If you need to buy Bitcoin, LocalBitcoins is where you may end up. It is one of the most favored platforms by Bitcoin traders due to its reputation and accessibility. LocalBitcoins exchange offers services worldwide and is known for providing users with a wide range of payment methods. It is, however, not a regular exchange, but a peer-to-peer marketplace, meaning that it offers a place where visitors can trade with one another. The site acts as a regulator and helps to find the most reliable traders.
LocalBitcoins is one of the oldest sites offering opportunities to exchange cryptocurrency. It was founded in Finland and has been operating since 2012, letting its visitors find potential Bitcoin buyers or sellers, create advertisements, and discuss any possible details before proceeding with the transaction.
LocalBitcoins is a good place for newcomers who want to become experienced cryptocurrency traders. The site has proven its reputation over time, attracting more and more customers from all over the globe. It is currently listing traders in 16232 cities across 248 countries.
How It Works
If you already have some experience with cryptocurrency exchanges, you will find LocalBitcoins very different from them. First of all, it will not require linking your bank account directly to the site’s platform. Being a decentralized marketplace, it lets visitors trade directly. You will first have to create a LocalBitcoins account, which is very simple, as you will only be asked to provide your username, email, and password.
If you want to buy Bitcoin, LocalBitcoins lets you search for a person to trade with using various criteria, such as location, preferred payment method, the currency you are going to use for payment, and verification requirements. Once you’re done, a list of available sellers will be shown, specifying the price and purchase limits. At this point, you can also check a vendor’s trading history and whether he is in good standing. It is also possible to contact the seller to discuss any additional details before clicking on the Buy button and starting the trade.
Next, you have to check all the details related to the trade: how much you want to buy, what payment method you are going to use, and the way you would like to receive your Bitcoin. You may also have to specify the form of ID, if it is required by the seller.
This is pretty much it. The whole process is very simple and easy to follow, the most difficult part probably being choosing a seller to trade with. There are a few tips that will help you avoid suspicious vendors.
Always check the vendor’s account before buying. It’s best to opt for someone who has been registered for at least a year and has a feedback score of around 97%. If they have conducted at least 100 trades involving more than 50 BTC, this is a good reason to trust that seller. Finally, check whether he has verified his information and how many users have recommended him as a trusted trader. If their number is at least 10-15, then you’re good to go.
Payment Methods and Fees
Buyers can use the following payment methods to pay for their purchase:
- Cash via mail
- Cash on Delivery
- Wire exchange
- Western Union
Commissions of 1% are usually charged to the sellers or those who post an advertisement for buying Bitcoin. However, LocalBitcoins has higher prices in general than most centralized exchanges. Unlike those, there are not so many ways to generate revenue for the site, and the sellers will often put higher prices in order to earn some profits as well. There is also a good chance for vendors to come across buyers who may use PayPal as a payment method and initiate a chargeback later, which makes sellers try to get more from the trade whenever they can to cover any possible losses.
Considering decentralized nature of LocalBitcoins, the safety of your trades mostly depends on the intentions of the person you are dealing with. However, there are some features provided by the site in order to increase the security and ensure the protection of your money.
An escrow service is one of them. Your money will be held by the site in escrow until there is confirmation of a successful trade.
Conflict resolution is a self-explanatory service. It’s the main reason why you would even go to LocalBitcoins instead of finding some strangers on Bitcoin forums to trade with. In case you face any issues or if you were unfortunate and came across an unfair seller, you can get your money back by applying for conflict resolution. Keep in mind that it will only be possible if you are using the escrow service. Never agree to trade or discuss anything regarding the deal outside LocalBitcoins.
Two-factor authentication is used to protect users’ LocalBitcoins login information. You will have to enter a code sent to your phone to access your account.
LocalBitcoins support can be contacted via email. They usually get back to clients very quickly and are able to help with any issues. Do not hesitate to contact them if you want to get some additional confirmation about the seller. You can also write them if there are any difficulties in using the site and neither the FAQ section nor the forum was able to help you resolve them.
The Bottom Line
All in all, LocalBitcoins is the best place to trade Bitcoin if you prefer a peer-to-peer option. The site is beginner-friendly, and the whole process is very simple to follow. However, be ready to find higher prices and a need to do some homework before proceeding with a trade. Try to learn as much as possible about the seller and never download a LocalBitcoins app unless it is listed on the site. There platform offers some protection tools, but it’s best to make sure you are dealing with a trusted vendor yourself.