Until recently, LocalBitcoins was the marketplace for the easy acquisition of Bitcoin. However, the platform recently introduced Know Your Cusomter guidelines. LocalMonero is the counterpart to the anonymous crypto currency Monero. In line with the privacy of the currency, LocalMonero does not require any authentication of customers. BTC-ECHO met LocalMonero co-founder Alex in an interview and asked him the important questions.
How did it happen that you started the Bitcoin news?
The desire to launch LocalMonero stemmed from the fact that the Monero ecosystem did not have a good gateway between Fiat currencies and Monero – a gateway that does not require a know-your-customer etiquette; a Bitcoin news gateway that is essentially peer-to-peer.
Until recently, the main advantage of LocalBitcoins was that you don’t have to go through the traditional banking route. Instead, people can choose their preferred payment method and trade Bitcoin that way. We wanted to create the same for Monero. We also believe that this is very important for Monero because the crypto currency focuses on privacy. We believe that a peer-to-peer over-the-counter market is a good fit for Monero. After all, we saw a gap in the market and filled it.
What was the biggest challenge so far? And how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge is to win the trust of the users – that’s probably the case for all crypto companies. You can do that by doing your best at work: For example, we always try to implement customer feedback as quickly as possible. We respond to the tickets as quickly as we can. We are very active on Reddit, Twitter and other social networks. In addition, we try to keep track of where we are mentioned in order to be as responsive as possible. Ultimately, we believe that our commitment can win the trust of our users.
LocalMonero has been around for over half a year – I think it’s now the seventh or eighth month we’ve been online – and the community is trusting us now. The initial lack of trust can be overcome by consistently doing the customer good and not letting anyone down. I think we’ve done a good job there. Of course, we also want to continue this in the future.
The company is currently based in Hong Kong – what are the reasons for this? Are you tied to the location?
We are currently located in Hong Kong because we are actually physically in Hong Kong. Apart from that, Hong Kong is a great jurisdiction. For the readers who do not yet know that: Hong Kong and China are separate zones and have completely different legal systems. Of course, there is some dependence on military protection, but Hong Kong has its own parliament and independent judges. Hong Kong is to some extent democratic and simply offers a different economic playing field from China. Even the borders are controlled when you enter or leave the country. In other words, Hong Kong is one of the freest economic areas in the world and has an excellent business environment.
With this in mind, and the fact that we live here, our decision was made to create LocalMonero in Hong Kong. It is convenient and easy to start a business. On the other hand, if there are signs of hostility to crypto currencies, we will move immediately. In short, we have not taken root here and can build our legal entity in another place – even if we ourselves physically stay in Hong Kong.
KYC is not an option for LocalMonero
In light of LocalBitcoins’ recent demand for Customer Identification (KYC), does LocalMonero plan to take similar steps?
We have no plans to integrate know-your-customer guidelines. In addition, we have no legal obligation to do so. Should we ever come under legal pressure, our first reaction will be to look for another area of responsibility instead of imposing KYC on our customers. Because the know-your-customer requirements slow us and our customers down and create unnecessary costs. Especially for a young, growing company like ours, these costs are fatal. That’s why we prefer not to carry out any KYCs, as long as this is legally possible. I believe there will always be a place in the world for LocalMonero. We don’t deal in Fiat currencies, we just provide a platform for customers to publish their own ads. We also offer mediation and escrow services to our clients.