Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LocalBitcoins Coupons - The Most Hassle-Free Way of Distributing Bitcoins to the People

We have introduced a new feature to LocalBitcoins, redeemable coupons. These are great for selling bitcoins with cash to your friends, or even for larger audience. Why do these coupons rock? Reasons below:
  • Denominated in local currency, such as EUR, USD, CNY etc. The amount of BTC is determined at the time of redeem. No need for calculations at the time of trade. The rate can be examined at charts.localbitcoins.com - however seller premium might be added on top of that.
  • Buyer doesn't need internet connection at the spot. Coupon can be redeemed at home/internet cafe or easily with a smartphone. SMS redeem option coming.
  • Approved LocalBitcoins traders can create, resell & redistribute the coupons (application form). The coupons are issued by invidual traders.
The redeem rate is tied up to localbitcoins_sell variable, which accounts for 24 hour market volatility. This makes it safe for the seller, but also fair for the buyer. The seller can specify premium on top of the rate, which is simple percentual fee.

The buyer can verify the validity and rate of the coupon using the verify QR code or address, and redeem the coupon using the redeem QR code or address. Redeeming can be done by just typing LocalBitcoins username, without logging in.

Also necessary customer identification can be done on the spot when coupon is sold, so that the customer doesn't need to upload any documents etc online. This makes the risk of security issues and identity theft smaller.

The traders who have a pro trader badge can already issue coupons. For others, there is an application form.

We really believe this feature can change the Bitcoin sales on areas where smartphones are not that common yet, and where internet connectivity might be lacking. Happy trading!

#BitcoinAfrica proceeds to Namibia!

Namibia seemed to be easy cake to find a Bitcoin trader in, since there was a Bitcoin enthusiast already there.

"Yesterday we managed to do another trade with a Namibian guy, he said that is following all the stories of the trip through your magazine since we started. He took some pictures of our bikes to proof with his friends that it was all real.

He told us that is convincing all his friends to start using bitcoin and after this it would be easier."

Cool story Bro! Next up is South Africa.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#BitcoinAfrica reaches Angola and Cameroon!

So our Bitcoin heroes on motorcycke, Borja and Elvis, have managed succesfully to do two new exchanges in Africa! Story below.

"Greetings from Angola!

It's been a while since we shared our stories. We had difficult days, tiredness and lack of Internet.
But now I will share the experiences we had in the last 6 countries :)

Last update was in Cotonou (Benin), we headed north in the next morning as we wanted to cross to Nigeria, the shortest way was just beside to Lagos but we wanted to avoid some unpleasant experiences so we did an extra 400KM and get to know Benin.
We visited the Kings Royal Palaces in Abomey, 13 palaces in total and 2 available to visit. I was amazed in finding quite a lot of canons and artifacts that were traded by the Portuguese.

After the visit we drove north and do as many km we could, that night we slept in the back of a very important church, something like the Vatican of west Africa, without even knowing. We were very well received and the Priest was very friendly.

Next day after a long and dusty ride we arrived in Nigeria, very small border and friendly police, quick pass but then the roads changed.
We planned to drive another 200 KM but was no road so we managed another 60 Km until we found a very small village and the friendly people invited us to sleep in the Primary School in one of the class room. No much sleep that night, 5 AM we already had some curious visitors, there were missing some windows.

We were amazed with Nigeria, a country that all the people told us not to get in, very friendly people and helpful.
After managing all the non existing roads and arrived to the Tarmac but it was worst then before, I had 4 punctures in 1 day.

But then things changed, we arrived to Abuja, the capital. It was like being in another country, quite developed and very rich people, completely the opposite of the rest of Nigeria.
We stayed 2 days as we needed to find tyres, we met Francis the Gym manager of the hotel, who also loves bikes, he helped us finding the tyres and show us the city and we had a few beers with him and his friends.
Next day all of them join us with their bikes for 60Km, I don't know how they are still alive.

So we starting heading to Cameroon, it took us 1 day. Following day we cross the border with no hassle and friendly police and people but the roads changed again. Rainy season and no Tarmac, you can imagine.

The landscape changed radically, we entered the jungle, 30/40 meters trees it was very dense and beautiful.

After 2 days we arrived to civilization, Douala where we did our fourth bitcoin exchange :) Thanks to our bitcoin contact in Mali, he introduced us Dani who was interested in exchanging. Dani was kind and pay us the bitcoin in advance as we had some technical problems, we made a good friend and spend the weekend "resting".

So it was time to go east and find some Gorilas, we visit them in Lobéké. We spent 2 days in the Jungle and what an adventure, some heavy storm to make it a bit better.
So far was our favorite experience in all the trip.
As we were in the middle of nowhere, the closest bank was 400km away and due some expenses we didn't predict we run out of money.
People told us the next one was just 60Km away and for sure we will find it. Not! No ATM and it was not even a bank. It was just a money gram/western union agent, pity we couldn't trade our bitcoins.
We were stuck with no money, petrol and food. After a few hours we managed to ask a friend in Spain to transfer some € and we managed to continue our journey, we used this service twice due the lack of ATM.
I also had to sell my watch in Congo as it was bank holiday and all the banks were closed and M.G/W.U agents. In French what I don't speak well and made a profit :)

After the amazing Cameroon we had to cross Congo and RDC quick due the conflicts and we are a bit short of time to arrive to Cape Town.
But we managed to visit the Bonobos (Monkeys) in Congo, we spent 2 days with them, as the veterinary is our friend we had the opportunity to be very close and play with them, great 2 days!

The border crossing to RDC was insane, imagine corruption, a passenger boat where it was impossible to fit another person, no ramps for the bikes or even a wheel chair, last boat of the day and it was Friday. We managed and finished the day laughing about it :)

After 11 countries talking in French we finally arrived in Angola, as a native speaker of Portuguese things got easier for me and for our bellies, food is amazing here, like home.

Beautiful country and friendly people, no corruption so far and lots of ATM, everyone is very helpful as well.
After 4 days in Luanda with some friends, we are on the road again, today we did 515 Km to Lobito where we met a contact to do our fifth exchange, this time to Angolan Kwanzas.
Another successful transaction, the Internet is getting faster as we head south.

In 3 days we will enter Namibia, more stories will come soon."

Invite friends to LocalBitcoins and have trusted trades

LocalBitcoins has launched a new Invite Friends feature. You can invite your friends to join to LocalBitcoins and if they decide to do so, the friends are automatically added to your Trusted people list.

You can create special bitcoin trade advertisements which are only available to your trusted people. This makes some things easy

  • Introduce your friends to bitcoins by selling small amounts of bitcoins to them with very good rate.
  • Having a connection to people outside LocalBitcoins makes them more trustable and you can have less risk premier in your trusted advertisement prices.
  • Trusted advertisements are suitable for selling bitcoins on some high risk payments methods to your friends; you would not necessary sell bitcoins on these payments methods for public audience due to associated risk.
You can find Invite Friends feature in under your dashboard.

Monday, December 9, 2013

SMS Notifications Now Free For New Contacts

We have upgraded our SMS notification message fee schedule. Now all notifications except for messaging are free. Fee for messages is lowered to 0.00015 BTC/msg. We plan to move to dollar-base pricing, which should be more fair to the users.

It is recommended to turn on the new contact notifications, because you won't want to miss out those precious deals flowing in.

Here is my personal setup - I will receive a SMS message each time someone contacts me, so I won't miss a single deal. The settings can be changed from "Edit Profile" in the upper right corner, when you are logged in.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Automate Bitcoin Cash-Outs via LocalBitcoins API

As it takes ages to get money from mtgox and some other exchanges, there are opportunities for providing speedy "cash-out" services to the Bitcoin community. Recently we added some features to LocalBitcoins which makes acting as a liquidity provider easier and more streamlined.

First feature is account details validation. At first this functions for SEPA cashouts. The form validates account details, so that the buyer saves the hassle of checking the proper format. This validation has been added to some other payment methods as well, and will be extended.

The other feature is API functions for getting online buying contacts, and marking them complete. These methods can be used to automate online buying on LocalBitcoins.

For listing online buying: https://localbitcoins.com/api-docs/#api_toc4
For marking the payment as complete: https://localbitcoins.com/api-docs/#api_toc5

We will be also providing bounties to people who write open source automation scripts for different payment methods. More on those later.

Happy trading!