If you are based in Africa and want to buy Bitcoin (BTC), you can do so on LocalBitcoins.com because it is among the safest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. Given that you are an entrepreneur or remote worker in Africa and you normally get paid in bitcoin, you can easily convert your digital currency into your local currency on LocalBitcoins.com.
Users on this crypto platform can trade BTC with their local currencies via bank transfers, PayPal, mobile money transfers (e.g. MPesa in Kenya), gift cards, as well as cash in person.
Caution is always important when buying or selling cryptocurrency on peer-peer platforms. To increase security, LocalBitcoins rates all traders using a reputation scoring criteria. There is also a secure escrow system; therefore, if you are selling bitcoin on this platform, you do not release your digital currency from your escrow account until your buyer has successfully sent the payment.
In this article, we give you a detailed LocalBitcoins review to let you know more about this company's role in Africa, how to sign up, and the process of trading BTC.
Read on to know more.
What makes LocalBitcoins special and unique for African customers? Why should they choose this platform?
This company is among the most well-known P2P BTC exchange websites in the globe. It allows people from different parts of the world to safely buy and sell bitcoin. There are over one million registered users trading on this crypto platform.
As of 2018, the platform is available in every nation on the African continent where people are willing to trade the cryptocurrency. Moreover, this platform supports a wide variety of payment modes including the mobile money transfers like M-pesa from Kenya, making it a very popular exchange website for BTC entrepreneurs based in Africa. Vendors who have a high reputational score are more likely to have more successful trades on the website.
Interest in BTC is trending greatly among millennials in Africa. Cryptocurrencies have proven to be more stable than most fiats used in this continent. For example, some people from South Africa affected by economic and political turmoil have turned into trading BTC to elevate their living conditions. Populous countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Sudan continue to experience higher BTC adoption levels.
The following are reasons why Africans should trade on this platform:
- It is among the largest peer-to-peer exchange platforms in the world.
- There are 1,000,000+ registered users from 249 different nations; therefore trading on this platform gives Africans access to a worldwide marketplace.
- It offers a fast and easy way to buy and sell BTC.
- The escrow protection services ensure that trades are conducted safely.
- There is a reputation system in place for finding reputable and trustworthy traders.
- Multiple supported payment methods such as gift cards, cash in person, Western Union, PayPal, Perfect Money etc.
- API function allows users to automate trading
- Dynamic pricing system ensures the prices are always updated according to the current market rates.
Founder: Jeremias Kangas
Year of foundation: 2012
Headquarters: Helsinki, Finland
Product range: Peer-to-peer exchange, web wallet and LocalBitcoins ATM.Short company history: Jeremias Kangas formed this renowned crypto Company in 2012, and implemented an escrow system for it in that same year. The site started to generate revenue by the start of 2013. In April, the following year, the company made an announcement that it would start mass-production of low-cost BTC. Since then, the company offers services to people from different parts of the globe to trade local currency for Bitcoin. Registered users post adverts on the site, stating exchange rates and the required payment modes for buying and selling this form of digital currency.
Is LocalBitcoins trustworthy? Why?
LocalBitcoins is a person-to-person exchange where buyers and vendors of BTC agree on trade terms. This platform is among the most private ways to buy digital currencies. In some nations, it is the only way to access BTC. Users purchase bitcoins using a wide range of payment methods.
This company is actually one of the oldest BTC exchange platforms in the world and the biggest today. It is not a scam. Though the site is trustworthy, there are still malicious people on the site whose aim is to scam others; therefore users should always practice caution. It is best to trade with sellers and buyers who have received reliable LocalBitcoins reviews. Most issues experienced on this site arise from doing business with an inexperienced user or one with a bad reputation.
For added safety, the website has placed the following measures in place:
- 2-factor authentication system requires users to use an extra login PIN after inputting the main login information in their accounts. This system helps to prevent attack by hackers.
- IP address confirmation is mandatory. If the user relocates to another computer, browser, or different place, a verification process is done via email to confirm the user's identity.
- A Know-Your-User (KYC) system puts a clear identity on all the site's users. This helps to prevent scammers from accessing the site to steal BTC of authentic users.
- All exchanges are secured by escrow protection. Payments and bitcoins are held in the escrow until both the seller and buyer have completed their required tasks.
The customer support services offered by this company are very reliable too. You can access them at any time using twitter (www.twitter.com/LocalBitcoins), Facebook, Instagram (www.instagram.com/LocalBitcoins), email or support ticket. The social media channels guarantee the fastest services. Support tickets on the website might take as long as 10 days to get resolved.
Which cryptocurrencies are available?
Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that is currently traded on LocalBitcoins. However, users can make payments for BTC using other cryptocurrencies.
In which African countries is LocalBitcoins available?
This platform is available in the following African Countries as per December 2018:
Angola, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
How to open an account?
To open a free account, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Visit LocalBitcoins.com and click on the sign up button
- Fill in all the required details to register yourself
- Verify your email address by following the link sent to you by the site admin
- Once you have created your account, you now have a LocalBitcoins Wallet, which you will use for trading BTC and purchase products.
- To conduct a transaction you might have to update your profile details by filling in your real name, and validating your phone number.
You can also download the LocalBitcoins app and use it to create your account. Once your account has been opened, click on the LocalBitcoins login option on their site to start trading.
How to buy bitcoins?
To purchase BTC on this platform, these are the steps you should follow:
- Go to localbitcoins.com and create a free account (this is if you haven't created an account yet, otherwise go to LocalBitcoins login and skip to step 5).
- Once your account has been created, you will be required to verify your email address
- In addition to your email, you will also have to confirm your real name, identity, and phone number, before you start to trade.
- You will also have to heighten the security level of your online account by simply activating the 2-factor authentication setting.
- Select your country and the payment mode you want.
- Once you have completed the above steps, you will be able to view the available offers on the site.
- Look for the offer that meets your investment needs and click on it. You should choose a vendor who has a good reputation and performance stats.
- Send the payment to your chosen seller and wait for him/her to transfer the bitcoins to your LocalBitcoins wallet. You are rest assured that your funds will be safe, because they will be kept in the site's escrow until you have received your BTC. Having said this, you should always be cautious. Try as much as you can to trade with reputable traders only for maximum safety.
Which methods / money sources are available?
The following are the payment methods supported by this crypto platform:
- Bank transfer
- Cash in person
- Credit/debit cards
- Perfect Money
- Western Union
- Amazon gift card
- Square Cash
- Google Wallet among others.
How to sell bitcoins?
Follow this procedure to sell bitcoin on this platform:
- Go to LocalBitcoins login on the website or on the LocalBitcoins app to access your account.
- To sell on this platform, you will first have to create an online sell advert. When creating the ad, select a payment mode, set your price, limits, and write your trade terms.
- The next step is to deposit funds into your LocalBitcoins wallet with BTC. You need to fund your wallet so that potential buyers can open trade requests on your created advertisements.
- When a customer starts a trade with you, the required amount of BTC will be automatically taken from your web wallet and transferred to the escrow.
- You should guide the customer on the preferred payment method and process. You will get an email and text message notification when a potential buyer responds to your advert.
- Once the customer has made a payment and clicked on the "I have paid" box, you will get a notification through email, SMS, and on the website.
- After you have confirmed that the payment has reached your account, you need to release the bitcoins. The BTC will be transferred from the escrow to the customer's web wallet.
- Finally, you should leave feedback for your customer and encourage him or her to do the same for you. If you want to gain a good reputation score and make many trades, you need good feedback from your customers.
Fees charged on this platform are relatively low. Given that you are responding to an advertisement, you will not be charged any fee to purchase or sell BTC, whereas if you are the one posting an advertisement, you will be charged just 1 percent of the total amount of BTC traded.
As a seller on this platform, if you send bitcoins to your buyer, you will not be charged any fee if you send them to their LocalBitcoins wallet. On the other hand, if you send to a 3rd party wallet, you will incur a fee of 0.0001-0.0010 XBT.
Though the fees charged are low, the prices can go higher depending on the payment mode. Currently, there aren't any buying or selling limits on LocalBitcoins.com, users have the freedom to set their desired limits and prices.
The exchange rates are not set by LocalBitcoins, but rather by the individual traders on the platform. As a result of this fact, the BTC exchange rates will vary from seller to seller.
Are LocalBitcoins services suitable for poor and / or unbanked people?
Cryptocurrencies are considered the perfect solution for poor and/or unbanked people in 3rd world countries. Digital currencies can be beneficial in combating financial inequality and allow people without any access to banks to receive financial services.
Trading in crypto is the ideal way to take financial services to everybody regardless of where they live or their income status. In places where there is no access to reliable banks, digital currencies offer a great solution.
With a smart phone or laptop and good internet connection, anybody can begin to use BTC to send or receive money. This method is quick, cheap, and safer than mobile banking. Moreover, the technology is very flexible and barriers to entry are very minimal.
Blockchain technology can help unbanked people on the African continent by letting them create their individual financial alternatives in a transparent, effective and scalable manner. Banks are usually unable to serve the unbanked because many of them lack the required identifying information.
The cost of sending money to Africa from other continents via banks and wire transfer is usually a challenge for many people, because the transaction fees are at least in the range of 10%. Intra-African transfer of money is even more costly, it can be as high as 17%. On the other hand, trading bitcoin on cryptocurrency platforms does not cost much, just a few cents.
Blockchain technology and digital currencies are gaining great acceptance among the youth in Africa who desire to use it and come up with ways to innovate using this technology. A growing number of millennials are starting to understand the mechanism of this technology, and it is highly likely that in the near future, digital currency could be a great solution for the unbanked people living in the African continent.
Are LocalBitcoins services suitable for startups?
LocalBitcoins is suitable for anybody who wants to get started in digital currency and purchase their first BTC. Through this platform, anyone can purchase BTC using multiple payment methods like cash and gift cards. Anybody who wants to make a career out of trading in BTC can do so comfortably on this site because their services are suitable for startups.
Traders can convert BTC to their local currencies, sell BTC for cash, trade using an escrowed service and avoid banking systems. Startups can safely use this platform to conduct business as its volume charts continue to grow every passing day since its establishment in 2012. More and more people are adopting the use of digital currencies and blockchain technologies across the globe; therefore the market base is very stable.
Here is a video link explaining the use of LocalBitcoins in Africa: Bitcoin Adoption Continues to Thrive within Africa's Borders