The site was a vital tool in helping emerging economies access Bitcoin, but had also become a prime destination for crypto stolen through hacks and scams.
LocalBitcoins has announced that it's shutting up shop after more than 10 years in business.
A statement said the business had been unable to survive "the very cold crypto winter," meaning its trading service would soon be terminated.
The platform had been established to "bring Bitcoin everywhere and drive global financial inclusion" — becoming a vital tool in emerging economies during its heyday.
But it had also become a prime destination for crypto stolen through hacks and scams — and back in 2019, CipherTrace said 12% of the BTC that LocalBitcoins received had criminal ties.
Customers are now being urged to withdraw any Bitcoin left in their accounts, and they have 12 months to complete these transactions.
New sign-ups have now been suspended, and trading is set to be halted next week.
In recent years, the process of buying and selling Bitcoin has become simpler and more intuitive — with centralized exchanges stepping in to offer an experience that's more familiar to Web2 users.
But LocalBitcoins played a crucial role in getting this ball rolling, prompting a tribute from several of its early users.
One customer from Venezuela thanked the company for its service, adding:
"They were an important part of the hardest moments in my country."
All of this coincided with a sharp pullback for Bitcoin in intraday trading, with the world's biggest cryptocurrency sliding 4% in 24 hours — taking it back below $22,000.