LocalBitcoins, the world’s oldest and biggest peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, has stated that it would cease operations due to the challenging crypto climate.
“We, unfortunately, conclude that LocalBitcoins can no longer perform its Bitcoin trading service,” the company wrote, urging users to withdraw their funds as quickly as possible.
“We urge all clients to withdraw their monies from LocalBitcoins and we ask you to proceed with removing the Bitcoins from your LocalBitcoins wallet. You have 12 months to withdraw; nevertheless, we strongly advise you to withdraw sooner.”
LocalBitcoins, which was formed in 2012, was a pioneer in providing a bitcoin trading platform in emerging regions.
It had established a significant lead over competitors such as Paxful and Binance P2P in developing markets such as Africa, Latin America, and Russia, for instance.
The p2p exchange was one of the key bitcoin transferrers to Bitzlato, which was closed down by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for reportedly being a massive channel for money laundering and other cybercrime, according to US officials. The US authorities also accused Bitzlato of helping in the circumvention of Russian sanctions.
LocalBitcoins, on the other hand, denied any collaboration or relationship with the besieged exchange, stating that the P2P company had been regulated by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority since 2019 and strictly adhered to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
LocalBitcoins’ Chief Marketing Officer, Jukka Blomberg, stated:
“According to our data, there have been virtually no transactions between LocalBitcoins and Bitzlato since October 2022, when we ceased providing Russian user accounts and accounts of Russian users.”
The p2p exchange had some of its best trading performances prior to the crypto bubble in 2017, but activity has been falling since then, according to Coin Dance data.
Weekly trade volumes fell under 1,000 BTC by February 2021, with the most recent reported weekly trading volume being 283 BTC, equivalent to approximately $6 million.
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