LocalBitcoins Review 2018
LocalBitcoins is an online exchange which connects Bitcoin buyers and sellers within a particular geographical location. The website basically uses the user’s location and that of other users of the site to match buyers and sellers who are close to each other in a geographical sense. Therefore, those who want to buy or sell Bitcoin do not have to look far or to deal with people who are located very far away from the buyer/seller. LocalBitcoins searches and matches you to Bitcoins located “locally”, hence the name LocalBitcoins.
- Supported Countries
- Cryptocurrencies Traded
- Deposit and Withdrawal Options
- Fees and Charges
- Security Measures
- Customer Support
- Pros and Cons
LocalBitcoins serves more than 200 countries and territories on its platforms. The countries which are not served are locked out as a result of either international financial restrictions, or regulatory prohibitions. Countries not served include US, China, Indonesia, Syria and North Korea.
US Traders Accepted: Yes or No?
Due to regulatory restrictions, US traders are not accepted on the LocalBitcoins exchange.
What are cryptocurrency pairs traded on the LocalBitcoins platform? All trading and exchange business features Bitcoin, paired with several fiat currencies such as the USD, Euro, British Pound, etc.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Transactions on LocalBitcoins are done from one individual entity to another. Therefore, only payment methods that allow for P2P (i.e. person-to-person) transactions are permitted on the LocalBitcoins platform. Therefore, LocalBitcoins allows its users to perform deposits and withdrawals using the following channels:
- Wire transfer
- Mobile money (selected countries)
- Western Union
- Cash by mail
- Cash (done in person)
The best prices are obtained when using payment methods that are not easily reversed. Therefore, purchasing with a payment method such as PayPal will be more expensive than a physical cash exchange because of the added risk of chargeback with PayPal.
Fees and Charges
For those who want to understand what charges they may possibly incur by using the LocalBitcoins exchange site to do business, the following is a guide on the fees schedule for LocalBitcoins usage.
- Bitcoin trading (i.e. buying and selling of Bitcoin) is totally free.
- Those who advertise their Bitcoins for sale to other LocalBitcoins users that want to buy are usually charged a 1% fee on all completed trades.
- Sending of Bitcoin to the wallets of other LocalBitcoins users is also free. However, the Bitcoin network itself will charge a fee for the transaction. In other words, LocalBitcoins will not charge for sending of Bitcoin, but the network will charge a fee (which is used to compensate those who confirm the transactions on the blockchain network). This network fee is not static; it varies with the amount.
- Merchant invoicing carries a 0.5% service fee, which is taken from the invoice amount.
- Payments of invoices using external transactions also attract some cost.
- If custom projects are performed, (e.g. research) a fee of 200 euros/hour is charged. This amount is payable in Bitcoin using the most current BTC/Euros exchange rate.
There are no limits on the amounts of cryptocurrencies that can be traded on LocalBitcoins.
What are the security measures deployed by LocalBitcoins to secure the cryptocurrency holdings of its clients? The following measures have now been put in place.
- 2FA, also known as 2-factor authentication, allows for users to use an additional login PIN after entering the primary login details in the account. The use of 2-factor Authentication is an additional security measure which helps to prevent account hacks, especially if an unauthorized third party has obtained control of the primary login details. The user is expected to activate it if this feature is desired. It is not activated automatically or by default.
- IP Address Confirmation: LocalBitcoins usually marks and keeps a record of the IP address of the computer which is used for the account creation. The exchange website’s robots are also able to keep a record of the browser which is constantly used for login to the LocalBitcoins account. If the user moves to a new location, uses a new computer or browser or travels to a new country, a verification process is undertaken via email to confirm the identity of the individual using the account.
- KYC: A Know-Your-Customer system is in place to put a verifiable identity on all users of the LocalBitcoins exchange website. This helps to weed out scammers from using the exchange to steal Bitcoins of authentic users.
- Escrow Payments: All transactions are covered by escrow protection. Cash is only released for Bitcoins that have been confirmed as being sent.
LocalBitcoins does not provide a hard wallet. Therefore, users are advised to place all their unlisted Bitcoins in a cold wallet and only put the ones they want to sell on the hot wallet.
The support services at LocalBitcoins can be accessed on a 24/7 basis. Available methods include:
- Twitter (www.twitter.com/LocalBitcoins)
- Instagram (www.instagram.com/LocalBitcoins)
- Email (via online contact form)
- Support ticket
However, only the social media channels guarantee fast services. Support tickets opened on the website may take as many as 10 days to get resolution.
Pros and Cons
- Competitive fee structure (most services are free).
- There are payment channels which take into account country-specific peculiarities. For instance, while MTN Mobile Money works in Ghana, PayPal will work well for Europe.
- There are several layers of security for users on the exchange.
- There is no shortage of buyers and sellers as the exchange has a map that co-located sellers with buyers in their region.
- US Clients are not accepted on the exchange.
- Customer support is very slow.
- Lack of a hard wallet system means that users have added the responsibility of protecting their wallets.
Where is LocalBitcoins located?
LocalBitcoins’s headquarters is located in Helsinki, Finland.
How can I fund my LocalBitcoins account?
There are many options that can be used to fund an account with LocalBitcoins. Check the article to see which method is available in your region.
What is the average withdrawal time for LocalBitcoins?
LocalBitcoins specify a maximum withdrawal time of 12 hours. However, the typical withdrawal time is very much less being one or two hours.
Is LocalBitcoins Safe to Use?
LocalBitcoins offers several layers of security for the protection of its users. Furthermore, there are several checks and balances that are in place to protect users during transactions. One of these is the escrow system, which ensures that payments are not released until all parties have fulfilled their obligations.
Is LocalBitcoins legit, or is it a scam?
LocalBitcoins is a legit company which has been around since 2013. There have been very few complaints of scam, which in most cases were as a result of people doing business with users without track records. Deposits and withdrawals are handled with dispatch and this is why more and more people in many countries are signing up.
- United Kingdom
- Cape Verde
- Sri Lanka
- Solomon Islands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Burkina Faso
- Russian Federation
- Saint Lucia
- South Sudan
- Virgin Islands, British
- South Korea
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Vatican City
- Papua New Guinea
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Dominican Republic
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Equatorial Guinea
- Hong Kong
- Sierra Leone
- Saudi Arabia
- Cayman Islands
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Czech Republic
- United Arab Emirates
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Central African Republic
- San Marino
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- South Africa
- Isle of Man