- LocalBitcoins has suddenly removed the option allowing users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies in person for cash
- The platform has not yet made any official announcement
- LocalEthereum has waived transaction fees in response to the move by LocalBitcoins
Popular peer-to-peer exchange and escrow service LocalBitcoins has reportedly removed the trade Bitcoins for cash option for its users. It’s not yet clear whether the removal is temporary or permanent since the firm hasn’t yet made any official announcement.
Cash option removed without warning
The move by the Helsinki-based peer-to-peer exchange was first discovered and reported on Sunday, June 2 by a Reddit user u/GrayLifes, who pointed out that the option was no longer available on the platform. Before the removal, users of LocalBitcoins could select “In-person: Cash” as an option to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in cash. Some comments on the post seem to suggest that the restriction is based on users’ location.
The Finnish Bitcoin trading platform has remained silent over the revelation that the cash trading platform went silent this weekend, angering users and social media commentators. However, the move seems to follow an announcement last February by the firm’s management that it was going to fully comply with the European Union’s (EU) slow process of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) directive. One angry Reddit user commented:
“It’s time to no longer recommend LocalBitcoins, EVER.”
EU AML/KYC Rules
LocalBitcoins stopped anonymous trading in April 2018 and demanded that high volume account holders fully identify themselves before they could conduct business. Last week the company sanctioned Iranian users on what pundits believe was because of the EU AML/KYC rules.
There are several platforms that offer P2P which still offer an in-person cash option, The decision by LocalBitcoins to remove the cash-for-crypto option has become a blessing for rival companies with another company, LocalEthereum, which caters to Ether (ETH) traders announcing it was removing cash transaction fees in response to the move by LocalBitcoins. A company blog post stated:
“The global war on cash and privacy continues. LocalBitcoins suddenly removed all cash-in-person offers today, without any warning to its users […] meeting in person is one of the oldest ways to exchange between crypto and fiat, and it remains one of the safest. As long as you follow simple guidelines, it’s incredibly rare for anything to go wrong.”
Community disappointed with LocalBitcoins
Following the thread of comments on Reddit, you can tell that people are disappointed that LocalBitcoins never bothered to make an announcement regarding their move with one user saying they only logged on to find their “in person” sell offers deleted; most of them are now looking for the alternative.