Unlike the other top 5 crypto markets we reviewed, Localbitcoins provides an option to not only buy cryptocurrencies but to sell them to other people as well. Basically, is it a portal for people with similar interests to gather at a single place and exchange whatever they want. The site has options to post advertisements and makes it available for you to communicate with other potential buyers or sellers. In other words, this is a gateway into the vast world of Bitcoin trading. If you are new to the BTC market, this is definitely a nice place to start from.
Localbitcoins is already working in almost every country in the world and has a number of subscribers big enough to compete with some of the other big dogs of this niche, such as Binance, Coinmama, eToro, and others.
In this review we will see what the strong points of this market are as well as its downsides and see why it stands out from the countless other online bitcoin exchanges.
If you want to check out our full Guide on cryptocurrency markets click here. Now let’s dive into the characteristics of our last on the list best crypto market contender.
Features That Make Localbitcoins Stand Out
To sign up for this marketplace you need to go to the signup page and start registering your account. You will initially be asked for an email, username, and a password. Once that is done you will receive a verification email which you will have to confirm. Then you will be able to start searching for bitcoin sellers of buyers in your area or from all around the globe.
You can sort the sellers or buyers you find by their accepted methods of payment, by their location, or even the verification requirements that they will want from you to finalize the deal. You will also be able to check the reputation of a certain seller as well as his trading history. To initiate the deal you can communicate directly with the vendor. You can also start the trading process by pressing the “Buy” button on the right of each trading row from your list.
There are a few things you have to confirm before buying BTC:
- Your method of payment
- The amount of BTC you’d like
- In what form would you like to receive the bitcoin
- The form of document you will provide (if you have agreed upon this)
What Are The Available Payment Methods?
From all the online crypto markets we reviewed this one has the widest list of payment options. LocalBitcoins accept Cash on delivery, paypal (which is great), cash via email, webmoney transfers, western union transfers, and even wire transfers.
- Safety Measurements
There are features which make this whole process a lot more safer such as the Escrow service which will hold the money until the exchange has been confirmed to be successful. As we mentioned, each vendor has a reputation rating which can indicate issues with him in the past. Sellers who had their deals fail due to many reasons usually have a very low rating and it is better to avoid them at first until you learn how to differentiate between an unfair low rating and a downright scammer.
If you happen to experience some issues there is a conflict resolution service which is present through the customer support portal. The team responsible for conflict resolution does a thorough investigation of each case and try to resolve every manner in the best possible way for both sides.
Speaking of customer support, there is an email support option here and the team behind it is just great. The answers you get are detailed and the response times are minimal. Overall, a great customer experience proven by the numerous positive comments on social media and crypto forums. LocalBitcoins actually have a forum of their own there more experienced users give daily tips and where people discuss various crypto-related topics.
Last but not least on the safety measurements list is the two-factor auth process which gives you an extra PIN code to enter every time you log in. This gives you a much needed layer of protection against phishing hackers. Unless your phone is stolen there is virtually no way for a hacker to get inside your account without the pin.
All that leads us to a final and very important question:
How Safe Is LocalBitcoins After All?
Apart from the safety measures on individual level, as a decentralized crypto market, LocalBitcoins needs to have all the necessary security protocols at place. The overall reputation of the site is that it’s safe and there have been few news about any hacker-related issues. Still, the human factor means that no matter how safe this whole thing is, you can always draw the short straw and end up with a malicious vendor who tries to scam you. Even so, this will most likely be resolved and ruled in your favor and your funds will be back where they belong but that doesn’t mean it cannot happen. This is why you must always check the seller’s reputation and make sure their accounts aren’t brand new. Furthermore, look for sellers that have over 100 trades and make sure they have their information (such as company name, email, number) publicly displayed.
Pro Tip: Avoid external exchanges, as then the whole responsibility of the trade-off will be on your shoulders and the LocalBitcoins resolution team won’t be able to intervene or help you in case something bad happens. Stick to communicating and trading through the LB platform.
So, in terms of safety LocalBitcoins is a safe environment and is suitable for beginners but you should always be on alert when doing stuff online, especially when money is involved.
Now, let’s briefly talk about the fees which you will be placed on your transactions.
Just like Binance, the fees here are super low and are usually around 1% and are taken from the seller (not the buyer). Still, prices on this market will be higher than the world’s average on that day mainly due to the fact that people are involved and people will always look to make more profit than they would selling it on a normal exchange rate. Vendors here keep their prices higher due to another reason too – customers using PayPal may initiate a chargeback which on its own is a risk for the vendor, as well as the fact that the buyer gets no fee taken from him.
If you want to start selling bitcoins our advice would be to place your price a little lower than the day’s average and get a few good deals. That way your reputation will grow and your resume will feature only smooth sailing deals. After that you will look better on paper and will be able to list a higher price, equal to the other old dogs on the market.
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Now it is time to check some of the most important pros and cons of this online Bitcoin exchange site.
- Easy to make an account and start trading
- No verification is required at start
- Tons of payment options accepted
- You can negotiate prices, verification documents, and payment methods with each vendor individually
- There is a low 1% fee and is paid by the seller
- Sellers have detailed information about them which makes filtering the bad ones easier
- You can have sellers from your town filtered and deal with them externally (not recommended but possible)
- Support staff is easy to talk to and very responsive
- There is a dedicated forum with pro users giving tips and advice
- Very secure
- Prices are a little higher than the day’s average for bitcoins
- Cannot trade with other currencies (for now)
LocalBitcoins presents a very original idea executed in the best possible manner with all safety precautions around it. It is easy to navigate through and the social aspect of it is just amazing. Being able to skim through a ton of sellers in an instance and filter the ones closer to you, the ones with a great reputation, or the more experienced ones with more than a hundred done deals is a great tool to have for any beginner who wants to place his money on a safe spot. Overall, it is a nice experience even though you won’t be able to trade other kinds of cryptocurrencies (LB are promising this as a feature soon) and the support staff is always behind your back in case something happens. We gave LocalBitcoins a solid score of four and a half out of five stars.