LoCoins exchange explained
In this post we go back to the basics and examine what LoCoins has to offer to its users as well as its retail partners. We also sit down with LoCoins CEO Peter Trček to get a better understanding of the product.
What is LoCoins?
LoCoins is a crypto exchange service for physical locations. Let’s break that down:
- Crypto obviously means cryptocurrencies, currently supported are: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH and DAI.
- Exchange service means that users can exchange their fiat funds (USD, EUR, GBP..) for one of the mentioned cryptocurrencies. It works both ways so we usually talk about:
- Buying crypto when, for example, user pays her EUR to receive BTC; or
- Selling crypto when, for exmaple, user pays his BTC to receive EUR.
- And finally, physical locations means that the users go to a physical location, such as a store, kiosk or hotel lobby to finish the exchange transaction, that is pay (when buying) or collect (when selling) their fiat funds – usually in cash.
LoCoins does not own the physical locations but rather depends on retail business partners to act as agents, similar to Western Union or Paysafecard. This allows better geographical distribution so that users don’t have to go far to pay or collect cash for their exchanges. On the other side, retail businesses can simply add a new revenue stream and increase foot traffic, all without the need for any hardware, special knowledge or be exposed to the risks of dealing with cryptocurrencies (LoCoins handles crypto liquidity, regulatory compliance and handles security risks).
How does it compare?
OK, at this point you may be thinking: “There are already so many exchange platforms online and for quick cash there are always crypto ATMs!” So how does LoCoins compare to its alternatives?
It depends on the user’s situation, really. If the user’s main goal behind an exchange is to trade, they will probably look for a reputable platform with low fees and won’t care how long the whole process of fiat (in cash or out of the bank) to crypto (in their secured wallet) will take. However for someone else taking into account not just the speed of the service but also the convenience, security and overall user experience, LoCoins’s higher-than-trading-platforms’ fees become more then justified. Plus your coins are in your wallet rather than leaving them at risk on a 3rd party platform.
In fact, we don’t have to look too for an analogy – while most of the global volume of traditional currency exchanges happens on forex platforms and through OTCs, there is still a considerable market for the retail-level exchange providers – exchange bureau businesses from one-kiosk-gigs to global chains like Travelex and even banks provide everyday consumers with a simple, fast and secure exchange service. As cryptocurrency space matures (and becomes regulated) this market segment will be served by the most competent provider.
Steps to buy and sell
Next let’s take a quick look at what the process is for the user to buy or sell crypto with LoCoins.
- Register / Log-in to your LoCoins account.
- Select preferred location based on the fees, limits, opening hours and how far it is.
- Confirm the price and:
- (when buying) provide your wallet address.
- (when selling) send crypto to the provided address.
- Visit the selected location immediately and scan the QR code received in the last step, then:
- (when buying) pay the agreed amount in cash and receive crypto in a matter of minutes to your address.
- (when selling) collect the agreed amount in cash as soon as your transaction is confirmed on the network.
- That’s it. No waiting, no additional steps. You just show up and finish the transaction like you would with any other product in the shop.
Here’s the whole flow in action to get a better fell for it:
Lastly, we’ve caught up with Peter at a recent DeFi event where he talked about DAI and announced LoCoins support for this new promising stablecoin.
Peter Trček has been seriously involved with crypto since 2014 when he introduced the first crypto ATMs in the region. In the last 5 years he has grown the ATM business into a recognizable regional brand Bitnik and is also heavily engaged in the crypto community. He founded LoCoins in late 2017 with a few like minded industry veterans.
Q: Why did you decide to create LoCoins on top of a successful crypto ATM business?
Peter: We’ve been through everything with ATMs, from Bitcoin being still mostly unknown to its biggest hype cycle and all the time since then. While we were successful in each period we also learned there is one consistent restraint for developing this business further – scaling. It would be impossible to implement a viable network of 30+ ATMs in the region purely due to operational costs and logistics, while at the same time we’ve achieved the same result with LoCoins in a matter of a few months.
Q: For end users the costs in retail are still higher than most online services. Why do you think people would use LoCoins instead of one of the popular online platforms?
Peter: I don’t have to think, I rather look at the data (laugh). Crypto ATM business is thriving regardless of the BTC price fluctuations with new ATMs being installed all the time in addition to other options such as vouchers and, to some extent, P2P. A combination of factors such as increasing regulatory compliance (in practice meaning tougher AML rules among others), poor user experience and costs related to scaling these business models results in more overhead than most companies can justify.
Q: But still.. for anyone not completely new to crypto, why does it make sense to use LoCoins instead of, for example, Kraken or Bitstamp?
Peter: LoCoins isn’t always the best option for everyone. We also do not target specifically total newbies.. in order to complete an exchange at LoCoins you have to provide your own wallet. This is more secure than trusting your funds to a 3rd party; at LoCoins we also never hold any user’s funds. Cash in hand is still appealing to a lot of users and being able to easily and safely exchange your ETH to EUR (for example) in a matter of a few minutes, sometimes comes in handy to even the most hardcore of traders.
Q: So as a user, what type of information do I need to submit? Are there limits to how much I can buy or sell?
Peter: We’re always looking for a good balance – what is the best experience we can offer while fully complying to all relevant regulations? In order to complete an exchange you firstly need to register an account with your email. As an anonymous account you are allowed to exchange smaller amounts. To increase these limits you can provide your phone number and then go through the full KYC process (submit your ID documents) to unlock the highest limits, just like with any reputable exchange. The limits depend on the local AML legislation and the type of the shop.
Q: Who are your retail partners and what is their experience with LoCoins so far?
Peter: To bring the product from it’s proof-of-concept stage to a mature solution we’ve focused on organic growth and partnering mostly with interested business owners who already knew crypto. LoCoins can currently be found in currency exchange points, petrol stations, financial service providers, vape shops, etc. We are now focusing on integrating with larger retail chains in order to grow the network and reach more people. Motivation for including LoCoins into its offering is different for each retailer, some focus on increasing their foot traffic by providing innovative services while others count on a new revenue stream, especially when they believe another hype may be on the horizon.
Q: Lastly, are there any questions you get a lot or common misconceptions about LoCoins that you would like to use this opportunity to clarify?
Peter: LoCoins is not a coin or a token and we have never done (or plan to do) an ICO, STO or IEO. Another one is about clarifying what we do – LoCoins service enables retailer partners to provide a crypto<>exchange service and not being able to accept crypto as a payment method by their customers. We also do not offer any wallet functionality, we believe in enabling secure and transparent exchange transactions without holding users’ funds.