Bitcoin & Monero are decentralised units of exchange, providing true financial sovereignty to those that use them whilst simultaneously providing a lifeline from the corruption of the legacy financial system. Sadly, many choose to use these tools in a non-sovereign manner, instead opting to use regulated, custodial services to buy, sell & store their coins. These services typically request some form of identification before they will allow users to transact with more significant amounts.
These companies have large advertising budgets responsible for attracting many new users to the space. The applications are often easy to use and provide instant market price transactions, making them an attractive looking option for beginners; however, they also crush the same liberties as the legacy banking system. They delist privacy coins that are impossible to surveil and flag transactions without a strong reverse lineage of ID verification, claiming that those who use focussed privacy tools must somehow be involved in crime.
What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.Satoshi Nakamoto
Those introduced to bitcoin through regulated platforms often do not even understand the premise of peer-to-peer transacting. In a nutshell, you are trading directly with other privacy-focused individuals in a decentralised manner. P2P platforms are typically non-custodial, providing a secure escrow service to ensure a smooth and safe transaction without the involvement of third parties.
Storing assets on a regulated platform without access to your funds outside the company’s withdrawal portal is incredibly risky. Many unlucky Celsius customers recently discovered that these companies could disable the withdrawal button at the first sign of financial difficulty, leaving the future of your savings in the hands of bankruptcy lawyers.
One of my favourite P2P platforms is Agoradesk since they provide excellent web and application-based interfaces. They supply users with an efficient, anonymous and easy-to-use platform, allowing the sale and purchase of both bitcoin and Monero using fiat currencies. Many different payment methods are available, with good liquidity on the most common, and they even provide a handful of options for local trades.
Agoradesk recently released mobile applications, making P2P trading on the move more efficient. You can download the applications directly from the Apple Store or Google Play. Android users also can directly download package APKs, suitable for those running privacy focussed Android operating systems.
Create an account using a unique username, email address, and password. I’d also recommend the use of a VPN for added privacy.
Searching for trade partners.
You can filter all available listings in the “Market” tab to find a trade partner matching your criteria. At the top of the screen, starting from the left, choose the type of trade you require. In this example, I am looking to make a purchase, so I select “Online Buy“, and I want to purchase XMR, so in the following box, I choose “Monero“. Finally, the filter box allows you to narrow your search based on your location & desired payment method.
There are a lot of different payment methods to choose from depending on your geographical location; some even support instant currency exchanges, allowing you to use alternate currencies with potentially higher liquidity. You can also select “Cryptocurrency” as a payment method if you wish to trade one coin for another. Under the country field, you can choose a specific country to deal with or select “Any Country” to trade worldwide with anybody accepting your chosen currency.
The “Apply” button will populate the page with all listings matching your filters. Some searches will offer more results than others, so you may wish to try a different payment method, currency, or location if you struggle to find results. If you cannot find any matches, do not worry, you can always create your own advert using the same criteria.
Creating an Ad.
If you plan to sell coins, you first need to deposit them into your arbitration bond wallet, accessed from the “Wallet” tab on the lower left side of the application menu. To create your listing select the “Ads” option from the same menu & hit the “+” button to begin.
First, select either Bitcoin or Monero and choose whether you wish to buy or sell. Next, enter your country, the currency you want to transact with, and your desired payment method. Agoradesk is compatible with many of the most popular payment methods, but not all choices are available worldwide. Some payment methods have better liquidity for specific countries and currencies, so you may want to try a few combinations or exchange your funds for a foreign currency.
In step 3, you will set the price that you wish to buy or sell at. You can set your price at a fixed rate that will remain the same regardless of market fluctuations, or you can set a dynamic price that will stay synchronised with the market price. As an example, you could select “Market price“, and in the “Margin” box, enter “-1“, which would ensure your price is always 1% below market. You can also do the opposite by entering “2“, which would result in your price always being 2% higher than the current market rate.
You should set this figure depending on how quickly you want your trade to complete. Offering to buy something 5% above the market rate will find a peer much quicker than asking to buy at 2% below the market price. If you are patient, just set it to market price, but if you are in a rush, offering peers a desirable rate will result in a more efficient trade.
Enter your settlement wallet address and select your network fees in the following step. I recommend setting it to slow unless you have a specific reason for speeding up the process.
Step 5 is where you can set your minimum & maximum transaction limits. Your maximum will be the total amount you have to trade, and your minimum will be the lowest amount of liquidity that a peer can take from your listing in any trade. For example, if I set my maximum to $500 and my minimum to $100, then a peer could create a transaction for any amount between $100-$500.
The “Track maximum liquidity” switch will automatically adjust your listing’s available liquidity as trades are completed, preventing further transactions once depleted. Setting the minimum & maximum figures to the same number means that all available liquidity must be taken from the ad in a single trade.
You’ll notice a box labelled “Restrict limit amounts“, which allows you to specify exact quantities that will only be available to take. For example, setting it to 100,200,300 will only allow visitors to trade those precise amounts in a trade; however, leaving this box blank will enable transactions for any amount between the minimum and maximum range previously set.
In step 6, you can optionally choose to add further details regarding the payment method and terms of trade. This information is public, so don’t add personal account information, but it can help to make your ad stand out from the crowd.
Finally, you can make the listing public or viewable only to previously labelled trustworthy users. You can also set your payment window time here, the maximum amount of time within which a payment must be completed.
Once step 7 is complete, you are presented with a confirmation screen where you can review the full details of your listing. Browse through, ensuring everything is correct, before pressing “Next” to publish your advert. Now that your listing is live, it’s just a matter of waiting for a trade. You can toggle the visibility of your listing on or off whenever you wish. This is important to remember as you don’t want trades expiring whilst you are working or asleep.
Completing a trade.
You will be notified when another user makes an offer on one of your listings. You can revisit important trade notifications by pressing the bell icon found on the upper left-hand side of the screen.
The “Trades” tab, from the main menu bar, is where you will find a list of your open, completed & cancelled trades. Once another user starts a transaction with you, it will immediately show as open. Selecting it from the list will open a trade window consisting of activity and chat tabs.
The activity tab provides detailed trade information, including the amount of BTC/XMR being traded, the total payment figure, the final market rate at which the trade was accepted, and your trade partner’s username. The “Chat” tab is where you will communicate directly with your peer and where the seller will provide you with the specific payment details required to complete the payment. All chat logs are encrypted between yourself and your partner.
It’s essential only to trade the amount shown explicitly in the “Activity” tab, using only the payment method selected for the trade. It’s OK to arrange other transactions with your partner; however, NEVER attempt to trade any amounts more significant than what is displayed in the activity tab or place any trades outside the Agoradesk platform.
Once the payment is sent, the buyer should select the “I have paid” button. Once chosen, neither party can cancel the trade, and the seller will be instructed to check that the correct amount has been received. Once confirmed, the seller will select the “Release BTC/XMR” button, giving Agoradesk the go-ahead to release the coins to the buyer’s settlement address.
How quickly these coins will arrive varies, depending on the market conditions and network fees selected, but it will typically take anywhere from 10-60 minutes. The trade will show as “Processing” and provide step-by-step tracking of the settlement progress. Once the coins are received minus the network fees, the transaction is complete.
The final step for both peers will be to leave user feedback. This is an optional but recommended gesture, especially for newer users looking to build up an account reputation. It also assists others in avoiding potentially problematic members, something I have never personally experienced. You can also add the trading partner to your “Trusted” list, which is helpful if you want to make use of the “Trusted Users Only” restriction in the future, found in step 7 of the “post an ad” process.
As with everything, practice makes perfect, it’s impossible to list every step and feature in detail, but by reading this, you should have an excellent foundation to start your peer-to-peer journey. There are many P2P platforms available, most with similar interfaces; however, Agoradesk has a great application & excellent reputation.
As a new user, you may find that some sellers may not want to trade with users with 0% feedback and that those who will ask for a more significant premium. Once your first trade is completed and your partner has left feedback, you will have a 100% reputation score and be free to trade with anyone. Remember, you always have the option to create your own advert if you cannot find any listings at a fair price.
I hope this guide helps those apprehensive about P2P platforms. Those sweet KYC-free sats will make your patience worthwhile.