Bitcoin Exchange LocalBitcoins to Close, Citing Market Conditions

Bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins is set to close this month in response to the "ongoing very cold crypto winter."

LocalBitcoins, based in Helsinki, is one of the longest-running exchanges. It started 10 years ago and has averaged between $5 million and $7 million in weekly trading volume over the past four months, a far cry from 2017, when it surged to above $100 million in consecutive weeks, according to data from CoinDance.

"We are sad to share, that regardless of our efforts to overcome challenges during the ongoing very cold crypto-winter, we have regretfully concluded that LocalBitcoins can no longer provide its Bitcoin trading service," the company said in a statement.

Trading will be suspended on Feb. 16, after which users will be able to log in only to withdraw their crypto.

LocalBitcoins offered peer-to-peer and escrow services for users looking to buy or sell bitcoin via traditional bank transfers and cash deals across multiple currencies on a global scale.

When bitcoin was in its early stages, LocalBitcoins became a key marketplace that drove liquidity. It also spurred the lucrative arbitrage market as users could sell bitcoin at a spread above spot price and then buy the asset on centralized exchanges for cheaper.

In December, early bitcoin pioneer and Libertarian activist Ian Freeman went to trial on allegations of being a ringleader in a bitcoin selling business that used LocalBitcoins.