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Author Topic: In person trading considerations and suggestions  (Read 855 times)
Serenata
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April 04, 2012, 03:26:23 PM
 #1

Hello all!

I searched the forum and can't find any thread that sums up all the suggestions, considerations and best practices for trading in person. Although trading in person can be quite limited and limiting, I believe there are people who would prefer hand to hand exchange than buying Bitcoins via wire or bank transfers. We wouldn't want to discourage those people, would we?  Roll Eyes

To get the conversation started, here are my thoughts about it...

SAFETY
  • Pick a public place to meet, where there are lots of other people around, like malls, cafes etc.
  • Check for any reputation, like being a member of bitcointalk.org or other reputable site/forum
  • Keep the trading volume low. Even if something goes bad, your loss is minimal.

TRADING
  • State your presence in sites and services (check section Sites and Services below)
  • If you are selling BTC and the client asks you to prove that you have the required amount, make a new wallet and transfer there the amount asked. Encrypt the wallet with a really strong pass-phrase and send it over via email. Finally meet in person to exchange the money with the pass-phrase. If you don't hear from the buyer within 48 hours, transfer those BTCs back to your wallet.
  • Meet at an Internet cafe and bring your laptop with you (if you're selling BTC). Make the required transaction and have some (not to many Tongue ) beers while waiting for the confirmations.
  • Consider using services like https://www.instawallet.org for small amounts.
  • Never carry a "big" wallet on you.
  • Take notes of good and bad traders

FEES AND RATES
  • Pick an average (of 7 or 30 days) exchange rate from a well established site, (bitcoincharts.com maybe?) and add your fee to that.
  • Keeping your fees low and having a clear policy, will encourage more transactions.

SITES and SERVICES


By all means, please feel free to correct any of the above and/or add your own thoughts.


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Stephen Gornick
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April 04, 2012, 06:27:12 PM
 #2

  • Pick a public place to meet, where there are lots of other people around, like malls, cafes etc.

So that you don't get mugged or shot for the $200 cash and/or the bitcoins being traded.

That's one reason some people really don't want to be trading person-to-person.  Yes, using reputation such as the trust history in the #bitcoin-otc's Web of Trust (WoT) will help lessen the risks.

I've come across what is essentially a $5 intra metro-area delivery service in the U.S..   I'm thinking it might help here:
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=74912.0

Serenata
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April 05, 2012, 06:28:36 AM
 #3

Yeap, yeap, I stumbled upon your post while looking for information about in person trading. Sounds really interesting for those people living in those cities.

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April 05, 2012, 06:36:51 PM
 #4

SAFETY
  • Pick a public place to meet, where there are lots of other people around, like malls, cafes etc.
  • Check for any reputation, like being a member of bitcointalk.org or other reputable site/forum
  • Keep the trading volume low. Even if something goes bad, your loss is minimal.

That first point is critical. You don't have to actually meet, either - a publicly-located physical drop box or drop point works; e.g. ask a reliable coffee shop employee to hold the flash drive for a person buying a particular drink - not only is it a fun bit of pseudo-clandestine excitement for all involved, but it introduces another layer of protection; and be sure to leave a nice tip.

It really works only after establishing a reliable relationship, but it's worthwhile.

TRADING
  • State your presence in sites and services (check section Sites and Services below)
  • If you are selling BTC and the client asks you to prove that you have the required amount, make a new wallet and transfer there the amount asked. Encrypt the wallet with a really strong pass-phrase and send it over via email. Finally meet in person to exchange the money with the pass-phrase. If you don't hear from the buyer within 48 hours, transfer those BTCs back to your wallet.
  • Meet at an Internet cafe and bring your laptop with you (if you're selling BTC). Make the required transaction and have some (not to many Tongue ) beers while waiting for the confirmations.
  • Consider using services like https://www.instawallet.org for small amounts.
  • Never carry a "big" wallet on you.
  • Take notes of good and bad traders

You should only send the encryption passphrase after the exchange, not before. Maintain control at all times, especially for large amounts and/or high volume. If you've done a few small-ish transactions already, the buyer should have no problem with this.

Another technique that can be used is to create an empty or partial wallet, ship or drop it at a specified exchange location, then transfer the rest of the purchase upon receipt of payment.

HipSwap is cool, if pricey. Also, the delivery service is only available in Los Angeles for now. Other courier services would work as well, or even hiring a kid with a bike or car if the price is right. Even a UPS driver delivered a flash drive once (gave a few dollars and it was in the area), after I received payment of course.
Serenata
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April 06, 2012, 08:04:37 AM
 #5

You don't have to actually meet, either - a publicly-located physical drop box or drop point works; e.g. ask a reliable coffee shop employee to hold the flash drive for a person buying a particular drink - not only is it a fun bit of pseudo-clandestine excitement for all involved, but it introduces another layer of protection; and be sure to leave a nice tip.
Hmmm... Interesting thought. Sounds like fun Smiley

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