Payment Face to Face

The way is implemented now, do bank account age also register number and quality of trades made? Because the main objective of this measure is to prevent btc sellers from stolen bank accounts, where theft is highly motivated to empty the bank account as soon as possible.

Yes with the APIs remote controlling the app can be done.

My main concern is if we are not 10 times better (or even worse) than LBTC why should users move?
LBTC has reputation and ID verification in place which helps for such a model. Also as it is a webpage it is easier to access for many. Don’t misunderstand me I would really love to find a way, I am just skeptical that the effort is worth it.
Bisq’s main value proposition is privacy and security. With F2F trades I think we are still short with security compared to LBTC.

No it only takes the date when the payment account was created.
See: https://github.com/bisq-network/proposals/blob/master/payment-account-age-witness.adoc

Yeah, if a buyer can’t prove he gave cash or the receiver can’t prove he didn’t receive it, Bisq can’t be of any use here. It would just bind Bisq’s reputation with something it has nothing to do with. A simple P2P message protocol would be just as efficient here.

2 Likes

So that would be another difficulty for F2F because we can only prove the age of an account, not good past behaviour.

I think it would be very interesting, for any purpose, to enter in the AccountAgeWitness the information, True or False, of whether the user has successfully made at least one operation. I do not think it’s a good idea to extend the concept to the number of trades, but it would be a good idea to know that a user has made at least one operation. The referee of the operation could block that flag

I do not think any P2P messaging protocol can be better than Bisq in that purpose, Bisq is less vulnerable to bans and less vulnerable to social engineering, and the use of bank account information would protect both sides.

It is true that some operations could fail, I think you will never find a completely perfect solution to this type of trade, but then buy BTC in a P2P system will always pass, inexorably, by a bank?

Do you think that feature would outperform LBTC? If so by which factor?

In Germany, LCBT is forbidden, which makes it easy to see that there the Bisq solution would be better than LCBT by a factor of 100%. The same for the rest of the countries where it can not be used.

On the other hand, trading F2F knowing who the other person is and without aggressive identity tests, seems better than a reputation system, which tends to centralize the system, and ends up producing more problems than it solves:

The factor that would improve this to the LCTB system, will be the quotient of the success rate of operations in Bisq and LCBTC

My reasoning is that if the operation starts with two users with verified bank accounts, an offer taken in Bisq with the corresponding security deposits, and a chosen location among several (up to 6 for example) proposals, the operation is more likely to succeed than one of LCTB that uses less reliable systems and can be subject to social engineering scams.

2 Likes

Thanks for your summary of your view. I share it partly but I am still not convinced enough to put it as high priority for myself. But any dev is welcome to work on it (I need to focus also on the DAO and arbitration system anyway so even if I would be more convinced I would not be able to do it). It comes with a bit of effort to make it user-friendly so it will be considerable more effort than adding a normal payment method.

I want to emphasize that your idea with using the past trades with a bank account as a form of piggybacking KYC is a very interesting one!

2 Likes

I think that:

  1. The hardest part about arranging a F2F exchange is finding a willing exchange partner locally. Doing so requires a service with enough network effect to attract participants worldwide.

  2. LBC is useful for this, but they try to funnel users through their escrow service which means loss of possession of coins and trusting a centralized third party at least temporarily. Not everyone wants that, and some like myself actively avoid it and will only deal with the few traders that publish their contact info so no need to use LBC’s deposit-based communication channels. This leaves a market opportunity (niche) for Bisq, which should not require escrow.

  3. Bisq can serve a useful function to facilitate two parties finding each other and arranging a meeting location. Most of the infrastructure is already in place: offers, orderbook, p2p network, growing trading community, etc.

  4. It is a mistake for Bisq to attempt to arbitrate or take any position of responsibility for the trades. reason: It is practically impossible for Bisq arbitrators to validate the transaction. Even if video recorded by both parties, the bills could be counterfeit, etc.

  5. Reputation system(s) can help with (3) but are not a guarantee. Also, are difficult to implement without a way to validate that trades occurred successfully, and to avoid gaming eg via fake/sybil accounts trading with eachother.

  6. Given (3) and (4) the only valid approach I see is for Bisq to simply give both traders a big BOLD disclaimer stating that they are entirely responsible for results of the trade, no arbitration is possible, and they could very well be robbed, harmed, scammed, etc, etc, and make user explicitly acknowledge that risk before each and every transaction, possibly by requiring user to even manually type or handright/sign a sentence of acknowledgement. This is to cover Bisq’s ass. :slight_smile:

  7. There are some users such as myself that have never and will never perform trades that require identity through a bank, and also will never use a third-party based escrow. (Not your keys, not your bitcoin). As far as I know, there is not any service that directly caters to this use-case. Bisq is perfectly suited to do it.

  8. Additional services surrounding the trades could be provided by third parties. For example a service to stream video to during the trade, in case of robbery. Or an escrow service. Or checking cash bills for counterfeiting. Or even an armed 3rd party bodyguard to accompany and “watch your back”. Or even performing the exchange on your behalf for a fee. These things do not need to be provided by Bisq directly. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. Bisq needs to recognize that its only role here is matchmaker to facilitate/initiate a trade… not to create some sort of false guarantee warm fuzzy for participants. Indeed, provision of these services can be thought of as market opportunities for early members of this community / forum.

  9. IANAL, but I would think that by NOT providing a reputation system, abitration, requiring deposit, or any pretense at protecting users and actively warning them up front, Bisq would be in a better situation legally in case of harm to F2F traders than if Bisq does try to protect them, or makes any assurances of protection, and fails.

  10. Even given (9) I personally would find it helpful if a reputation system is in place. I would suggest the following: a trader can have a count of the number of successful (without arbitration) fiat trades performed with trade partner via banking institution. This count would exclude crypto-crypto trades and F2F trades because these are too easy to fake/game. Individuals that provide a lot of liquidity would surely perform many many such trades, and thus could accumulate a count of 10s or 100s of trades.

Those are my thoughts, as someone that cannot / will not use Bisq for fiat exchanges with the present model, but likely would if the above approach is adopted.

2 Likes

Perhaps one day Bisq will have multiple purposes, but F2F is going to be very different from current trades.
Maybe what makes the most sense is to have the transaction recored live or in the presence of the arbitrator.
Since there would be no real way to prove that people in the video really are the traders in question or someone else. Live feed would probably be the most useful here, but obviously would require a bigger arbitration fee as it would take more time and it would have to be scheduled.
This would probably be the simplest and most similar adaptation of the Bisq protocol to F2F trades.

1 Like

Like Peertrader, I think it is wrong to try to fully control a F2F transaction. Live Feed is not the solution, it is very cumbersome. The measures that I had mentioned before should be enough.

I also agree with Peertrader that Bisq is well positioned to offer this type of service, which responds to a real demand.

Thanks for your input!

Regarding reputation (10):
How should those number be distributed and verified? Locally we have that and you can verify the trades you did with another peer but if you get a P2P network message stating that 2 peers have traded you would need to look up the blockchain to verify the txs and get a proof that those are the peers who made those txs. The trade statistics objects carry such partially but don’t contain data which would reveal the identities of the traders (no onion or any other data where you could link them). Otherwise you would have privacy implications… Global reputation in a decentralized environment is hard or impossible without breaking privacy. At least I have not seen any idea yet who it could work (WoT might be still the best we can get).

To the rest:
It reminds me on the idea for a P2P lending market which was motivated by the problem or first time traders who have no BTC to pay the deposit and fees. Also there it was intentionally left to the users to find a secure way how to make the deal and Bisq would be only the meeting place (Craigslist like) without any security tools.
Implementing such is not very difficult but (as mostly UI work) time consuming enough to not make it without testing real demand for that. That’s why I started a Forum thread about lending small amounts for first time users to see if there is a demand and if it can work without security tools.
The result?
Demand was low (one request every few months) and most of those who used it did not pay back. I stopped after a while to give those small loans as it was just lost money and I did not had time to remind them to pay back after weeks…
Sure a F2F trade has other context and with it’s physical character has additional security aspects.

I personally doubt that there is a large enough market of those people with the profile you describe to get the network effect and liquidity. Bisq network will not help so much if only 1% of Bisq users would use such a F2F trade because of lack of security. I personally would not, I would prefer to ask at meetups to trade F2F with people I know or other friends know. That comes with “more or less working” real life reputation but of course can fail as well as I badly experienced.

All that said I am not against to implement it if anyone wants to work on it. I just doubt that the effort is worth the result, but maybe I am wrong? But feel free to work on it!

But I want to emphasize that those discussions are really valuable as they have already delivered 2 interesting protection features: Using past bank transfers as form of KYC and the live steaming with an arbitrator (though I agree that it does not sound very feasible).
So hopefully some day the “perfect” solution comes up so we really get a solution for a secure F2F trade option!

Well darn… :cry:

I happen to be in Germany, and was hoping to use the “Starter Package” loan method to help me and a friend get started. I appreciate the heads up before i started looking into F2F/LCBTC system @erizo.

I realized that Localbitcoins is requiring to verify your identity before even posting a F2F exchange.
I felt that the way Localbitcoins worked was good ennough, because you could enter the web through TOR, use a disposable mail and protect your privacy this way. Now it’s impossible. In fact, they are incentivizing the use of fake documents.
I imagined that this model, pressured by regulation and looking for profit (F2F exchanges could not be monetized) would end bad, but that after this, another place would be used. But I don’t thing there’s one, while the need is still there because exchange of cash for btc is still the best privacy protective method.

I think it’s pointless to have arbitrators involved in F2F, especially if bisq wants to be as decentralized as possible.

Seems to me, the best way it could work on bisq is with 2of2 full deposit escrow, and clear warnings of greatest risk.

If i remember right the BlackHalo guys made a very convincing argument for it on a pod a few years ago. Might have been on LetsTalkBitcoin, but don’t remember where.

Their position, if i understand correctly, is that it’s best to eliminate arbitrators in any kind of bitcoin trade:

Seems to me, you don’t have to outperform LBC, if you just provide the same capability.

I left LBC completely once they decided to force me to “verify”, even though I had a perfect feedback record after 4+ years there.

Bisq is already infinitely better than LBC, because it doesn’t hold your bitcoin, IF you want F2F escrow.

2 Likes

I started Bisq in the very beginning with that 2of2 Multisig idea as well but Adam Gibson discovered a conceptual flaw in it which could be ignored if the project is small but which would lead to a failure if the project gets bigger and attracts those who abuse any security flaw.
It is that there is always a asymmetric balance of what a buyer or seller has to lose as the seller has to put the BTC in and the fiat transfer takes time and it is not an atomic transaction. So the one who has less to lose has a game-theoretical incentive to abuse his power position by extorting the peer. E.g. If I Alice has 1 BTC locked in and Bob 1.1 BTC Alice could extort Bob to never sign the payout and Bob would lose 0.1 more than Alice.
She can ask Bob to send her 0.05 BTC so Bob is losing only 0.05 BTC instead having locked up 1.1 forever.

1 Like

At the moment, I’d be happy if I could use a Bitcoin specialized ad service to post F2F ad offers near to me. I’m going to check if using Openbazaar for this is a possibility.