LocalBitcoins is a P2P (peer to peer) Bitcoin exchange that enables people to the buying and selling of Bitcoins all over the world including India. It enables people to communicate directly with each other and trade Bitcoins with Indian Rupee (INR) because it supports INR payments via direct bank deposits, IMPS transfers, Bhim UPI, and all major payment apps like Paytm, Google pay, etc.
Crypto Adoption in India
In most of the developing nations including India, the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are at the initial stage of adoption. At present, the total number of crypto users is nearly 5 million which is only 0.4% of India’s 1.35 billion population. This number; is going to surge rapidly, especially due to the removal of the banking ban by the Supreme Court of India. A lot more positive is inevitable in terms of blockchain and crypto startups.
All the digital currency exchanges that once halted services are now operational but most of them still lack volume. Now as a beginner you may found it chaotic to choose one and make your move. Don’t worry, there are still some good platforms that are worth your efforts. In this post, I will cover one of them i.e LocalBitcoins.
1. What is LocalBitcoins?
LocalBitcoins is a Finland based P2P Bitcoin exchange that enables users all over the world to buy/sell Bitcoins locally and by using fiat money. It was founded in 2012 and since then it has grown exponentially to become one of the largest P2P (peer to peer) marketplace which is available in 200+ countries and 16000+ cities across the world.
It provides a great fiat to crypto ramp-up in countries with lesser banking support to crypto exchanges or where cryoto exchanges lack fiat buying options.
2. Is LocalBitcoins legit and safe to use in India?
Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin are not entitled as a medium of payment nor legal tender by any central authority in India. But the above statement doesn’t imply that Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies are illegal or banned in India. There isn’t any official circular or statement from the central government that states cryptocurrencies illegal.
Similarly the RBI’s 2018 circular that banned banking institutions from providing services to crypto cryptocurrency exchanges was largely misinterpreted due to lack of awareness. It only banned banking institution services to crypto businesses & not cryptocurrencies. The recent Supreme Court verdict has also cleared the misconception that cryptocurrencies are illegal and allowed crypto exchanges to operate as usual.
Now coming to crypto exchanges, it’s quite clear that most of the Indian crypto exchanges are operating as legally registered and law-abiding entities. Yet, LocalBitcoins isn’t an Indian exchange rather a Finland based P2P Bitcoin exchange, and thus it’s not registered in India.
However, similar to Indian crypto exchanges, LocalBitcoins is also a legally operating exchange registered with the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority and the trade register of Finland, under business – ID 2855415-2.
Is LocalBitcoins safe to use?
LocalBitcoins was founded in 2012 in Finland and continuously serving the crypto community around the world. LocalBitcoins is a genuine platform to trade Bitcoins but you have to be more cautious while making your trades. As a P2P platform, it allows you to communicate and trade directly with another person. Every single time you make a trade on LocalBitcoins, you have to deal with a stranger and that’s the situation where you need to play safe.
Although LocalBitcoins has several safety measures in place to distinguish between genuine members and scammers. Yet it’s still your responsibility to choose a genuine buyer or seller by checking the feedback score and detailed feedback profile of the concerned buyer or seller. Don’t worry, we will discover more in detail in the next steps.
Below are some safety measures adopted by LocalBitcoins in order to ramp-up exchange security.
1). Wallet safety: LocalBitcoins clearly states that it stores only a small amount of Bitcoins in hot wallets.
2). 2FA and Login guard: It allows users to enable 2FA or two-factor authentication which is an added layer of security. Its login guard scans your browser every time you log in to your account. If login takes place from a different browser, it will immediately ask for email verification.
3). Escrow and Conflict resolution: When you place a sell advert, LocalBitcoins locks the requested Bitcoins in escrow. It will release the amount only if you confirm to do so. However, if a conflict arises from either side, the conflict resolution team will be there to take the charge and help both sides to sort out the matter. Escrow will be released only after resolving the issue.
4). User Feedback and Reputation: LocalBitcoins follows a unique approach to strengthen the overall safety and security of the P2P ecosystem. It encourages all its members to give feedback about opponent buyers or sellers, after a successful trade. LocalBitcoins use this feedback to rank or rate the traders and these ratings or feedback score determines which user will be listed on top or at the bottom.
Hence, you are requested to always rate and submit your feedback about the respective trader you have dealt with. It is a fair practice that makes the P2P ecosystem safer and secure.
3. How to start using LocalBitcoins?
LocalBitcoins has a simple and easy to use website interface. Most of the required information is available on the homepage and you don’t need to navigate to search it.
Signup & Login;
Getting started with LocalBitcoins is quite simple. In order to start with LocalBitcoins, you have to register an account. Just enter your email, set a strong password, mention if it’s a company, and click register. You will get a confirmation email, click the given link in the email and verify your account. Now you can log in to your account by entering the login details.
After getting logged in to your account, you can begin to search for Bitcoins buyers/sellers in a locality of your choice. But before starting with your trades, you have to complete the KYC by uploading the required identification documents like driving license, Passport, or other government-approved ID. For completing your KYC verification, please follow the below-given steps.
Click on profile and then click Settings. It will open the verification page.
Now, you can complete the verification process by filling the required details.
LocalBitcoins allowed users to trade anonymously from the beginning of its services and doesn’t require KYC data. But after mid-2018, it has to comply with certain regulations and changed terms of service and made KYC mandatory for all users.
4. How to find traders in the Indian market place?
LocalBitcoins is a peer to peer exchange where people from all over the world can exchange their local currencies to Bitcoins. It provides an easy to operate interface and enable users to make a variety of choice in terms of location, local currency and payment methods.
Now you have an active verified account ready to make trades. Yet searching for traders is never a big deal, selecting the right trader can be. LocalBitcoins enables you to search and select a trader that meets your expectations.
Let me show you how it works ;
1). Log in to your LocalBitcoins account and visit the homepage. Always double-check the URL you are visiting.
2). Click on ‘Quick Buy‘ and enter the amount of Bitcoins that you want to purchase.
3). In the next step, you have to filter out your native currency i.e INR, select India as country and payment option of your choice.
4). Click on the ‘Search‘ tab and below you will get a list of sellers along with their feedback score, the number of successful trades, and respective payment methods.
5). Click on a ‘Seller’s username‘, of your choice and you can access detailed information of that account including trade volume, trades with different partners, email, phone, ID verification details, and trust score.
6). Beside these details you can also ask for any additional information from the seller.
Similarly you can apply the same filters on sell side too and make succesfull trades as a seller.
5. Do’s and Don’ts, while selecting a seller
LocalBitcoins has a fair user feedback mechanism that improves the reputation of genuine users and helps its members to distinguish between genuine and fraud users. As a buyer on LocalBitcoins, before concluding a trade you need to assess and verify certain details of the respective seller to avoid getting scammed. Below is a list of dos and don’ts that will help you to avoid bad sellers(scammers) and close the deal safely.
1). Always look for a seller who has a feedback score of 98% or above.
2). Checkout the detailed profile and verify that the seller’s account must be older than a year.
3). Has traded more than 50 BTC and completed successfully more than 100 trades.
4). Check whether the shortlisted seller has a verified email, phone number.
5). Seller must be trusted by 20 or more people.
6). Always communicate to seller via LocalBitcoins message box.
7). Concise all your requirements and discuss them with the seller in advance. If everything is fine, you can start the trade.
1). Never choose a seller merely on the basis of low selling price.
2). Always stick to the platform and never make trades with vendors externally.
3). Never disclose more information than required.
4). Avoid sending payment info via third party apps.
As a buyer, if you stick to the given rules, you will be more than able to finish your trade easily and safely.
However, the above-stated safety measures are mostly buyer-centric. You need to be careful as a seller too because a buyer can be a scammer.
In addition to the given measures, as a seller, you are advised that you should never confirm the release of Bitcoins from exchange escrow before receiving funds in your bank account or any other account. Double-check your account and then confirm the release of Bitcoins.
6. LocalBitcoins Payment methods
LocalBitcoins supports a variety of payment methods. These are;
IMPS Bank transfer
BHIM UPI and more….
You can also pay in Altcoins
7. LocalBitcoins fees
Registering an account with LocalBitcoins is completely free. Users who create advertisements are charged a 1% fee for every completed trade. Usually it’s maker who has to pay fees.
Transactions from one LocalBitcoins account to other accounts are free. However, a network transaction fee is applicable for all transactions to other Bitcoin wallets which depends upon network congestion.
8. Customer support
LocalBitcoins customer support is quite supportive and can be reached via email only. Because of its large user base, support team is usually slow to respond. Most of the time the support team replies within 3 days, but sometimes (during Bitcoin peak trading times) it takes up to 5 days which is a quite delayed response.
It also offers online forums where you can request help from other users.
9. LocalBitcoins Pros and Cons
1). Enables you to buy Bitcoin with INR.
2). A variety of payment methods to choose from.
3). Fast transactions.
4). Reasonable fees.
1). Exchange rates are quite high.
2). Complicated for beginners.
3). Possibility of scams.
LocalBitcoins is one of the oldest and well-established P2P (peer-to-peer) Bitcoin trading platform that facilitates buying and selling of Bitcoins with fiat money all around the world. It supports a variety of payment methods and enables the user to buy Bitcoins without any boundation, or limits. However, limits can be subjected to the levels of user verification.
Above all LocalBitcoins is a great alternate for buying-selling Bitcoins with fiat currency, especially in countries where other cryptocurrency exchanges lack fiat gateways. It offers an ample variety of fiat payment options to make the process easy and effortless. Make sure to follow our exclusive list of Dos and Don’ts, and use LocalBitcoins easily and more confidently.