Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HMAC authentication option recommended for API users

It is now possible to access the LocalBitcoins API using HMAC authentication instead of OAuth 2. This new authentication method is more suitable and secure for your own scripts and non-distributed applications. We suggest to use it whenever possible.

API tokens will now also reset on account security changes. If you change your password or if you enable login guard or two-factor authentication, the API access credentials are reseted. This means deleting all API clients, tokens, and authentications.

In the future, console authorization of OAuth 2 will be disabled and all who use API for scripting access are recommended to migrate to HMAC authentication.

Please see the API documentation for instructions how to update your scripts and API clients.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Introducing quick sell: Sell your bitcoins faster and safer

LocalBitcoins has released a faster and safer way to sell your Bitcoins: Quick sell. The new feature is especially helpful when paying bills with Bitcoin.

 Quick sell is visible in your dashboard after logging in.


How quick sell works


Start by selecting payment method, currency and country (if required). Next, choose the amount you wish to sell. At this point, Quick sell shows the estimate how many Bitcoins would be needed for the transaction. Finally fill in the required details and click “Send trade request”.

Quick sell goes through all matching LocalBitcoins bitcoin buy advertisements from reputable traders. It chooses the advertisement with the best exchange rate and then makes a trade request .

The bitcoin buyer pays the transaction with the payment details you provided. If you have bills you can directly give the bill payment details in the quick sell form. (This works very well with national bank transfers, but may not be available in every country yet.)

Please note that some advertisements require SMS verification and other verifications - enable them to get access to advertisements with better prices.

Paying a 100 € phone bill.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Secure your account with login guard

Login guard is the latest account security feature on LocalBitcoins. If your LocalBitcoins account is being accessed from a web browser or a device not seen before an email confirmation is required when logging in.

Login guard is automatically enabled for all new users. The old users can enable the login guard in their profile settings.  Login guard is effective protection against phishing attacks and we hope to see the reduction of successful phishing attacks targeting new users.

LocalBitcoins works actively towards making it safer to purchase and use bitcoins. During this year there has been visible increase in attack against bitcoin users in all major bitcoin services and local bitcoin wallets stored on your computer.

Below are some highlights of LocalBitcoins security progress.

Two-factor activation rate progress

Two-factor is one of the most effective ways to prevent account hacks. Even online games incentive players to activate two-factor for their in-game accounts.

The above chart shows the percentage of the LocalBitcoins users who activated two-factor authentication after the email verification. One can see there is clear progress going on and educating the new users is working. Some methods how we have achieved this are explained below.

A security brief for new users

After the email verification every new user is presented a choice for two-factor activation. We cannot force the users to activate the two-factor authentication, but we very clearly state one should do so.

Weak account security is highlighted

If the account security settings are weak this fact is highlighted to the user all the time they are logged in.

Two-factor email reminders

If anybody has bitcoins in their wallet and never activated two-factor authentication a reminder email is sent.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thousands of websites from South Korea will embrace Bitcoin due to Galaxia Communications

After the South Korean payment gateway giant, Galaxia Communications, announced to join Bitcoin payment method, thousands of websites from South Korea will embrace Bitcoins.

Galaxia Communications is one of the top three online payment companies in South Korea. This company has more than 10,000 customers both inside and outside of South Korea. It also is the top seller for mobile gift card and coupon in South Korea. The cooperated Bitcoin payment processor is Coinplug, which provides technology support for Bitcoin transaction.

The vice president and COO of Galaxia Communications, Yongkwang Kim, said the first time he heard about Bitcoin is just last year. Now he already has his own Bitcoin wallet. Kim also stated that persuading other staff of the company to accept Bitcoin is still challenging, since there is lots of negative news about digital currency, which makes bitcoin look unreliable. Kim also emphasised that there is no big problem in technical implementation:"We have operated many other payment methods. The operation of Bitcoin payment is relatively easier."


Monday, June 30, 2014

Culturecom, co-founded by Jay Chou, will accept Bitcoin

When Bitcoin is rejected by giant technology and Internet companies which are qualified with finance business in China, the game platform UCAN under Culturecom, co-founded by Jay Chou, one of the most famous superstar in Asia, believes that Bitcoins, as a transaction channel, will especially benefit SMEs. The CEO Cheng Peng said the zero transaction cost of Bitcoin is much more attractive than credit card.

The CEO also pointed out that if mobile game companies publish games through iTunes, they need pay one third of their revenue to iTunes as operating fee. If customers use Visa or Master card for payment, companies also need to pay 3% - 10% of their revenue as cross-border service fee. After the payment, game companies usually can only get 10% of the revenue for profits. Although there are other open publish channels like Google, the limited operation of Google in mainland China will affect sales. On the contrary, with zero cost and open environment, Bitcoin largely attracted game companies as a transaction channel.

Although supervision authorities in mainland China forbid financial institutions and giant IT companies from being involved in or using Bitcoin, Cheng Peng believes that this instead is an advantage for SMEs to explore Bitcoin transaction. When dealing with Bitcoin, since supervision authorities regard Bitcoin as commodity, UCAN will categorise Bitcoin to inventory in financial statements.

UCAN planned to launch Bitcoin payment for mobile game in July or August. The next step is to promote Bitcoin to offline products and Apps. Cheng Peng emphasised that his company will not speculate or arbitrage Bitcoin, but only use it for daily business transaction.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Choir Spreads Bitcoin Love to Japan, Japanese Translations to LocalBitcoins

Finnish academic male choir KYL has been touring Japan. The tour included 5 concerts, from which 4 were fully booked. The tour also included lots of other finno-japanese cultural exchange.

The special kicker in this case was that at the same time, the Choir was spreading Bitcoin propaganda to Japan, as LocalBitcoins was sponsoring the concert. LocalBitcoins was prominently displayed in the tour t-shirts, as well in the concert promotional material.

At the same time, Japanese translation was made to LocalBitcoins, making it more usable for Japanese audience.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Unexpected Downtime Solved, Infrastructure Upgraded

Our server had gone down yesterday. The reason might be hardware failure. We are researching the issue and trying to get the site back up.

The LocalBitcoins Team

Update: the service is now up. The reason behind the downtime was network hardware failure. Now we have moved our servers to another hosting provider.