What is the point of a mediator?

I have completed 100s of trades on Bisq and I only ever lodge a dispute when there’s a genuine reason for the arbitrator to be involved (usually due to bugs, but sometimes when the other party goes AWOL). What is the point of this middle step other than just to slow down the resolutions? I don’t see how they can help me what so ever.

Also how do I reach an arbitrator now.

Edit: I didn’t realise mediators could make payout suggestions. Sorry for the confusion. I think I can see the point now!

Recent Bisq updates introduced 2 elements:

  • trader chat, which should help you resolve small issues with your counter-parties directly
  • mediators, who should be able to help with most other issues (as you said, they can make payout suggestions)

These 2 layers make arbitrators a third layer for dispute resolution which should be rarely needed—the intention is that the first 2 layers will take care of the vast majority of trade issues quickly and efficiently.

This puts the network on a path to eventually get rid of arbitrators. They’re big trust points, legal liabilities, relatively expensive, not scalable…many issues, basically the weakest link in the Bisq network right now.

Exactly how this will happen is not 100% decided, but there was a call on Tuesday to discuss possibilities.


As someone who has traded on Bisq 100s of times if not far more than that I have to say getting rid of arbitrators scares the hell out of me. I’ve had at least 5x 2BTC trades where the other party hasn’t released and hasn’t responded at all to arbitrators (disappeared and never come back again). So if Bisq stopped having arbitrators without a 100% safe replacement I’d probably have to stop trading because I couldn’t afford to lose 10BTC in 6 months.

Thanks for the youtube link, I’ll check that out to see what solutions have been discussed. Hopefully it’s come along from the previous suggestion that I think was completely untenable (maybe compensating people where the other party runs off without releasing)

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Just wanted to update and share my first experience with mediation: it didn’t work and I still needed an arbitrator. Got a Java exception when trying to accept the payout suggestion. Will file a github issue when i get a chance.


I believe this is a good step. However a few thins are missing here.

1: Update the FAQ? As a complete newbie I was not aware of this extra step.
2: Time and speed

Let me explain:

Current contract in Brazilian reais has a 4 days trading time. Just after this time you can request mediation which can take another 5 days. Then the arbitration proces starts. As I am still waiting for my counterpart to accept the mediation offer (which he will most likely not do) we will go to the arbitrator. My understanding is that also this proces could take five days. In total we are at 14 days.

It is clear this is taking out liquidity and is an invitation for bad actors.

I would suggest (not sure how to do this) the following:

Time to close the contract 2 hours (rather than 4 days)
Time to mediate 1 day, with prolongation of x-hours if requested by one of the parties involved (e.g. providing proof, bank statement etc)
Time to arbitrate, max 1 day.