A comparison of LocalBitcoins.com vs Bitwallet.cc

Updated 2/1/15.

I have been trading on LocalBitcoins for quite awhile and have recently started trying out their new (and really only) competition Bitwallet.cc

Quite a few people have asked me what the difference is so I am going to compare the two based on a five different areas.

Support
Localbitcoins – 3 out of 10 -They are known for having support that is mediocre. There is no live support options and often obvious scammers go unchecked for days. When you do have a legitimate issue you will get different answers, solutions and rulings based on who responds to your support ticket.

Bitwallet – 9 out of 10 – So far their support has been amazing. They actively monitor trades and even stepped in on one of mine when someone was trying to scam me, BEFORE I EVEN REPORTED IT!!!!!! They have a live chat box at the bottom of every page and other contact options on their website. They only reason they don’t get a higher score is the notifications for chat seem to be broken and will often alert even when there is no new chat message (very annoying).

 

Fees
Localbitcoins – 7 out of 10 – Localbitcoins has a plain flat 1% fee for advertisers and 0.0004BTC for wallet transfers. Their fees are easy to find on a page clearly marked “fees”. Their low fees are probably a lot of the reason why their support is so crappy. They also charge a 0.0004BTC fee when sending to outside wallets but that is a network fee and not LocalBitcoins

Bitwallet – 8 out of 10 – It took me awhile to find the Bitwallet fees, I had to ask through the chat box (fees are under about>features>scroll to the very bottom of a long page). They charge 0.5% to advertisers (half of LocalBitcoins). I was also told that if a user should be scammed, they would refund any commissions (LocalBitcoins doesn’t do that). They charge the same 0.0004BTC network fee when sending to outside wallets.

 

Website
Localbitcoins – 6 out of 10 – LBC is known for having issues. A lot of the time it is DOS attacks but many times it has been just their site crashing or being out of order. I factored in both lack of support and notifications about problems with the HUGE volume they do and strain their website must be under. The website is easy to use and is easy to navigate with documentation for those that bother to read it. There is no true search function or chat function.

Bitwallet – 5 out of 10 – Bitwallet is untested so its hard to tell how the website will handle real volume or a DOS attack. It is much easier to use with search boxes and you can chat to another user without starting a trade. The documentation is not so clear but hopefully that will improve over time. They lost points for website outages in February 2015.

 

Scams
LocalBitcoins -3 out of 10 – LBC is FULL of scams and their support staff turns a blind eye to many issues if they trader does a high volume. One example is many sellers place “local” ads all over a country or even the world and then convince people to do trades out of escrow or using a 3rd party. This is compounded by their slow support. I was once scammed on a very large trade and the scammer continued to operate for more than a week after I reported him. By the time I got support to step in he had gotten several other people and cleaned out his account so I lost all of that coin.

Bitwallet – 6 out of 10 – Bitwallet allows people to start trades without funding escrow which causes a lot of confusion for people that are used to the LBC system that funds escrow the moment a trade starts. This also allows scammers to say “Send me your payment and I will fund escrow” or “I have the coin and will send it to you from my personal wallet”.  Fortunately as mentioned earlier their support are on it and have been busting the scammers pretty much immediately. We will see if this continues once they start doing a lot of volume.

 

Business/Trade Volume
LocalBitcoins -8 out of 10 – LBC is established so it should be no surprise they easily outdo their competition here. If you want to make money, this is currently the only place you can actually make money. They lose points because they have MAJOR issues with feedback/ratings and how unfairly those are implemented. This can hurt your business very badly.

Bitwallet – 3 out of 10 – I have completed a quite a few trades and most have been former clients I directed to Bitwallet. The vast majority of trade requests I received have been scam attempts and as I said, support bans them very quickly. At the same time they just opened and have been very aggressive with their marketing and getting the word out to the bitcoin trading community. Once word gets around about how easy they are to use and how they don’t tolerate the scams LBC does, they will quickly grow. Their feedback system is different in that you cannot leave feedback unless you complete a trade (great compared to LBC’s current feedback fiasco). That means troublemakers can’t leave feedback if the trade isn’t completed.  No one starting trades then canceling and  leaving a bad rating like they do on LBC. Also feedback is rating on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

 

Final score:
Localbitcoins – 5.6 out of 10 – LBC sucks the donkey off with their poor support and many many scams. Where they lead is in what matters most, tons of business.

Bitwallet – 7 out of 10 – Bitwallet is the new guy in town so their business is very low and that is what hurts them the most followed by high and unheard of fees.  They gain a lot of their score back with AMAZING support and a website with a lot of features that are unmatched.

 

Summary:
Even though I would give Bitwallet a higher overall score, LocalBitcoins  is the current winner. Bitwallet has almost no trade volume and that is what counts the most. If Bitwallet continues to improve their site and offers decent trading volume they will easily be the better choice.

 

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