Localbitcoins – is it safe?
Localbitcoins is an established exchange site that provides bitcoin cryptocurrency investors with an opportunity to meet and buy or sell Bitcoins.
The site operates in a slightly different mode compared to the traditional cryptocurrency exchanges… Unlike other trading sites, Localbitcoins does not need its clients to link their bank accounts to the site. What happens is that if you want to buy or sell Bitcoins, you set up an account with Localbitcoins then find interested buyers/sellers before you finalize the transaction.
Localbitcoins site information
It is basically a peer-to-peer marketplace. The site provides a forum where BTC buyers and sellers meet to conduct to sell or buy bitcoin.
Localbitcoins is based in Helsinki, Finland.
The site began operations in June 2012. It has been in operation for over five years now.
Localbitcoins is supported in the UK, US, China and in over 250 countries around the world. However, the site does not support operations in Germany and New York.
Localbitcoins has no limitations in place on the transactions conducted on its site. When you find a suitable buyer or seller, you are at liberty to trade as much as you are able to. Though price will have a particular range, the seller is free to set their own prices.
I found this to be a great thing since I can actually know beforehand whether I am making a profit or not.
As long as the trader and the buyer reach an agreement on the price of bitcoin, there’s no limit to how much I can sell or buy.
Buying and selling Bitcoin on Localbitcoins
The question we need to ask here is: is Localbitcoins legit? Before you buy or sell on Localbitcoins, let me say that the site is legit.
On Localbitcoins, buyers and sellers have a variety of buying or selling methods at their disposal.
The advice I give to my fellow investors is that when choosing a payment method, it is better to get one that is not easily reversible. This will afford you some protection against fraudulent traders.
Although there are several paying or selling methods, it is always good to remember that caution and diligence will really help you buy Bitcoin without the risk of being ripped.
Below I discuss the popular buying and selling methods.
Payment methods Localbitcoins accept
Localbitcoins supports several payment methods for the buyer. Most of these buying methods are in fiat form that is suitable for peer-to-peer transactions. You can pay fiat currency in the following ways:
- bank wire transfer
- western union
- cash via mail
You can also buy bitcoin using Neteller, Amazon gift card, Skrill, and MoneyBrokers.
Additionally, Localbitcoins allows you to pay for bitcoin using Bitcoins in your bitcoin wallet.
When you have fiat currencies, you are free to conduct transactions using any of the currencies at your disposal.
What this implies is that all you need to do is find someone willing to accept local fiat in exchange for bitcoin.
Verification factors and Localbitcoins login
- To sign up with Localbitcoins, provide your email address and proceed to complete signing up.
- ID verification is not mandatory when you sign up.
- Localbitcoins is a site that does not require you to provide any personal information like bank details
- The KYC principle may apply for traders in the US. It is therefore important to know what your seller/buyer may be after as a form of verification.
- However, best practices will dictate that some traders may ask for certain identification details before finalizing the transaction.
Localbitcoins transaction Fees
Since it does not operate like many other exchanges, Localbitcoins prefers to let the buyer and seller handle their business without the burden of huge transaction fees.
- The site levies a flat 1% fee on all trading transactions on the platform.
- The bitcoin seller is the one who pays the fee.
- Buyers on Localbitcoins do not pay anything if they are only interested in purchasing bitcoin.
- However, remember that normal Bitcoin network fees do apply whenever you complete a transaction. To offset this additional cost, most sellers add the expected charge to the transaction price.
Localbitcoins special features
When you sign up with Localbitcoins, you will notice that there are a few special features that the site has. I find the features helpful for the traders using Localbitcoins. These are:
- Fast and private
- No ID verification required.
- Simple to use
Is Localbitcoins Safe?
Localbitcoins has been in service for over 5 years and is one of the first exchange sites to launch. Over the years, the site has built its reputation and now ranks well among the top sites. Having said that, it is worth noting that the cryptocurrency world is rife with scammers and Localbitcoins is no exception.
The community of traders on Localbitcoins has similar views about the site. I have been on the two popular platforms of Bitcointalk and Reddit. And consensus is that Localbitcoins is a reputable site that is reliable.
However, that does not exclude the fact that we have fraudulent dealers on the site. My advice here is that you must pay attention to the person you are trading with.
Overall, the site is good.
Localbitcoins takes the issue of security very seriously. To help safeguard the traders, the site has put up several measures to enhance security. These are:
- Escrow- all funds are held in an escrow account until the buyer confirms a successful buy.
- Localbitcoins reputation rankings- you can view a trader’s ranking based on activities they conduct. Also available is the history and feedback about the trader.
- Localbitcoins forum- apart from the email support, Localbitcoins has a forum for all clients to engage in issue based discussions and advice to fellow traders.
- The 2 Factor Authentication- a two layer security protection against the threat of hacking. PIN codes are also sent your verified mobile phone number after sign-in identification
- Conflict Resolution- when issues arise, Localbitcoins support team provides an avenue to resolve the conflict.
Localbitcoins offers customer support through email. The support team has been praised for being quick to respond to the concerns of the clients. The site also has an active platform that allows users to communicate to one another bout issues affecting the site. They provide:
The Localbitcoins site is easy to navigate and the speed at which transactions are carried out is very high.
- Signup took me about 30 seconds.
- The website speed is fast and buying and selling is completed instantly.
- Most transactions are completed within 10 minutes after agreeing with a seller.
- Transactions done using cash usually take 1 hour.
- Face to face cash transactions are much faster and somehow easy to organize.
Generally, the handling speed is relatively high and satisfying.
How to use Localbitcoins to buy Bitcoins
Once you sign up on Localbitcoins, you will follow the steps below to transact:
- Search Localbitcoins for a seller: find a trader based on their location and the payment method you prefer.
- Examine trader history and feedback to determine authenticity- a legit seller will have a history of completing transactions successfully. Scammers will have negative feedback.
- Communicate: send a request to do business with the seller. It is advisable not to send personal information unless you have come to an agreement with the trader.
- Use Localbitcoins message service to send payment information– if you use other services like email and phone messages, you will not get help from Localbitcoins in case of a dispute.
- Confirm payment made- this allows for the transaction to be completed. Afterwards, you will receive Bitcoins in your Localbitcoins wallet.
Note: Use the Localbitcoins communication channels to qualify for their escrow services.
Can I trust Localbitcoins?
Localbitcoins is a reputable and reliable site for buying and selling Bitcoin. It is ideal for beginners as the sign-up process isn’t complicated and the UI is great.
Some of its pros are:
- Worldwide access
- Fast transactions
- Wide range of payment methods
- Escrow Service
- Private purchases possible
- Reputation Ratings
- No buying/selling limits
However, the site is not without one or two areas that must be improved upon to make it even better. These are the cons:
- Influx of untrustworthy sellers
- Slightly higher prices charged by some sellers
So, is Localbitcoins safe for bitcoin buying and selling? Without a doubt it is. It is one I recommend for both the novice and experienced Bitcoin enthusiast like me.
Summing It Up
Localbitcoins has also cultivated a good standing in the community and should be a go to site for anyone who wants to trade bitcoin. The site’s dedication to bitcoin is also a plus as sellers and buyers know what they are dealing in.
Thank you for reading, stick around for more interesting helpful content!