LocalEthereum is a peer-to-peer marketplace to match buyers and sellers for Ether. Transactions between market can be organised in a number of ways. Participants can organise to meet face-to-face for cash transactions. LocalEthereum enables participants to find a counterparty who is willing to trade Ether for their local currency meaning it facilitates a wide variety of fiat currencies to exchange with cryptocurrency.
Transfers of Ethereum are escrowed by an Ethereum smart contract. This means they are decentralized and out of the hands of a centralized authority. The process is straightforward with the seller placing their Ether into a smart contract showing proof of funds. The buyer makes the payment to escrow. Once the seller confirms the payment, the Ether is released. If there is a payment dispute, LocalEthereum will bring in a third-party arbitrator.
Messages between parties are encrypted and the participants in the conversation are provided with a private key which deciphers the message. The private key can be given to the arbitrator in the event of a payment dispute.