attack happened in 2019, when six user accounts were hacked and 8 Bitcoins were stolen.
After the hacker attacks, the entire security system of the exchange has been revised and strengthened. For example, the funds of the traders are held in cold wallets. However, in active trading, the escrow service provides a certain degree of risk minimization, ensuring temporary holding of the assets for payment and transaction confirmation.
The users of the platform can buy or sell bitcoins, using 75 global currencies, including euro, dollar, British pound and Ukrainian hryvnia, as well as various assets that are not used as much for international payments (for example Tunisian Dinar or Leone).
Naturally, compared to other exchanges the choice is rather limited, but you shouldn’t forget that it is a P2P platform and not a traditional exchange.
|Cryptocurrency funds (a basket of cryptocurrencies in one lot)||No||No||No|
At the moment, the platform offers access to 75 trading pairs*. All of them are BTC + a fiat asset. Also, starting from this year, 5 altcoins are available at the exchange, which can also be used for payments. Considering that LocalBitcoins is a P2P platform, the choice of assets is rather diverse. It is convenient that you can pay with different national currencies.
The platform currency does not offer passive income options.
In order to start trading at LocalBitcoins, the first thing you need to do is to create a personal account on the platform and open a trading account. The entire procedure will not take more than 36 hours (if the system has a low workload, verification can be quicker).
As of now, creation of accounts and performance of any trade transactions on LocalBitcoins is prohibited for the residents and citizens of the following countries:
The procedure of registering a new account on the website is simple and clear.
Open the official website of the exchange and click “Sign up free”. www.localbitcoins.com
In the registration form, provide your username, email and come up with a password. Confirm your password, tick the box “I’m not a robot” and click “Sign up”.
Confirm registration of the new account by following the link from the message you received to your email. There, you have created a new account and received a free wallet for holding cryptocurrency.
To access your account, use your email and password.
In the middle of 2019, after another hacker attack, the exchange introduced a new verification system of user accounts. Now, there are 4 tiers on the platform.
|Full name||All information of T0.||All information of T0 and T1.||All earlier provided information.|
|Phone number||Scanned copy of your ID document and the country of residence.||Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, for example).|
|Country of residence|
|This category of users cannot create transactions and the wallet for holding funds is not available.||Transactions with external wallets are available (up to EUR 1,000).||Access to the local Bitcoin wallet, transactions up to EUR 10,000.||Unlimited access to transactions and several points to the personal rating of the trader, transactions over EUR 100,000.|
In order to verify your account, open account settings (the menu in the top right corner) and select the corresponding page. Notably, if the trading volume exceeds the limit available on one tier of verification, the system requests verification for the next tier.
In order to start trading at the exchange, you need to fund your account. Notably, the exchange does not have minimum deposit requirements.
Compared to the competitors, the platform offers the best conditions for trading the digital coin.
The users have access to a Bitcoin wallet and a fiat account for trading, and also the so-called cold wallet for holding the assets. There are no deposit/withdrawal limits on the wallet. However, in order for the transactions not to get deactivated, specialists recommend not to perform transactions for the amount that is lower than the limits specified on the buy/sell page (they change daily depending on the congestion of the blockchain).
Platform users can make deposits with debit/credit cards, via wire transfers and also transfers of digital assets from wallets. This is rather convenient, as you can deposit and withdraw funds in fiat as well as in cryptocurrency.
|Deposit/withdrawal method||Fee||Processing time|
|Bitcoin||No fee is charged on deposits, the withdrawal fee is calculated by the blockchain.||Up to one hour (inside the system). If the deposit/withdrawal involves external wallets, it will take about 4 hours (depending on how congested the blockchain is).|
|Debit/credit cards||Bank’s fee + 0.5% of the withdrawal amount||Up to 3 working days.|
|Over 60 different payment systems||Bank’s fee + 0.5% of the withdrawal amount||Up to 3 working days.|
Overall, the platform provides an excellent choice of deposit and withdrawal methods. However, you need to remember that your bank may charge additional fees, and then the total fees will be higher than stated on the exchange’s website.
The main website of the exchange is very simple, but has all the necessary features. There is the company’s logo in the top menu that directs you back to the home page and also the “Buy Bitcoins” and Sell Bitcoins” buttons. There is also the “Learn” button with a pop-down menu to thematic sections, such as FAQ, Guides, Webinars, Blog, etc.
At the bottom of the page, you can find information about the services, regulations, and links to the company’s pages on social media, which is rather convenient.
The interface of the mobile application is similar to the web version.
Notably, unlike traditional exchanges, there are no price charts or other instruments of analysis and dynamics of the asset. However, taking into consideration that the users form the price themselves, this category of options is not necessary.
There is no section with analytical materials on the website.
Despite that the service is positioned as a P2P platform, there is a rather large number of educational materials here:
Let’s discuss the last one in more detail. Blog is a separate page of the service with a huge number of publications about Bitcoin. And these are not just price change reports, but rather detailed materials of security of transactions, causes of price growth or decline, popularity of the digital asset, etc.
Overall, the platform offers more than enough educational materials.
You can also find short video tutorials on the YouTube channel of the exchange.
Customer support is excellent. You can contact the support specialists using the feedback form on the website or by sending an official request by email.
Customer support is provided in 7 languages: English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian.
The platform offers a partnership program. Any user can participate in it. For this you need a new user to register using your referral link. The mandatory condition is that the new user starts trading.
The owner of the referral link will receive bonuses based on the fees for the transactions performed by the new user.
LocalBitcoins cryptocurrency exchange is a good way to buy or sell bitcoins. The service is very convenient, because you can use the currency of your country for transactions and choose the best rate.
The service guarantees a high level of protection and security of user information and funds.
The exchange charges low fees compared to the competitors and offers a rather wide selection of available payment systems.
In the company’s blog, the traders can learn about Bitcoin in detail.
Summing up, LocalBitcoins is a good service, but only for working with Bitcoin. Compared to the rest of the exchanges, it certainly is at a disadvantage, as it does not offer passive income options, lending and does not have high trading volumes. LocalBitcoins does not have the proper trading platform and instruments for active trading. However, taking into consideration that it is not a traditional exchange, but a P2P platform, the conclusion is that it is one of the best in the segment.
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