According to an announcement on its website, the peer-to-peer Bitcoin platform will be shutting down before the end of February 2023.
LocalBitcoins has announced that the exchange will be closed for service by the end of February. The long-time Bitcoin trading service was the first peer-to-peer (P2P) transaction platform for many Bitcoiners. Launched in June 2012, the exchange is one of the oldest entities in Bitcoin, establishing itself as a primary P2P player in its hey-day with over $100 million in weekly trading volume of peer-to-peer transactions.
“Originally LocalBitcoins was established to Bring Bitcoin Everywhere and drive global financial inclusion,” the announcement reads. “We have honored that mission for over 10 years and we are proud of what we have achieved together with all of you, our loyal community.”
The announcement cites “challenges during the ongoing very cold crypto-winter” as reasoning for the shutdown. The exchange has informed customers that they should withdraw their funds from LocalBitcoins, as well as withdrawing their bitcoin from the LocalBitcoins wallet. It notes that customers will have 12 months to complete this process, although they encourage users to do so sooner.
Notably, the shutdown has arrived just as P2P Bitcoin merchants and individual sellers have come under heavy scrutiny from U.S. regulatory authorities. While there is no mention of this in the announcement, it could be assumed that these recent actions have led to decreased volume on platforms like LocalBitcoins.
Despite these pressures, alternatives such as RoboSats and Bisq still function for Bitcoiners seeking to acquire bitcoin via P2P transactions.