Thursday, November 19, 2015

Security incident report 18th November

Yesterday on the 18th of November we had a security incident, the vulnerability has since been identified and has been patched.

In the late afternoon UTC a user opened up two trades with two different traders on our site, the buyer then managed to release both escrows to himself without the traders knowledge. Thanks to quick reporting and cooperation by both traders we were able to react quickly and start investigating the incident.

After conducting a thorough investigation we can conclude that this incident was isolated to these two trades. The vulnerability was related to a legacy feature on our site and only traders with certain advertisements were vulnerable. The vulnerability has now been fixed and LocalBitcoins will issue full compensation to both traders in order to cover their losses.

We want to thank our users for quickly reporting the incident to us so that we could take immediate appropriate action.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Improving the privacy of LocalBitcoins E-mails

Privacy is something we believe to be important at LocalBitcoins and an often requested feature has been to limit the sensitive information that is sent via e-mail when you go through the trading process here at LocalBitcoins.

We've now released a new feature that changes the appearance of notification e-mails. By opting-in to this feature the contents of sensitive e-mails will be replaced with a generic notification prompting you to log in to LocalBitcoins and see what's up.

This helps you keep your privacy by limiting the places where you have information about your Bitcoin trading stored to just your LocalBitcoins account. This means that even if someone reads your e-mails they will not find out any detailed information about your trading on LocalBitcoins.

If you want to opt-in for this feature, you can activate it by doing the following.

1. Visit and log-in to your account.

2. From the navigation bar at the top of the page, click on the user icon and select "Edit profile".

3. Click the check box for the option "Disable sensitive information from email notifications".

4. Scroll down and click the Save Profile button.

Once you've opted in to this feature all sensitive e-mails will all look the same, no matter the content. You can see an example of what it looks like the screenshot below.

Happy [         ]!

– LocalBitcoins team

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shortening the time to dispute

Today we’re making a few changes to the dispute system to improve and simplify the trading experience on LocalBitcoins. From now onwards dispute times have been lowered to 12 hours for both buyers and sellers. Against new users with few trades, sellers can start a dispute after one hour.

Before today, buyers had to wait 24 hours before they could open up a dispute against an unresponsive seller and sellers had to wait 72 hours before they could open up a dispute against a buyer. This meant users had to sometimes wait several days before a resolution to their dispute could be made. Now, the process will be much faster.

We hope these changes will provide for more frictionless trading on LocalBitcoins and improve the liquidity of traders. We’ll be looking closely at the effects this change will have over the next few weeks, your comments are also greatly appreciated. Based on this we will evaluate further changes to the dispute process.

Happy trading!

– The LocalBitcoins team

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trader features: Show user identification, Inline equation editing and watermarks

During the past month we've added three new features to help improve the experience buying and selling Bitcoins on our site.

Opt-in to show real name verifications

Traders can now opt-in to show real name verifications from the Edit Profile page. By opting in to this feature, when a buyer whom you have marked as ID verified opens up a trade with another trader you will be shown as a verifier in the security information box for the trade. This change is designed to improve the value of the Real Name Verification feature.

Once you've opted in, your name will be shown in trades of users whom you have verified along with when you have verified the user.

 Edit equations inline 

When you have several advertisements running it can be difficult to manage the pricing equations of each advertisement separately. Now you can edit equations inline in your dashboard making it easy and simple to change pricing equations. On the dashboard page where all of your advertisements are listed you only need to click on the equation (which is now underlined) to allow it to be edited. Once you've made your changes you can simply click the save button.

Watermarked images 

Images uploaded into a trade chat will now all be resized to 1200 by 1200 pixels in size and have a watermark applied to it. The watermark is a series of parallel lines containing the trade number as well as our logo, if you find a photo where the lines cross each other it means the photo has been previously submitted to a trade chat on LocalBitcoins. With this feature we hope to make it harder to re-use images that have been shared in trades.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Goodbye, New York!

We’re sad to say that due to regulators another region has had to be blocked from LocalBitcoins. From today onwards users from New York are no longer allowed to use LocalBitcoins because of the legislation known as the BitLicense (23 NYCRR 200) which makes it a federal offense to sell virtual currency to people living in New York unless you have applied for the license.

This new regulation would require anyone selling Bitcoins through our service to acquire the BitLicense if they sell Bitcoins to residents of New York. As the Bitlicense is time consuming, expensive and difficult to obtain for anything but large companies we’ve taken the decision to protect our US based traders and not allow New York based users to use our service.

If you reside in the US, you will get a one-time pop up notification requiring you to confirm whether or not you live in New York. All new users will equally have to answer the same question.

This is an unfortunate state of affairs and we hope that the regulation will in the future accommodate small time bitcoin sellers who do not have the possibility to comply with regulations made for big financial institutions.

 For the time being though, we bid New York farewell.

– The LocalBitcoins team

Thursday, June 4, 2015 largest UK exchange according to new study

Yesterday, UK based Bitcoin news site released the results of a study on bitcoin use in the UK. According to their results, is the most used site to buy bitcoins in the UK. The study reveals that LocalBitcoins has 41.7 % of the P2P exchange market, and is the most popular way to acquire bitcoins in the country.

The most surprising fact of the study, however, is that only 13% thought governmental regulation of bitcoin to be bad and a whopping 48% think it is a good thing. A few respondents are cited as saying regulation should encourage bitcoin usage and improve it's public perception. Yesterday with the release of the BitLicense, the state of New Yorks regulation framework for cryptocurrency, the industry receive one of it's first regulations squarely designed around cryptocurrency. It remains to be seen what the effects are on the bitcoin ecosystem.

The study also looked at how UK residents use bitcoins, and the majority said they were acquiring bitcoins for purchases or savings use. Only 20% of respondents said they were engaged in day trading with bitcoins and 18 % said they used the currency to send cash to friend & family.

A summary of the study is available as a slideshare, which you can see below:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hi! I'm Max – The new Community Manager

Hi! I'm Max and the new Community Manager for LocalBitcoins! I started working here around a
month ago so some of you have already seen me active on our forums or on twitter.

I'm based from our office in Helsinki (where it's currently cold and raining!) where I'm also finalizing my bachelors in Marketing. I've got a history in moderating and managing online communities in my spare time however this is my first role as community manager for a company.

I first got into contact with bitcoins around 2011 when my friend showed me how you could mine them using your own computer, but I quickly forgot about it after being annoyed of having to download the whole blockchain when installing the software. It wasn't until early 2013 when I bought my first coins from an exchange, before the crazy 2013 bubble. I was hooked.

Before I started working at LocalBitcoins I was studying marketing full time at a local university while working as a freelance photographer.

So, what does a community manager do?

It's my job to talk with you here, on twitter, on our forums and other place online. I'm here to help facilitate discussion and to solve problems. So, if you've got a problem, have questions about our service or just want to say hi you can reach out to me. You can find my contact details at the end of this post.

You can find me on twitter @LocalBitcoins, on our forums with the username max.localbitcoins and you can shoot me an email at max { *at* }

Now the floor is open to you, feel free to ask me anything in the comments below – and I'll do my best to answer!

All the best,