LocalBitcoins, a leading peer-to-peer (P2P) virtual currency exchange, has silently removed the option to physically trade crypto for cash. The discontinuation of the service was first noted by a Redditor who was shocked to find all his pending such trades deleted.
MidnightLighning, the Redditor, lamented:
“Whoa, did they announce this somewhere? I logged in and found my ‘in person’ sell offers were all deleted, and the ‘add new’ prompt now has no ‘local’ options, only ‘online’ ones. Kind of defeats the purpose of ‘local’ in the name…?”
Unfortunately, since the Helsinki-based exchange has not yet released a statement, speculations are running high that the physical trading of crypto for cash has been deactivated only for United States residents.
What about shifting from Bitcoin (BTC) to Ethereum (ETH)?
“The global war on cash and privacy continues. LocalBitcoins suddenly removed all cash-in-person offers today, without any warning to its users. In response, we’ve reduced the trading fee on cash-in-person exchanges to 0%. From today until 1st, you can buy or sell ETH with cash using LocalEthereum for free.”
LocalEthereum added that the physical trading of crypto for cash is one of the oldest ways to interface crypto and fiat. However, although it is considered safe, trading activities must be conducted in public places with security cameras just in case anything goes wrong.
Asia is leading the way on LocalBitcoins
Recently, LocalBitcoins has been recording increased usage in Asia. For example, in Feb this year, the IDR (Indonesian rupiah) was among the fiat currencies used on the platform to trade against Bitcoin. The rise saw 4.5 billion IDR in Bitcoins traded on the platform. Additionally, in the same month, the usage of the South Korean Won on the exchange recorded a spike which saw approximately 132 million KRW exchanging hands on the platform.
The spike in the usage of KRW on LocalBitcons increased from trading 15 Bitcoins to 34 Bitcoins, indicating a 125 percent rise.
But, it’s not all rosy
Unfortunately, the relationship between LocalBitcoins and Asia has not been all rosy. The exchange has even terminated its services in some Asian countries.
For example, LocalBitcoins has terminated its services in Iran, which is located in Western Asia. The termination of services came after a period of rising usage of the platform by Iranians.
Although there was no straight reason as to why the exchange cut off Iran from its list of supported countries, the economic sanctions imposed on the country by the United States were seen as the most likely cause. On social media, LocalBitcoins posted that its services have been terminated in Iran due to “risk-based reasons.”
On its Iranian website, LocalBitcoins wrote:
“Unfortunately LocalBitcoins is currently not available in your selected region. Please look for other locations or come back later.”
By the look of things, those using the platform to physically trade cryptos for cash may also need to come back later.