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,

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why this countryside school in Finland gave its students bitcoins

Bitcoins accepted at the Café Lalla Vinde. Photo: Lalla Vinde // Used with permission.
Kemiönsaari is a municipality in the southwest of Finland far away from any metropolitan area. On the outside it looks like any other tiny countryside town in Finland, but looks can be deceiving. Kemiönsaari is at the forefront of bitcoin adoption in Finland, in this sleepy town of 7 000 people you can go out and enjoy lunch at a café and do your grocery shopping – all while paying with bitcoin. And this spring 3 000 euro was handed out to students enrolled at the local high school.

In the town center of Kemiö there are a handful companies that accept bitcoin, almost as much as in the capital Helsinki. You can grab a lunch at Café Lalla Vinde, head over to ZAS data to buy a new computer, take a zumba class at Rehab Center and then go grocery shopping at the K-Store before heading home.

Now the central school in Kemiö has decided to take it a step further giving around 40 of it's 125 students bitcoins. But why?

In Finland, every year thousands of high school students receive small cash awards either from their school or sponsored by local companies and institutions. These are usually handed out for outstanding performance in school or sports. Usually, these are given out as bank checks but with banking services moving online it's become increasingly difficult for students to cash their checks.

That's why this spring all awards at the local high school were given out in bitcoins. The principal of the high school, Ari Rintanen mentiond to that the reasoning behind the decision was threefold. First, the currency is quite useful on the island municipality, second it is a good opportunity to try something new while at the same time giving students easier access to their awards.

The local company ZAS data, run by Sami Lappalainen, helped the school with the practicalities of giving out the awards in bitcoin. As the school does not know if a student has a bank account or a bitcoin wallet address they decided to hand out the awards as paper wallets. On the thirtieth of May students at the school received envelopes containing a paper wallet and instructions on how to create his own bitcoin wallet and redeem the bitcoins.

A photo posted by Aleksi Neuvonen withdrawing his bitcoins from a LocalBitcoins ATM. (@leksis) on

Friday, May 22, 2015

Today is Bitcoin Pizza Day!

On this friday in 2010 the first real value bitcoin transaction happened, 10 000 bitcoins were indirectly exchanged for two pizzas from Papa John's.  Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer from Florida, is believed to be the first person to make a real-world transaction using bitcoin. 

Laszlo posted a thread titled "Pizza for bitcoins?" on May 18th 2010 where he said he would pay 10 000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. The thread immediately became popular and after several days of discussion, finally, on the 22nd of May Laszlo posted that he had successfully traded his bitcoins for pizza

It was reportedly a user from the United Kingdom that had taken on his offer and used his credit card to buy Laszlo two pizzas from across the atlantic.  Today, those two pizzas would be worth over a million USD a piece and bitcoin pizzaday has become something of a legend. Check out #bitcoinpizzaday on social media for how people are celebrating. Below are a couple of selected tweets. 

Check out the photos of the original pizzas here.

How are you celebrating bitcoin pizza day? Tweet your celebrations to @LocalBitcoins!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bitcoin Tracker One and ETN's explained

Starting yesterday you could invest into the value of bitcoins on a regulated exchange, without having to buy bitcoins. On the Nasdaq Nordic in Stockholm the Exchange Traded Note, Bitcoin Tracker One, traded for close to two million Swedish kroner on it's first day. But what does that mean? What is an ETN and what does this mean for bitcoin?

Photograph of the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Bitcoin Tracker One started trading on Nasdaq Nordic. Photo: Gr1st // CC BY 2.0

An Exchange Traded Note, or ETN, is a financial security that's traded on stock exchanges. Traders can buy and sell shares of the ETN exactly like shares of company stock. Unlike company stock, shares of ETN's don't give you ownership of what they represent, they simply give you access to it's value without having to purchase the underlying asset directly. In other words you get synthetic access to the value of bitcoins.  

Bitcoin Tracker One follows the average value of bitcoins in USD across three exchanges, minus fees to the issuer. It is then divided up so that 200 shares of Bitcoin Tracker One represents the value of one bitcoin.  You can see a good description of how this is structured on XBT Providers website.

Why not buy bitcoins directly? 

If you don't get ownership of any coins, why would you buy this ETN? Because it gives convenient access to the value of bitcoin for investors. The ETN allows people to buy in to the value of bitcoin through the same exchange where they buy other securities – meaning investors do not have to learn how to buy, sell and store bitcoins securely. It removes boundaries that have prevented individuals and companies from investing into bitcoin.  

ETNs are not without risk, as they only track the underlying asset and do not give ownership of it you're at risk of the credit provider defaulting. If XBT goes bankrupt finding a buyer for the ETN may be very difficult. On top of this all of the regular risk associated with bitcoins apply.  

This ETN opens bitcoins up to a wider audience that may have an interest in bitcoin and believe in its future but who still see it as too complicated to buy in. It also gives more legitimacy towards the currency and helps spread the word of bitcoin.   

Bitcoin Tracker One is provided by XBT provider AB which is in turn owned by KnCGroup, a well known Swedish company providing bitcoin mining services. Read more about Bitcoin Tracker One on XBT Providers' website and read more about the parent company KNCGroup.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Improve trust on by verifying your identity

A screenshot showing what the Netverify identification process looks like on the website.
A screenshot of the identity verification process.

Whether you're buying or selling bitcoins it's important that both the buyer and the seller can trust each other. We offer a number of ways to increase that trust, one of them being the ability to verify your real life identity with your account.

By verifying your identity you get access to more trade advertisements as well as more visibility for your own trade advertisements, if you are a trader.  

The verification process is provided as a third party service called Netverify by Jumio. You can find the link to start the verification process by going to Edit profile on the main website and then scrolling down to verification. Or you can click on this link to start verification.  

In order to verify your identity with your account you will need a valid ID (Passport, ID card or drivers license) at hand and a web camera. You can see how the process will work on Jumios' website. Right now most countries around the world are supported, with more countries added soon.  

The verification process is automated and is usually completed quickly, 95% of the verifications are completed within 5 minutes. Once the process completes your public profile will be updated to include a check mark showing that you have verified your identity with

A screenshot showing a users public profile after ID verification as been successfully completed.
When you have completed verification it will be visible on your public profile with a green checkmark.

Now you will start seeing trade advertisements where the buyer or seller have set it to only show for ID verified accounts and if you are a trader then your trade advertisements will have better visibility.  

Don't forget that you can also verify your e-mail address as well as your phone number!  

Happy bitcoin trading!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Feature spotlight: Opening hours for trade advertisements

Judging when a trader is online and how long it will take for him to reply can be a challenge at times, so we created a new feature for traders that we’re hoping will make this less of a pain. 

While creating new trade advertisements or editing existing ones, traders can now see a new section called Opening hours, where they can set start and end times for each day of the week. This allows traders to set opening hours on a day-by-day basis for when they accept trade offers from customers. 

Outside of the opening hours set, trade adverts will be hidden from public view. Traders can use this feature to only show trade adverts when they are able to actively process offers, making it easier to buy or sell coins without having to guess how soon a trader will reply to your offer.

How to set up
A screenshot showing the new feature on the website.

To set up opening hours for a new trader advertisement scroll down to the opening hours section of the Create a bitcoin trade advertisement page. Here you’ll see a list of every day of the week and two drop-down menus. The left one sets the time (in your timezone) when you want your trade adverts to appear on the site. The right one sets the time when you want your trade adverts to be hidden away from view. 

You can change your timezone by editing your profile.

Once you’ve created a trade advertisement you can change your opening hours at any time by editing the advertisement. 

Happy bitcoining!