(BlockBar) Iran-based users has been suddenly shut off using services of the LocalBitcoins. Although it has not been explicitly told why Iranians are suddenly being cut off from its service, but the U.S. sanctions are almost certainly the cause. “If you have an account already, you will be able to withdraw your bitcoins, but you will not be able to use the platform for trading,” is a response that an Iranian user got from the LocalBitcoins and this has been circulated in social media and local news websites.
A message also appeared on the platform’s Iran country page : “Unfortunately, LocalBitcoins is currently not available in your selected region.” On Twitter, the exchange told several Iranian users: “Our services are not available in your region for risk-based reasons.” LocalBitcoins doesn’t require international credit card information and hence it is the most popular bitcoin trading website among Iranian users. It also allows users to pay with their local bank accounts. Moreover, LocalBitcoins was also trusted by Iran-based bitcoin users because it holds funds in escrow until both sides have given final confirmation. So, this ensures transaction safety and lowering fraud.
“Since I traded in relatively high volumes, LocalBitcoins was my best option because I could find good offers with real people,” said a Bitcoin trader. He continued: “In local exchanges, rates are unfavorable in many instances while total volume of assets is low. For instance, you can barely find two bitcoins for sale in any given day.” Undoubtedly, the escalating “maximum pressure” campaign of the U.S. against Iran has prompted the website to block Iranian users.Legitimate Iranian crypto users have also faced this sort of ban when multiple exchanges, including Binance, Bittrex and ShapeShift stopped offering services. Local Iranians who are seeking to buy and sell cryptocurrency are not without options.
Programmer Ziya Sadr says two alternatives to Localbitcoins have already proven to be better and are attracting Iranian users. One is Bisq,an open-source decentralized peer-to-peer application that runs on Tor, and has recently integrated Farsi for Iranian users. Hodl Hodl is another option, which is similar to Localbitcoins but has also recently added a Farsi interface for Iranian users. We need more and more startups which don’t discriminate the users on nationality.