LocalBitcoins Closes Down P2P Crypto Exchange Service
• LocalBitcoins, a Finland-based peer-to-peer cryptocurrency platform, is shutting down operations after serving its customers for more than 10 years.
• Customers are encouraged to withdraw their Bitcoin from the LocalBitcoins wallet within 12 months, but are advised to do so immediately.
• The abrupt closure comes soon after U.S. authorities launched a major enforcement action against Bitzlato, accusing the firm of money laundering and allegedly facilitating circumvention of sanctions against Russia.
Announcement of Termination
LocalBitcoins officially announced the termination of services on Feb. 9, citing the tough market conditions of the ongoing cryptocurrency winter. According to the announcement, users can withdraw crypto assets from LocalBitcoins for 12 months but are urged to do so sooner rather than later.
Upon announcement of termination, LocalBitcoins will immediately suspend all new registrations from Feb. 9 while trading will be suspended Feb. 16th onward. Login access will only be available in order for users to withdraw funds remaining in their wallets within 12 months time frame following closure date..
Reasons Behind Closure
LocalBitcoins CEO Nikolaus Kangas stated that despite efforts to recover trade volumes and market share, “LocalBitcoins can no longer provide its Bitcoin trading service.” U.S authorities have also linked the platform with one of Russia’s largest exchanges accused of money laundering and circumvention of sanctions against Russia – further adding to closure reasons behind the platform’s shutdown decision..
Advise for Customers
The Localbitcoins team has advised customers to proceed with withdrawing Bitcoin from their wallets as soon as possible regardless if they plan on using it or not as customers will have 12 months window until complete shutdown takes effect . Users are urged not to wait until last minute withdrawals and take necessary actions before time runs out..