LocalBitcoins is a Finland-based peer-to-peer trading platform that enables users to purchase Bitcoin in a decentralized manner. LocalBitcoins provides an escrow service, enabling users to securely purchase Bitcoins from one another rather than relying on a central platform. However, with the platform offering no alternative cryptocurrencies, it's only suitable for devoted Bitcoin investors.
How does LocalBitcoins stack up against other Peer-to-Peer exchanges? In this LocalBitcoins review, we'll be taking a deep dive into the platform, exploring its fees, features, usability, and every other important aspect of the platform.
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Our LocalBitcoins Review - Quick Verdict
LocalBitcoins is a solid P2P cryptocurrency exchange that aims to facilitate the decentralized trade of Bitcoin. Buyers and sellers on the site can create or search for advertisements matching their desired payment method and quantity of Bitcoin.
For users looking to stock up on BTC without using a centralized exchange, LocalBitcoins is an excellent choice. While the platform is intuitive and offers many payment methods, being solely Bitcoin-focused will limit its appeal. A more rounded platform will better serve investors looking to buy altcoins or actively trade.
- Low Fees
- Buy/Sell BTC in a Decentralized Manner
- Massive Variety of Payment Methods
- Only Bitcoin is Easily Available
- Poor Customer Support
- Low fees. Getting the most for your money is always important. The low fees offered by LocalBitcoins make it possible to stock up on BTC for the best price possible. Furthermore, vendors sometimes set their prices below market value, making it possible to snag a deal.
- Buy and sell Bitcoin in a decentralized manner. Reliance on centralized platforms goes directly against the crypto ethos. However, being a P2P platform, LocalBitcoins enables people to buy BTC without third-party profiteering, something likely to appeal to die-hard believers of Bitcoin’s core philosophy.
- Variety of payment options to choose from. Oftentimes, platforms enabling people to buy Bitcoin can be limited in terms of available deposit methods. However, LocalBitcoins allows users to buy and sell with over 80 fiat currencies. Furthermore, the platform supports e-wallets, bank transfers, and money transfers, making it accessible to almost everyone.
- Only Bitcoin is easily available. One significant downside to LocalBitcoins we observed is the ability to buy Bitcoin and the difficulty of altcoins. While it’s technically possible to sell BTC for altcoins, there has to be a user looking to buy BTC using the same asset, making it rather unreliable.
- Poor Customer Support. While the LocalBitcoins customer support isn’t inherently bad, an average wait time of 1-3 days leaves a lot to be desired when a trade can only run for an hour. Furthermore, the lack of live chat, email, or phone support forces people to use the dated ticketing system. Not great for such a large platform.
LocalBitcoins At A Glance
|Features||Escrow Service, Bitcoin Wallet, Educational Material, Peer-to-Peer|
|Accepted Fiat Currencies||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD and 75+ Others|
|Payment Methods||e-Wallet, Bank Transfer, Crypto, Cash Deposit, Credit/Debit Card|
|Supported Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin (BTC)|
|Number of Trading Pairs||1|
|Trading Fees||N/A (1% if an advertisement is created)|
|Customer Support||Ticket System|
|Security Measures||2FA, Reputation System|
|Mobile App||Yes (Android and iOS)|
Overview of LocalBitcoins
Founded in June 2012, LocalBitcoins is nearly as old as the asset it was created to sell on its marketplace. The exchange was developed to convert fiat to crypto and has grown to serve more than 8 million users in over 190 countries worldwide, making it one of the market's largest and best-known P2P exchanges for Bitcoin.
As LocalBitcoins aims to provide all users with unfettered access to Bitcoin, it is not a regulated exchange. However, to ensure it meets local Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements, the LocalBitcoins platform has made it mandatory for new users to verify their identities.
Review of the Top Features on LocalBitcoins
To ensure that our LocalBitcoins review is as comprehensive as possible, we’ve highlighted three of the Bitcoin exchange’s top features below.
LocalBitcoins Escrow Service
As we touched on earlier, LocalBitcoins is a P2P Bitcoin exchange. As such, users buying or selling Bitcoins must utilize the LocalBitcoins escrow service to ensure safety when transacting.
Helping to keep LocalBitcoins users safe, funds are held in an escrow account until both parties have completed their transaction. Once both the buyer and seller have sent their funds, LocalBitcoins complete the respective transactions, releasing the funds to both parties simultaneously.
By utilizing escrow, LocalBitcoins has been able to limit the prevalence of scams on the platform, improving security and boosting consumer trust. Providing a form of escrow is commonplace on P2P platforms like LocalBitcoins or Paxful exchange and offers a huge boost to safety.
Those wanting to buy or sell Bitcoin will need a cryptocurrency wallet. LocalBitcoins aims to ensure every user transacts Bitcoin on its platform securely. As such, anyone with an exchange account is granted access to a free LocalBitcoins wallet, enabling them to send and receive Bitcoin without a third-party solution. The in-built cryptocurrency wallet comes with a single address that updates yearly. This means users can see their past addresses and every transaction linked to their accounts.
While there are no transaction fees for using the wallet, there is a minimum deposit of 0.0001 BTC. While this small fee is unlikely to cause issues for most users, it’s worth considering if attempting to buy a smaller amount of BTC.
Getting used to a new platform can be a difficult and time-consuming process. However, LocalBitcoins has created a series of guides (available in both video and text format) that explain the basics of the platform. These videos cover crucial topics like account security, buying Bitcoin, and understanding price equations.
Resources designed to get users off to the correct start are typical of most prominent Bitcoin exchanges. However, while LocalBitcoins provides some information, it’s fairly lackluster compared with other industry players such as Binance and ByBit which have extensive educational material. Nevertheless, it’ll likely be helpful to beginners looking to make their first purchase on the platform.
LocalBitcoins Compared & Alternatives
Account Creation & ID Verification
Creating a LocalBitcoins account is a simple process, hindered only by a forced verification process. First, users are required to enter and confirm an email address and password. After doing so, the verification process will begin. Next, anyone wishing to use LocalBitcoins must provide a phone number, state their occupation, and enter the activities they plan on engaging in.
To finish the verification, the user must provide a photo ID (passport, driving license) via a mobile device and take a selfie confirming their identity. After doing so, the user will gain an annual trading limit of €20,000, increasable to €200,000, by providing additional income information.
Accepted Fiat Currencies and Payment Methods
Perhaps the most alluring aspect of LocalBitcoins is its huge selection of payment methods. More than 80 fiat currencies are supported, including major currencies like USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, and AUD. The platform’s host of payment methods is equally as impressive as its long list of supported fiat currencies. It’s possible to buy Bitcoin via bank transfer, e-wallet (PayPal balance, Skrill, etc.), cash, MoneyGram/Western Union, or cryptocurrency (Chainlink, Dogecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc.).
Although LocalBitcoins supports many fiat currencies and payment methods, as it’s a P2P exchange, certain methods will likely suffer from low liquidity due to limited demand. As vendors decide on their own payment methods, and trade limits, it’s important to consider how much BTC is required before transacting. This is also a double-edged sword as it can be difficult to find a potential buyer or seller with the preferred payment method and amount.
Supported Cryptocurrencies & Trading Pairs
As the name implies, LocalBitcoins specializes in providing a single cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. However, we’re seeing an increasing number of P2P platforms move in this direction, with Paxful announcing that it would stop supporting Ethereum.
While Paxful users are only able to purchase Bitcoin, they can pay for the asset using a variety of different cryptocurrencies. As a result, users can technically buy and sell 16 cryptocurrencies. However, people wanting to acquire altcoins must create advertisements selling Bitcoin and hope someone wants to pay with a particular asset.
Although it’s technically possible to acquire more than just BTC on LocalBitcoins, the process is convoluted and needlessly complex. As such, while appealing to those looking to buy or sell Bitcoin, investors aiming to acquire altcoins will be able to do so more efficiently on an altcoin exchange. Here's our list of the best altcoin exchanges to consider.
LocalBitcoins boasts a competitive and simple fee structure. While it’s common to see trading fees range from 0.1% to 3.99%, users of LocalBitcoins can transact for free; charges only occur when creating offers, technically making LocalBitcoins a zero-fee crypto exchange in the market.
Withdrawal and Deposit Fees
Withdrawing and depositing BTC on LocalBitcoins incurs no additional charges; users only have to cover the network transaction fee. As a result, LocalBitcoins is an attractive platform for those looking to buy BTC routinely before sending it to an external wallet.
Buyer and Seller Fees
As previously mentioned, buyers and sellers can technically transact for free with LocalBitcoins. However, buyers and sellers wanting to create their own offers will be subject to trading fees equivalent to 1% of the total transaction.
LocalBitcoins Fees Compared
When compared with other popular exchanges, LocalBitcoins becomes an attractive prospect. While the platform is quite limited for those looking to purchase altcoins, investors wishing to stock up on BTC can do for little cost. Below, we’ve created an easy-reference table showing how LocalBitcoins compares to other high-profile platforms.
|Platform Name||Trading Fees||Withdrawal/Deposit Fees (BTC)|
|LocalBitcoins||0% (1% for creating an offer)||Network Fees (0.00025059 BTC)|
|Binance||0% to 0.1%||Network Fees (0.0002 BTC)|
|Coinbase||0.4% Maker, 0.6% Taker||Network Fees (0.00001667 BTC)|
|Crypto.com Exchange||0.075% Maker and Taker||Network Fees (0.00050000 BTC|
LocalBitcoins Ease of Use
LocalBitcoins is touted as being suitable for both beginners and more experienced traders. As a result, the platform has been designed with ease of use in mind. While the LocalBitcoins interface is relatively simple, critical information is easily viable, with important buttons or menus highlighted in a blue accent.
Searching through offers to find the right vendor is simple with the available filters. As vendors set trade limits, users can search for offers by amount, currency, location, and payment method.
The trading process is also straightforward. Users can read through the vendor’s terms and then send a trade request. Once the vendor responds (usually instant if they’re online), the trade can commence. The buyer/seller sends their BTC to LocalBitcoins’s escrow service then the funds get released after payment is confirmed.
LocalBitcoins is incredibly intuitive compared to order book-based platforms. While LocalBitcoins will take a bit of getting used to for those familiar with platforms like Binance, it’s easy to get to grips with, making LocalBitcoins a solid choice for both beginners and advanced investors.
LocalBitcoins Customer Support
While most LocalBitcoins customers seem content with the service provided and left glowing remarks about the exchange, those with issues noted the lack of customer support options. The only way to get customized support is via a ticket-based system with a reported average wait time of 1-3 days.
Additionally, users can speak directly with whom the vendor's transacting. This can be useful for getting quick assistance or dealing with complex transactional issues. With that said, as LocalBitcoins is a global platform, language barriers can exist when speaking directly with vendors.
Facilitating secure trading is a crucial aspect of any financial platform. Being a P2P exchange, LocalBitcoins is less lucrative of a target than large centralized exchanges like KuCoin. However, bad actors have still targeted LocalBitcoins user accounts in the past. The platform relies heavily on a reputation system to keep LocalBitcoins safe for users purchasing Bitcoins. After a seller confirms payment and the trade completes, both parties can leave positive or negative feedback.
Other users can view reviews, a seller’s transaction history, and a seller’s username. This makes it easy to filter trustworthy sellers or to find a more reputable seller if needed. Additionally, customer accounts can utilize two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an additional layer of security.
LocalBitcoins Mobile App
The LocalBitcoins mobile app is available on IOS as well as Android and allows buyers and sellers to transact while on the move. Although the app was plagued with negative reviews, most were dated, and while creating our LocalBitcoins review, we noticed no issues impacting its functionality.
Like the LocalBitcoins website, users can search through offers using various filters. Furthermore, it’s possible to view open/closed trades and ads from a central dashboard, making it easy to keep track of trading activity.
The process of trading on the LocalBitcoins app is also straightforward. Find a relevant offer, send a trade request, complete the payment, and select the ‘I have Paid’ button. Afterward, the seller will release the funds.
LocalBitcoins Review - Final Verdict and Score
Those looking to buy or even sell Bitcoin in a peer-to-peer manner will be well-served by LocalBitcoins. The exchange offers low fees and strong security, making it worthy of consideration for any Bitcoin-focused investor. However, while LocalBitcoins is a strong exchange for those investing in Bitcoin, its lack of support for altcoins, DeFi tokens, meme coins, and the like means that investors looking for diversity in their portfolios will need to look elsewhere.
While writing our LocalBitcoins review, we carefully analyzed the most important aspects of the platform, awarding each with a score. Below, we’ve summarized our review findings.
|Review Criteria||HWC Score|
|Supported Fiat and Deposit Methods||5/5|
|Supported Crypto & Trading Pairs||3/5|
|Ease of Use||4/5|
Frequently Asked Questions
While LocalBitcoins is generally considered safe, bad actors are present on the platform. The best option to avoid scammers is to trade with reputable users with a long track record of fulfilling trades.
No, in contrast to what some people believe, LocalBitcoins is not anonymous. While the platform has previously enabled people to trade anonymously, LocalBitcoins has since discontinued support for payment methods such as cash in person, making it much harder for transactions to fly under the radar.
Even though LocalBitcoins is a P2P platform, an ID is required to create an account. Furthermore, if a user wants to trade more than $20,000 worth of Bitcoin in a year, they will need to provide additional information related to income.
Those residing in the USA can freely use LocalBitcoins. However, there are likely to be minor restrictions based on local regulations.