LocalBitcoins exchange withdraws from Iran despite recent boom in trading; US sanctions possible explanation

Helsinki-based peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins has stopped offering its services in Iran, CoinDesk writes. The decision is most likely due to pressure from U.S.-led sanctions, although the firm did not specify their rationale beyond saying they had withdrawn from the region for "risk-based reasons" on Twitter.

The exchange had become one of the most popular, liquid and trusted sites for Iranians, as it was linked to local bank accounts rather than requiring an international credit card. Indeed, trading volumes in the local currency had recently been rising on the platform. But since Monday, users on Telegram began reporting issues with new trades and updating existing ones. The platform has since confirmed it is no longer supported in Iran.

While people can still withdraw their bitcoins from the site, they cannot make any new trades.

The platform is not the first to ban Iran; Binance, Bittrex and ShapeShift have also stopped offering services there. Still, other decentralised exchanges like Bisq, Hodl Hodl and KeepChange remain available.