An Ode to LocalBitcoins (and a Lesson About Maintaining Bitcoin’s Public Goods)

Before the imposition of those compliance mechanisms, LocalBitcoins was a useful tool for people to enhance their privacy on-chain. But even after, the stripped-down service helped facilitate a native bitcoin economy – the platonic ideal of which would look like alphanumeric addresses interacting with similarly pseudonymous entities relying on Bitcoin’s architecture to estable mutual “trust.” The company onboarded and verified users from 189 countries. At its peak, in 2018, some 2,400 BTC traded hands weekly. By 2021, average weekly volumes dropped below 1,000 BTC. Last week, only 283 BTC were traded.

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