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LocalBitcoins Review:
Is it The Real Deal Or Another Fad?

LocalBitcoins Review

Want to buy Bitcoin anywhere in the world 100% anonymously? is the fastest and easiest way to get your hands on BTC quickly without verification.

But trading here is not like other exchanges (see them on If you aren’t careful, you can be scammed. Not many reviews cover the platform fairly and explain to users how to trade safely. That’s why we created this LocalBitcoins review updated for 2018.

What is LocalBit ​​​​coins?

dollar bill under a bitcoin

LocalBitcoins was founded in 2012 in Finland by Jeremias Kangas. Unlike traditional brokers, it is a peer-to-peer network (P2P) that enables buyers and sellers to trade with each other on their own terms either in person or online. Since the exchange isn’t involved, the process is lean and transfers are fast. You can even meet in person to exchange BTC if you want. The community aspect and direct trading is why it’s known as the “CraigsList of Bitcoin”.

With a traditional broker, you buy crypto directly from the broker at the market rate and pay a fee. But since LocalBitcoins is a decentralized P2P network, you don’t buy from the exchange. Instead, sellers set their own prices and you deal directly with the other person.

How it Works

A seller posts an “ad” for their BTC and sets trade terms such as price and payment methods (we cover the SAFE payment methods below). When both parties agree on terms the exchange acts as “escrow”. The site hold the seller’s BTC and releases them once the seller verifies that they have received payment. In the event of any dispute, the site employs moderators to make decisions. However, there are certain situations where the site CANNOT HELP YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK. We’ll cover that in the security section.

Payment Options 

wireless payment through mobile

One thing we like the most about the exchange is how many payment options there are. Instead of being limited to a credit card or cryptocurrency, you can buy BTC with anything. It’s truly a old-school barter system. For example, you can meet with the seller in person and trade a gift card for some Bitcoin or pay in cash. Whatever the seller is willing to accept.

The most common payment options are:

  • ​PayPal (not recommended) **
  • ​Bank Wire
  • ​Venmo
  • ​Gift Cards
  • ​Western Union
  • ​Moneygram
  • ​Credit/Debit Card (not recommended) **

​​​​​​​Cash is obviously king, though. If you can meet in the local area (a neutral public place) and pay cash, then that’s best for both parties.

** LocalBitcoins PayPal Issues **

PayPal is definitely not recommended. It is the source of almost all scam allegations. Any payment method that is easily reversible by the buyer is HIGH-RISK. The Bitcoin transfer is permanent, so they will have their coins but can reverse the payment and get their money back. Same goes with credit cards. The fees for using them are usually higher as well, so you are better off using a different method.

How Pricing Works: You may notice that prices are different on LocalBitcoins than elsewhere. Prices even vary from seller to seller. That’s because you are doing business directly with the seller, and not with an exchange. The seller factors their seller rating (how trustworthy they are) and the payment method into their price. Depending on which country you live in, different payment methods will have different costs.

Is LocalBitcoins Safe?

LocalBitcoins is one of the most polarizing exchanges on the market. Some users love it for the anonymity and fast, flexible trades. Others hate it for the risk involved. It’s important to learn how to not get scammed BEFORE you start trading.

The good news is that it is a mostly safe platform. There are just a few risky trading methods. Hundreds of trades happen every day without issue, most of them quickly and easily. If you know what you’re doing, the risk is low.

secured transaction online

The site doesn’t buy or sell any coins, but it helps users stay secure via:

  • ​User Metrics
  • ​Escrow
  • ​2FA
  • ​Great Support

​​​​You are 100% protected by escrow and, if you pay attention to user feedback (their rating and reviews), you should be totally fine. So the answer to the question “is LocalBitcoins safe” is YES.

Verdict: It’s safe. There is no scam. The only issues are the users themselves.

LocalBitcoins Fees

As a buyer, there are NO FEES. Sellers are charged a 1% fee for every completed trade. The only LocalBitcoins fees for the buyer are the higher prices based on the payment method that we covered earlier.

Community Trust

online community supporting the platform

The exchange is one of the oldest names in the industry, and is an anonymous decentralized network that embraces the spirit of Bitcoin. Because of this, the community loves it.

The only issues with the exchange are that the prices are a bit high and there’s a bit of research on the user’s end when finding someone to trade with. In general, any issues that arise are from the users themselves and not the exchange.

How to Buy Your First Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins

1.) Sign Up Free

Go to and register. It’s free and easy.

buying in selling bitcoin

2) Enter Your Details

Only a username and email are necessary.

registration account page

3) Search for a Seller

Finding a seller is easy with the search function. You can filter based on payment method, price, location, and verification requirements (the exchange requires no verification but some sellers might ask for it).

finding a cryptocurrency seller

4) Confirm the Details

Once you’ve found a seller, you’ll be taken to the transaction page where you can see all of the details of your trade. Confirm the details and you’ll be taken to escrow. Depending on your payment method, you can either go meet in person or get the trade started online.

LocalBitcoins Alternatives for Cheaper Prices

If the prices for BTC are too high, check out these alternatives.

1) Coinbase

Coinbase is perhaps the best LocalBitcoins alternative out there. It’s the largest broker in the world and offers fast, secure, and affordable purchases from Bitcoin with a debit card. You can also purchase ETH and Litecoin.

2) Coinmama

Coinmama is another broker that lets you buy Bitcoin with a card. It’s fast, secure, and easy to get verified, but the fees are a bit high. There is a 5.5% fee and a 5% credit card processing fee.

3) Wall of Coins

Prices might not be cheaper on Wall of Coins, but it might be a better alternative for beginners. Its unique SMS system walks you through your purchase. It’s only available in 12 countries, though.


Q: What are the buying/selling limits?
A: Each seller sets their own limits. You can buy as much as the seller is willing to sell.

Q: Why are some payment methods so expensive?
A: Each payment method has its own price. Some are riskier than others. The more risk the seller takes on, the higher their price. That’s why PayPal is such as expensive option.

Q: Can I buy Bitcoin from the USA?
A: Yes. LocalBitcoins is available in almost every country.

Q: What happens in case of a dispute?
A: You are protected by escrow in every trade. In the event of a dispute, each side submits evidence to a moderator that will make a ruling.

Q: Why are prices different than other exchanges?
A: There are no LocalBitcoins fees; however, prices may be higher. It’s because the seller sets their own prices, not a market price.

Verdict - Is LocalBitcoins a Good Exchange?

verdict on the btc exchange system

LocalBitcoins allows you to buy/sell BTC 100% anonymously and you can have your crypto in just a few minutes. It’s hard to argue with that. In our opinion, it’s a reputable, mostly secure, and convenient way to trade cryptocurrency almost anywhere in the world. You just need to be aware of scams and know how to stay safe. After reading our LocalBitcoins review, you should be good to go.




A bit risky


Higher prices


No limits

​​​​​​Verdict: LocalBitcoins is a good exchange.


  • ​Security - 3.9/5
  • ​Privacy - 4.9/5
  • ​Speed - 4.7/5
  • ​Coins - N/A
  • ​Reputation - 4.5/5