LocalBitcoins has added a new section to its website where users can send and manage invoices, allowing them to receive customer payments in bitcoin.
The offering marks the peer-to-peer platform’s first merchant-specific product, and follows a period of heavy demand, according to founder and CEO Jeremias Kangas.
Kangas framed the tool as a basic offering that would nonetheless prove effective at meeting the needs of merchants today before expanding to include additional functionality later.
He told CoinDesk:
“Many of our users have requested this feature, and it extends quite nicely our existing toolset.”
Kangas indicated that the invoicing tool was originally developed for the company’s bitcoin ATM product, but he said the decision was made to extend it to all users. While simple in its current iteration, LocalBitcoins plans to build on this offering, saying:
The CEO added that such a move could allow LocalBitcoins to take advantage of its global reach and available liquidity in a wide range of local currencies, while integrating novel features that allow merchants to take advantage of its local trader network.
How billing works
Like many of the peer-to-peer platform’s offerings, its new merchant tools have a minimalist design that favors ease of use over functionality.
Users can issue invoices in any currency, and the amount included will convert to BTC at the current exchange rate when opened by the recipient.
Payment can be made with any bitcoin wallet, and each invoice uses a unique bitcoin address as a payment reference.
Bitcoin ATM orders
The announcement also demonstrates how LocalBitcoins is seeking to build on its existing services to create a wider network of offerings for both consumers and merchants.
For example, LocalBitcoins announced last week that it had begun taking orders for a bitcoin ATM it first revealed back in February. One unit costs roughly €1,499, plus VAT for individuals in the European Union.
The company says that the ATM is unique because it does not require an Internet connection. The ATM issues and receives redeemable codes along with cash, while the actual bitcoin exchange happens on the LocalBitcoins website, making the machine a “cash-box”.
According to the company, the ATM has been able to handle more than 300 BTC in volume with premiums of 5–8%. It is programmed to handle any known currency, although it can only transact using one at a time.
Despite its success in expanding globally, LocalBitcoins has been the subject of a number of security concerns this year, including delayed transactions and wallet issues caused by malware, a security breach targeting the site infrastructure and an outage brought on by server hardware issues.
The company is also at the center of a Florida state criminal case involving a user charged with operating an unauthorized money transmission business.
Based in Finland, LocalBitcoins aims to help facilitate the buying and selling of bitcoin for local currency. Users post their trade on the website or can respond to others’ offers, choosing to pay in cash in person or through online banking.
Images via LocalBitcoins and Shutterstock