Review: Paxful VS. Local Bitcoins

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.

Paxful

Free
Paxful
8.1

Reputation

7.5 /10

Fees

9.0 /10

Exchange Rate

6.5 /10

Availability

9.3 /10

Support

8.2 /10

Pros

  • Wide variety of payment methods
  • Responsive support forum

Cons

  • High exchange rates
  • High possibility of scam

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Timothy
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Timothy

Paxful will steal money from your account beware

Ben10Shapiro
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Ben10Shapiro

I GIVE THIS SITE 0 REVIEWS, DO NOT TRADE ON THIS SITE, THEY ARE ASSHOLES, BAD CUSTOMER SUPPORT SERVICE, AND FAKE SELLERS REVIEWS, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MONEY IF YOU EVER USE THIS SITE, let’s NOT USE THEM ANYMORE AND DESTROY THE SITE, I WILL DO ANYTHING TO SEE THIS SITE CLOSE DOWN.

Skapetti
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Skapetti

I bought bitcoins from a seller 4.999 transfer to my wallet before i got home in less than two hours localbitcoins took them out of my account said i was related to two names involved in fraud,i never heard of.its been weeks they won’t give me my bitcoins back there in there fraud department.they told me to get the authorities.localbitcoins stole my bitcoins don’t do business with them.

MitchellRex
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MitchellRex

Yesterday I made a transaction at localbitcoins exchanging Bitcoin for Paypal money. A few hours later the sender requested chargeback and Paypal put my money on hold leaving me with a negative balance. I started doing research and realized that this is a very wide-spread type of scam. NEVER USE LOCAL BITCOINS.

RoyPablo
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RoyPablo

I use Paxful more for a simple reason: Better customer support. People will agree with me on this one

Regnar_876
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Regnar_876

Localbitcoins got hacked and stolen hundreds and thousands from users. Everyone should boycott that site!!! It is not safe!!

SamYoung
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SamYoung

People complain about Paxful’s fees which I think are reasonable prices. I don’t know why people are complaining too much but Paxful is one of the easiest places to start trading in. People don’t know how to read the Terms of Service and aren’t aware they are breaking the rules. Some DO know the terms of service and think they can get away with bending the rules but what makes Paxful secure is how they suspend scammer accounts easily.

Jalabisundai
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Jalabisundai

Localbitcoins is more prone to scams, in fact, there’s a lawsuit being made against them that they’ve paid PR agencies to bury it under the rug I know this because I personally know someone who is hired by localbitcoins to do this shady stuff
I don’t care if you don’t believe me but I know I’m telling the truth.

darpaarmatey
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darpaarmatey

Do not use that website!!! i WAS SCAMMED OUT A $100 GIFT CARD. I presented all the evidence that I gave the giftcard, purchased the gift card and that the USER used it. Waited for over 2 weeks for the moderator to make a decision and it was rewarded to the user. The website encourages scammers, because they now that Apple, Amazon etc will not give you the name of the person who used the gift card or any other information. They encourage scammers. DO NOT PAY VIA GIFT CARD!!

Asher Skylark
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Asher Skylark

this site is composed of buyers whom i would say the worst negotiators of all time. i see some buyers whos trying to buy your gift card immediately strikes you for the first 2 minutes. people in paxful.com are stupid who doesnt have the proper manners to interact with there customer.