Local Bitcoins Review
A directory of local buyers and sellers of Bitcoins. Lists the Bitcoin traders closest to your current location.
Local Bitcoins Overview
Local Bitcoins is the world’s most used peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange. What it really is is just a marketplace where individuals buy and sell Bitcoins to and from each other with fiat. Sellers and buyers can set their own prices and are mostly free to set their own rules for exchanging, with the Local Bitcoins site merely providing a platform to complete the exchange.
The site claims to have exchangers available from 248 countries and 14,440 cities, which is quite a boast, seeing as that the UN recognizes 195 countries and some 43 dependencies, so it’s possible unrecognized countries are also counted. Hooray for border-less Bitcoin, right?
There is only one crypto commodity to buy or sell here: Bitcoin. Because users expect to be exchanging with people close to them or from their country, naturally, exchanges are completed in the respective fiat currencies of the country they’re in (although larger exchangers often make other fiat options available) – hence the emphasis on local.
Payment and fees
The buy and sell rates for Bitcoin are probably among the best (if not the best) that you can find anywhere online, which is to be expected from a P2P exchange where users set their own rates. Clicking on Buy or Sell will list the options, with the best prices shown at the top. We found that this will typically result in at least 2 – 3 % more value if compared to other non-P2P exchanges.
Local Bitcoins itself does charge a modest 1% fee on all trades, which the seller pays but even that is extremely competitive. It also earns from advertisements that users can create to promote their prices and payment methods.
There are two types of transactions: online trades and local trades. The online trade is the most secure, as Local Bitcoins provides an escrow service, whereby the seller can release the Bitcoins sold only after receiving buyer funds. In event that the seller doesn’t do this, Local Bitcoins can release the escrow to the buyer. This ensures both parties cannot scam each other.
Local trades just means you agree to meet in person and do the exchange!
Things to note
The thing you should remember with P2P is that you’re dealing with another person. While this platform gets you the best prices around and can settle a trade quickly (direct local bank deposits are almost instant, for example), if you’re not careful and don’t do your own due diligence, you expose yourself to fraud.
In general, when setting up a trade, look for a trader with good reputation scores, good feedback, large volume of trades. The older the account, the better. The more people Trust the trader, the better. Don’t forget to leave your own trust and feedback after completing each trade.
Some countries, like the US, also require AML/KYC, so US buyers will usually ask for verification from sellers. Most other countries are quite relaxed on this rule, so you can easily exchange Bitcoin for fiat in no time at all with the security of escrow.
The site’s inbuilt verification is simple and automated. You will find that most traders will only deal with verified users so you should do this. The phone verification takes 5 seconds, and the automated ID verification took about a minute.
Local Bitcoins is simple, quick and fuss-free, in our experience. It took us just about 5 minutes to sign up a new account and get it verified and verification. Minus confirmation time (your deposit will need 3 confirmations before it can be sold), the trader we chose took only 30 minutes to pay us fiat, upon which we released the escrow.
Of course, exercise caution – a simple Google will find a lot of people scammed on Local Bitcoins, usually after responding to ads at great prices or not following trader instructions. Customer Support ranges from effective to frustrating, but are normally good at resolving disputes.
So for the best bang for buck and quick transaction times, Local Bitcoins is a winner for us.