15 improvements LocalCryptos shipped recently

It’s been two months since we posted an update to our blog. That’s not because we haven’t been busy; it’s the opposite: we’ve been too busy to write a blog post about all the changes and features we’ve added recently.

We took a short break from development today to detail the major changes that have been made since our last blog post.

In no particular order, let’s go over the changes to LocalCryptos since March 2020.

We launched a crypto newsletter: Bytes 🚀

We launched Bytes, a free crypto newsletter to keep you up to date. Every two weeks, we deliver bite-sized crypto news, insights and opinions to your inbox.

If you subscribe to Bytes, we’ll deliver:

  • The most important bits from the biggest crypto news
  • Industry research reports, simplified and digested
  • Quick guides on decentralized finance for on-the-go
  • Exclusive interviews and special offers, with no ads or fluff

Bytes is currently available in English and Spanish.

Better, faster push notifications 🔔

We completely redesigned the push notifications on LocalCryptos to provide a better user experience. We decided to stop relying on a third party to process push notifications; now we have an in-house push notifications system which keeps the notifications end-to-end encrypted between our servers and your device.

You’ll notice that push notifications for new messages are instant. Previously there was a delay of a minute or two before a notification popped up to the other user. We cut that delay to milliseconds.

More translations 🈂️

Since we’ve added and changed much of LocalCryptos since the last major translation event, some languages were left behind. Specifically, our Japanese and Chinese translations were incomplete.

We’ve brought these translations up to date, translating each and every component of LocalCryptos.

LocalCryptos is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Ukrainian, French, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese and Malay.

In addition, push notifications are now translated too, and all email notifications are translated into Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Mobile UI improvements 📳

More than half of you use a mobile device to access LocalCryptos. We’ve worked hard over the last few months to improve and optimize the mobile user experience.

One significant change recently is the trade page: mobile users will now notice that the escrow status is always visible, floating at the top of the screen.

We’ve gathered your suggestions and feedback regarding the LocalCryptos mobile UI, and we’re going to continue to make these kinds of iterations.

Interactive tutorial for new users ℹ️

We created an interactive tutorial to help new users understand how to trade peer-to-peer. As a new user, you’ll be shown “tips” when you first join LocalCryptos.

This is part of our commitment to user friendliness. We believe crypto should be easy for anybody to obtain and use, no matter their background.

LocalCryptos is built to work on all web browsers without any extra software, and despite the underlying complexity of the non-custodial platform, it’s not necessary to read the whitepaper before making a trade.

Smoother sign up flow 😁

Sign ups are increasing at an astounding rate on LocalCryptos. The rate of new users has grown more than 4x over the last six months.

We took on suggestions from existing users to improve the sign up flow.

One frustration we fixed was that you couldn’t tell if a chosen username is available until you completed the entire registration form. There is now a simple indicator to let you know whether the username you picked is free.

Fighting Bitcoin network congestion with Replace-By-Fee and custom fee rates 🚦

Leading up to the Bitcoin halving, more people began using Bitcoin to send transactions, resulting in network congestion and increased network fees.

Recently, many escrow transactions became stuck due to a sudden surge in the Bitcoin fee market. Low-fee transactions (in sat/vB) were sent to the back of the mempool, and many escrow transactions took hours to enter a block.

Waiting is a poor experience. Several impacted users asked us to implement Replace-By-Fee (BIP-125) to allow users to bump the network fee of a stuck transaction. We began work on RBF immediately and shipped the feature less than 48 hours later.

When your Bitcoin escrow transaction’s ETA spikes, you can now encourage miners to process your transaction faster with a higher miner fee.

We also added the ability for users to override our network fee recommendations*. You can now enter any custom fee rate in sat/vB.

* Under the hood, our BTC fee recommendations come from estimaterawfee in the latest release of Bitcoin Core.

LocalCryptos will tell you how many Bitcoin confirmations are needed for your escrow 🛡️

Previously when you sent a Bitcoin transaction to escrow, you could see that it was pending, but the site didn’t tell you how many confirmations it was waiting for. This is a undoubtedly a frustrating user experience.

It’s now clearly displayed how many confirmations you need for a non-custodial Bitcoin escrow to be confirmed. Most escrows only need one confirmation, however larger escrows require up to 6 block confirmations.

We calculate the number of block confirmations you need by looking at the estimated cost to perform a Bitcoin network attack to roll back a transaction. The more block confirmations a transaction has, the harder and more expensive it is to attempt to reverse the transaction.

We’re now asking to select a reason when you cancel a trade 🤷‍

LocalCryptos is a privacy-first platform. That’s good for you, but it comes at a small cost: there are less insights available to us, the builders. Because most data is invisible to us, it can be difficult for us to identify pain points and continuously improve LocalCryptos.

For example, when a trade doesn’t go as planned, we can’t see what happened unless it was reported. All we can see is a that you perhaps exchanged some messages—which we can’t read—and then, for some reason, one of you decided to cancel. Something went wrong, but we’re in the dark. We would like to improve the site so you have a better experience next time, but we don’t know what it is that we need to improve.

To reduce our guesswork, you’ll now by asked to provide a reason when you cancel a trade. If you would rather not, you can choose to not provide a reason.

Improved safety measures for higher-risk payment methods 🔒

With more traders comes more bad apples. To improve the safety of the platform, we have further cracked down on fraud in the higher-risk payment method categories.

As a new trader, you now need to establish yourself as a reputable trader before you can post an offer in a higher-risk category. This currently includes the PayPal, Venmo and gift card categories.

We aren’t preventing new users from trading using these payment methods. You can still use these payment methods as a new user, but only by responding to an existing offer.

Performance enhancements to handle the increased growth ⚡

LocalCryptos has experienced tremendous growth in 2020 so far. Unfortunately, our infrastructure was not entirely ready to take on the extra load.

Our servers handle more than one million API requests per hour during peak load, while thousands of people are using the platform at once. On the 20th of April, during peak load, our North American read-only database suffered a crash, causing intermittent slowness for users in the West. We were quick to redirect traffic to an unaffected region, repair the broken database, and make changes to prevent a similar accident in the future.

We’ve now upgraded our server infrastructure and made many optimizations for performance.

You can now view your sent transactions 🔍

You can now view the details of any transactions made from your web wallet in the last 90 days.

Go to your wallet and click “View sent transactions”.

Litecoin is in the works 👷

The deployment of Litecoin has been delayed because of tasks that took a higher priority, but now Litecoin is at the top of the list for development. Litecoin escrow is currently in rapid development.

We know that many of you are waiting eagerly for us to launch Litecoin trading, and we appreciate your patience so far.

Another update will be posted before Litecoin becomes available on LocalCryptos.

Margin percentages next to rates

We now show you the percentage difference between an offer’s rate and the live market price from CoinMarketCap.

This makes it more convenient for you to compare offers, especially when they’re priced in different currencies.

LocalCryptos is a peer-to-peer crypto marketplace with more than 100,000 users worldwide with traders in 100+ countries (Venezuela being #1). It’s the most popular non-custodial fiat on/off-ramp.