Review: Paxful VS. Local Bitcoins

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Last updated on October 12th, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Today when it comes to buying Bitcoins you usually go to a Bitcoin broker (e.g. Coinbase and Coinmama) or a Bitcoin trading platform (e.g. Bitstamp and Kraken). However some of these exchanges just don’t cut it – either due to their accepted payment methods or their geo restrictions (for example Coinabse doesn’t accept people from many countries around the world).

In this case you can always use something that can be best described as “the eBay of buying Bitcoin”. Networks of Bitcoin sellers from around the world that allow almost anyone to buy Bitcoins. Today there are two platforms that supply this kind of service – Paxful and Local Bitcoins. I’ve reviewed Local Bitcoins in the past and today I want to take the opportunity and review Paxful as well.

In its core, Paxful is very similar to Local Bitcoins. You choose the amount of Bitcoins you want to buy and your payment method, and then you are presented with available sellers. Each seller has a reputation from past trades and each specifies their Bitcoin exchange rate.

The exchange rate is much higher than what you’ll find at regulated trading platforms like Bitstamp and that’s due to the fact that sellers are taking a much bigger risk when selling Bitcoin to strangers. Since Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, if someone pays the seller and then denies he ever conducted the transaction, the seller may end up with no Bitcoins and no payment.

Also, some sellers allow you to buy Bitcoins with less traditional payment methods (e.g. Amazon gift cards, Skype voucher codes), so they tend to charge more for those.

Finally the seller will also display any specific details he deems relevant for the transaction. You will be able to see if the seller is currently online as well so you can both chat about the transaction once it’s underway.

Paxful seller example

Buying Bitcoins with Paxful

The process is pretty simple.

  1. Choose the amount of Bitcoins you want to buy
  2. Choose the currency you want the exchange rate to be in
  3. Select a payment method (there are dozens)

Then you get the chance to either search through the complete list of sellers or just get shown the best sellers possible based on Paxful’s criteria.

Once you choose a vendor and click “trade”  You will be redirected to the trade page and you can chat directly with the seller via the live chat. Once they answer you then follow their instructions to pay, click mark as paid and wait for them to release the bitcoins directly to your Paxful wallet.

Most trades are instant, but it depends on the payment method and if the seller is online. Paypal and gift cards for example are instant. Bank and CO-OP credit union cash deposits, Western Union, Moneygram take some time as you must leave your home to their branch and deposit cash. Usually they happen in under 1 hour.

When a trade starts, seller bitcoins are transferred automatically to Paxful’s secure escrow and at this point the seller can’t cancel the trade. Only a buyer can cancel a trade at any moment and the bitcoins will be transferred from the escrow back to the seller’s wallet. If the buyer hasn’t delivered the payment and didn’t mark payment as complete within the payment window time frame, a trade will be auto-cancelled and the bitcoins will be moved back to seller’s wallet.

Zero transaction fees

The supposedly cool thing about Paxful is that it doesn’t take any fees from you as the buyer. The site only takes 1% from the total sale amount from the seller. However saying that there are no transaction fees is a bit naive since most sellers just portray these fees inside their exchange rate. This is very similar to what Local Bitcoins offer.

Use caution with Paxful

From reading online reviews about Paxful it’s obvious that some people mistake the platform’s integrity for the seller’s integrity. Meaning, if a seller scammed them or was not trustworthy they assume the platform isn’t legit as well.

That’s why I wanted to point out some resources that may help you solve any issues when buying Bitcoins through Paxful.

  • There’s an active support forum on Paxful were you can ask any question you like regarding the platform.
  • Make sure that the user that you are trading with is online, orders will auto cancel in a short period of time and if the seller isn’t online that may be annoying.
  • Do not release the payment from escrow unless you have full control over the payment you receive.  That means, confirmed, in your account, not pending or anything else.
  • No matter what website, what system, what user, what country, what ANYTHING, If you cannot afford to lose money, DO NOT SEND IT.

There are many debates online whether Paxful is legit or not.  There’s also this site that gives you a breakdown of why (in the author’s opinion) the site isn’t trustworthy.

In my personal opinion Paxful is legit (I even ran the Bitcoin scam test on it). However there may be users on Paxful trying to scam you. But this is true for every other P2P marketplace out there like eBay, LocalBitcoins and OpenBazar.

So who’s the winner?

Both platforms seem to supply similar services, however LocalBitcoins has more experience and reputation in the field. In the end, it all boils down to the sellers. Whatever platform supplies you a seller that suits your needs (i.e. payment methods, exchange rate, reputation) I would use that platform. Functionality-wise they are pretty much the same, so no clear winner at the moment. Just make sure to exercise caution whenever conducting trades with strangers.

Ofir Beigel

Owner at 99 Coins ltd.
Blogger and owner of 99Bitcoins. I've been dealing with Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013 and it taught me a lesson in finance that I couldn't get anywhere else on the planet. I'm not a techie, I don't understand "Hashes" and "Protocols", I designed this website with people like myself in mind. My expertise is online marketing and I've dedicated a large portion of 99Bitcoins to Bitcoin marketing.

Paxful

Free
Paxful
81

Reputation

8/10

    Fees

    9/10

      Exchange Rate

      7/10

        Availability

        9/10

          Support

          8/10

            Pros

            • Wide variety of payment methods
            • Responsive support forum

            Cons

            • High exchange rates
            • High possibility of scam
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            19 Comments on "Review: Paxful VS. Local Bitcoins"

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            Qaiser M
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            Member
            Qaiser M

            Localbitcoin feedback system is broken . Staff is very rude and they have no knowledge how to help someone . A user who have 4 years trading history with more than 1000 Coin in past trades his profile is been raped by a totally new 4 month old user with volume 1-2 btc and even on canceled trade . Shame on LBC Staff

            Stay away from these thugs

            Josephine
            Guest
            Member
            Josephine

            STAY AWAY FROM PAXFUL. I GOT RIPPED OF 100$ AND THE CUSTOMER CENTER TOLD ME It’s ME NOT BEING SMART ENOUGH FOR REAL. Please, guys, stay away from that site its scams

            Ruby
            Guest
            Member
            Ruby

            I trade (that is, buy and sell bitcoins) from liviacoins.com

            ramz
            Guest
            Member
            ramz

            is it legit??

            Ruby
            Guest
            Member
            Ruby

            Yes it is totally legit and their service is available to anywhere in the world and it is really fast

            Dobby
            Guest
            Member
            Dobby

            Paxful always work best for me. I believe paxful is legit site. Try and understand how the site works.

            George
            Guest
            Member
            George

            I also got ripped off by the scammers at Paxful. On their website, I can’t even find any real info on who is behind it! They only have first names – looks like they have something to hide. Pity, was hoping for an honest company.

            travis
            Guest
            Member
            travis

            i have not had one good trade on paxful its all been scams

            Dave
            Guest
            Member
            Dave

            Hmm…..Thats funny. I have had my first 24 transactions work perfectly. My experience is exactly the OPPOSITE of yours!! I love Paxful!!

            PaxFul user SirThomas is a scammer
            Guest
            Member
            PaxFul user SirThomas is a scammer

            hi
            paxful.com/user/SirThomas scammed me huge money

            paxful.com/user/SirThomas scam

            SirThomas paxful scam
            scammer SirThomas
            user SirThomas scam
            Paxful uaer SirThomas scammed me

            Zsofia Elek
            Admin
            Member
            Zsofia Elek

            Hi, thanks for sharing this information. I suggest you to follow up with the Paxful support team so they can investigate your case.

            map
            Guest
            Member
            map

            Yes, it is a scamming website.

            Larry
            Guest
            Member
            Larry
            Actually , after using paxful for a while , I can only say they try , I think the platform is just ok , I have not successfully bought bitcoin with iTunes before on there though , it always says my ITunes I have in my hands with recipt has been redeemed ,in one Case lately ,I tried selling 6 iTunes vouchers , the buyer said , they have been redeemed, how that was possible , I am still amazed till this moment ….but non the less , I still think people are quick to calling names , scam and… Read more »
            Saher Hegsazy
            Guest
            Member
            Saher Hegsazy
            MODERATORS INVOLVED IN FRAUD, Probably working with scammers. Moderator @saherhegazy82 Buyer here has reported you for this trade. Explain what exactly what issue have you had with your skrill trades. Mar 29th 2017 11:13 AM Dear Moderator, I make a living at Paxful nowadays and obviously I can’t work. The idea of using Skrill relied on the following; having 3 Skrill accounts, one is mine [email protected](USD) connected to my bank account at the UAE where I am a resident, a project manager and a business owner who recently got in financial trouble to withdraw money to bank, second one [email protected](EURO)… Read more »
            Zsofia Elek
            Admin
            Member
            Zsofia Elek

            Thanks for sharing your story with Paxful.

            saher hegazy
            Guest
            Member
            saher hegazy

            I am a seller at Paxful. It is a great platform that had actually made me make a lot of money, their support is really bad though. They do not respond most of the time and ignore disputes with obvious scams.

            Zsofia Elek
            Admin
            Member
            Zsofia Elek

            Thanks for the feedback, indeed, the support is a crucial point of a platform.

            Jake
            Guest
            Member
            Jake

            Thanks a lot for your article!

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