P2P Exchange Hodl Hodl Sneaks Around China's Google Firewall

Hodl Hodl said Google's reCAPTCHA service, blocked by Chinese firewalls, prevented Asian users from logging on.

AccessTimeIconAug 27, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:23 a.m. UTC

Peer-to-peer bitcoin trading just got a little bit bigger thanks to a simple technical change.

On a company blog post, multi-sig P2P bitcoin exchange Hodl Hodl announced the extension of its services to China. Hodl Hodl said Google's reCAPTCHA service, used by the exchange and blocked by Chinese firewalls, was to blame.

As part of its on-boarding and trading services, Hodl Hodl uses Google’s reCAPTCHA service to identify bots. By moving off of Google’s service in China, Hodl Hodl was able to open up Chinese traders to its platform.

Speaking with CoinDesk, Hodl Hodl team manager Arthur Zaharov said the exchange has always accepted Chinese traders, the problem came down to China's Great Firewall. Moreover, Hodl Hodl expects China to be a large market moving forward:

"For the privacy and security of our customers, we don't publicly provide data on P2P trading on our platform, but I can say that there's a huge demand in this country for P2P trading, especially after the biggest centralized exchanges disappeared from radar some time ago.

And yes, we plan to firmly gain a foothold in the market and expect China to be one of the biggest markets we serve."

P2P trading expands

In May, P2P bitcoin trading site LocalBitcoins blocked Iranian traders from using the platform. As CoinDesk reported at the time, the move most likely came down to U.S. sanctions against the Iranian government and economy.

As Iranian traders were cut off from the site, they sought and found alternatives such as Hodl Hodl.

In fact, when LocalBitcoins went dark in Iran, Hodl Hodl had just added Farsi language support. It is now adding Mandarin right now.

Currently, Hodl Hodl is working on access for U.S. traders, the only country the service does not operate in. As a P2P exchange "[Hodl Hodl's] position is to be opened for as many people as possible,” Zaharov said.

Firewall image via Shutterstock


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