LocalBitcoins, the Finland-based peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency platform, is shutting down operations after serving its customers for more than 10 years.
It has been reported that LocalBitcoins officially announced the termination of services on February 9, citing the tough market conditions of the ongoing cryptocurrency winter.
Nikolaus Kangas, the CEO of LocalBitcoins, said:
“Regardless of our efforts to overcome challenges and turn our trade volumes and declining market share back to growth, we have regretfully concluded that LocalBitcoins can no longer provide its Bitcoin trading service.”
However, LocalBitcoins encouraged all customers to withdraw their crypto assets from the platform, asking them to proceed with withdrawing Bitcoin from the LocalBitcoins wallet. According to the announcement, users can withdraw crypto assets from LocalBitcoins for 12 months.
The firm noted:
“However, of course, we encourage you to proceed with withdrawing sooner.”
The report said that according to the termination timeline, LocalBitcoins will immediately suspend all new registrations from February 9. Trading will be suspended February 16, while after that date users will only be able to login into the wallet to withdraw their funds.
Likewise, LocalBitcoins’ abrupt closure comes soon after the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network mentioned the platform among the biggest Bitcoin senders to the Russia-linked exchange Bitzlato. US authorities launched a major enforcement action against Bitzlato, accusing the firm of money laundering and allegedly facilitating circumvention of sanctions against Russia.
Jukka Blomberg, the Chief Marketing Officer at LocalBitcoins, denied any kind of cooperation or relationship with Bitzlato.
“Based on our data there have practically been no transactions between LocalBitcoins and BitZlato since October 2022, after we stopped serving Russian user accounts and accounts of users residing in Russia.”
Thus, Blomberg also stressed that LocalBitcoins has been regulated by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority since 2019 and strictly followed Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations.