LocalBitcoins, one of the earliest and most popular peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges, today announced that it is shuttering its business after more than ten years of operation.
In its announcement, the P2P platform said that it was “proud of what we have achieved together with all of you, our loyal community,” but that it can no longer provide its service due to the “challenges during the ongoing very cold crypto-winter.”
The platform also shared a timeline for its service closures, beginning with a suspension of new signups today and followed by the ending of trading and deposits on February 16.
After February 17, the only thing LocalBitcoins users will be able to do is withdraw their Bitcoin from their wallets. They will have 12 months to do so.
The platform had continued to release new features, including a one-click BTC purchase function as recently as January 22, according to the official LocalBitcoins Twitter account.
LocalBitcoins has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.
LocalBitcoins was founded by Jeremias Kangas in 2012 in Helsinki, Finland.
The service matched Bitcoin buyers and sellers, with the coins held in escrow until both parties confirmed the transaction.
In 2019, a report from CipherTrace revealed that the platform was one of the leading destinations for illicit Bitcoin. Since then, the firm instituted a cash ban on the platform as well as introduced Know-Your-Customer (KYC) features powered by Onfido.
According to Onfido, the platform had onboarded and verified users from 189 countries.
In 2021, the platform expanded beyond Bitcoin, offering users access to a handful of altcoins like Dogecoin and Cardano.
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