The cryptocurrency exchange industry, both centralized and decentralized, has recently experienced significant upheaval. The opportunity to take stock in this article of the different possibilities that exist to buy or sell bitcoins in peer-to-peer (P2P).
Needless to recall the setbacks experienced in recent months by several major players in the crypto world. This situation has therefore prompted many to turn to peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The principle here is to directly connect buyers and sellers of crypto. With the advantage of being able to avoid KYC procedures: The seller sends the bitcoins directly to the buyer while the latter pays him with traditional means (transfers, money transfers, PayPal, etc.).
To ensure trust, buyers and sellers are rated based on past transactions. Also, a deposit mechanism, which differs depending on the platform, is there to ensure the handling of disputes.
But here too, two behemoths in the sector, namely LocalBitcoins and Paxful, have recently closed their doors. Fortunately, many other possibilities exist. We have already dealt in these columns with Bisq and RoboSats. So let’s detail the other alternatives on the market.
We access to Agoradesk via a classic web address, or via a hidden TOR or ISP address. There are also Android and iPhone mobile applications and you can receive notifications on Telegram.
The guarantee mechanism is quite simple: The seller deposits his cryptos as a guarantee and AgoraDesk releases them if the buyer makes the payment according to the requested method. These can be traditional payments or in other cryptos. In case of concern, you can submit a dispute request to the assistance of the site.
Note that some sellers require a KYC procedure, which greatly limits the interest in this case.
It is a platform with features comparable to AgoraDesk. Lightning Network users will be able to make trades there to convert their bitcoins offchain to onchain and vice versa.
The guarantee mechanism here is more elaborate, since it is based on a 2 out of 3 multi-sig transaction that involves the seller, HodlHodl and the buyer.
For those who are interested, HodlHodl also offers P2P crypto lending.
Available exclusively as an Android or iPhone app, Peach Bitcoin offers a BTC wallet from which you can define your trades. As a buyer, you therefore do not receive the bitcoins directly. You will therefore have to transfer them from Peach to your own wallet once the transaction has been completed. The app is user-friendly and the trades there too are protected by multisig transactions.
It should also be remembered that Telegram messaging offers a wallet in which it is possible to buy and sell cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ton and USDT) either by credit card or via a P2P market place. This functionality has recently been improved, thanks to a completely redesigned user interface.
The future with n3xB
NOT3xB (Naive Nostr No-KYC Exchange B) is a layer 2 protocol to run on top of the Nostr protocol, the P2P messaging application that claims to be a free alternative to Twitter and Mastodon. This protocol is designed to standardize and facilitate asynchronous exchanges of Bitcoin and any other off-chain settlement solution. The ultimate goal is to create an open protocol for the Bitcoin/Fiat exchange that can easily be used by mobile clients. And with an interoperable global backlog having censorship resistance and decentralization properties offered by the Nostr relay network. With the rise of Nostr messaging, there is no doubt that this new approach will find its audience. The project is currently in development and therefore to follow.
As we can see, there are several possibilities for exchanging bitcoins without going through traditional centralized exchanges. In use, the operation of the trades is well established and the experience, even if it may prove to be less fluid, is generally satisfactory. On the other hand, the tariffs applied can sometimes turn out to be unattractive. And the risk, even limited by the guarantee mechanisms, still exists. Finally, it is possible that the bitcoins thus purchased were previously mixed via coinjoins. And therefore find themselves potentially blacklisted on official crypto trading platforms, subject to the censorship mechanisms of the authorities.
But the use of these P2P platforms can be a solution to the increasingly large restrictions and constraints suffered by centralized exchanges, and therefore ultimately by their users. It is therefore important that everyone can adapt to the possibilities offered by peer-to-peer bitcoin trading. For example, starting with low-value transactions, just to get familiar…
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