Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Otanacoins is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange. We are a marketplace where users can buy and sell Bitcoins to and from each other. Users, called traders, create advertisements with the price and the payment method they want to offer. You can browse our website for trade advertisements and search for a payment method you prefer. You will find traders buying and selling Bitcoins online for more than 60 different payment methods.
All online trades are protected by escrow. When a trade is started the amount of Bitcoins for the trade is automatically reserved from the seller's Otanacoins Wallet. This means that if the seller runs away with your money and does not release your Bitcoins support can release the Bitcoins to you from escrow. If you're selling Bitcoins, never release the escrow before you know that you have received money from the Bitcoin buyer.

Please note that local trades do not have escrow enabled by default.

Next to each advertisement on the website the price of a Bitcoin for that advertisement is shown as currency per Bitcoin. For example, if we are buying Bitcoin with the currency US dollars the price would be shown as 10420 USD / BTC. This means that if I wanted to buy 1 Bitcoin it would cost me 10420 US dollars.

Can I buy less than 1 Bitcoin?

Absolutely! In each advertisement you see what's called limits. That shows you the least and the most amount of Bitcoins that you can buy from that advertisement.
One Bitcoin can be divided into much much smaller pieces, the smallest piece is called one satoshi and is the same as 0.00000001 BTC.

One of the best features of Bitcoin is that it gives you control over your money, but it's also this feature that makes it very different from traditional money. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible, most traditional payment methods can be charged back. This creates risk for the person selling the Bitcoins, as PayPal or a bank can take the money someone paid him out of his account after he has sent away the Bitcoins. That is why traders need to have a high price for certain payment methods, to protect themselves against this risk.

That is why we recommend for you to get the best price to pay using a hard to reverse payment method, such as Cash Deposit, bank transfers and mobile payments (Like Qiwi in Russia). When you search to buy Bitcoins, select All online offers as a payment method and you will see offers for all payment methods and you can choose one that is convenient for you and offers a better price.

What happens when I pay, and the seller doesn't give me my Bitcoins? All our online trades are protected with escrow to prevent this from happening. When the trade is started, the Bitcoin amount for the trade is taken from the sellers wallet and is held by Otanacoins for the entire time of the trade. If the seller is trying to scam you, it's easy for you to open a dispute on the trade and our support staff will contact you to ask for proof that you have paid and then give the Bitcoins to you.
We have two different types of trades on Otanacoins, local trades and online trades.

Online trades occur online entirely through our trading platform without you ever meeting your trading partner. Escrow is automatically enabled and funded for Online trades, meaning that as a buyer you’re automatically protected by our escrow system. Most of trades on Otanacoins are online trades.

Local trades are meant to be carried out face-to-face, and escrow is not automatically enabled. Because of this it is not safe to pay the seller using an online payment method in a local trade.

Online payment methods are, for example, bank transfers; PayPal; Gift card codes etc.
You can buy Bitcoins without having a mobile phone, but you will be limited to which advertisements you can reply to. By verifying your phone number with Otanacoins increases the number of advertisements that you can contact

About Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, it is not backed by any single country or bank and is usable anywhere in the world by anyone with a computer or smartphone and access to the Internet. To read up more on what Bitcoin is you can take a look at these websites.
You can store your Bitcoins in the Otanacoins Wallet, but we try to promote other Bitcoin wallets. The best way is to store your Bitcoins in a wallet on your computer or mobile phone, as that gives you complete control over your Bitcoins. Our favourite standalone Bitcoin wallet is Electrum. Paper wallets are a good idea if you want to store Bitcoin securely. Wallets on your smartphone can also be a convenient way of carrying Bitcoins around with you wherever you are.

Using Otanacoins uses a feedback system that shows a score on your public profile. This score, a percentage, shows how much positive feedback a user has.

You can only give one feedback to a user. The feedback can be one of four types: Trustworthy, Positive, Neutral, Block and Block without feedback. Once given, feedback will be visible on a user's public profile if certain conditions are met, otherwise the feedback remains unconfirmed. Unconfirmed feedback is only visible for the receiving user and to Otanacoins administrators and does not affect the feedback score.

Users that have never traded can’t leave feedback, however if they mark each other as trusted or not trusted they are able to leave trustworthy, neutral or block feedback.

Explanation of feedback types

Trustworthy Giving trustworthy feedback increases the receiver's feedback score while at the same time marks the receiver as a trusted person. People who you mark as trusted can view your Trusted Only advertisements. You can find a list of people whom you've marked as trusted under your profile.

Positive Giving positive feedback increases the receiver's feedback score.

Neutral Giving neutral feedback doesn't affect the receiver's feedback score.

Block By blocking a user he can no longer contact you, and he receives negative feedback from you which lowers his feedback score.

Block without feedback This option blocks the user from contacting you, but his feedback score remains unaffected.

Feedback that has been given can be either confirmed or unconfirmed. Confirmed feedback is shown on a user's public profile and affects the user's feedback score. Unconfirmed feedback is only visible to the receiving user and administrators. For an unconfirmed feedback to become confirmed, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • Trades between the user giving and receiving feedback must be more than 0.2 BTC
  • The total trade volume of the feedback giver must be more than 5 BTC
  • The feedback giver has verified his ID and a total trade volume of at least 0.1 BTC
Yes, you can change the feedback you've given someone else. To do so, visit their public profile and scroll down to the feedback section and click the Update your feedback button. You can't change feedback that someone else has given you, however, if you believe the feedback has mistakes you can contact your old trading partners through Closed contacts in your Dashboard and ask them to change their never edits or removes feedback left by users. The only exception is feedback containing abusive, racist language, threats or exposes personal information.
Currently we do not allow username changes due to security reasons.
  1. No direct or indirect personal attacks or insults will be allowed. Posts that antagonize, insult, belittle users or moderators will not be tolerated. Nor will racism, sexism, bigotry or foul language be accepted.
  2. No Bitcoin trades, or advertisements of any other kind may be posted to the forum.
  3. Posts talking about, referring to or suggesting tips etc. for illegal actions are strictly forbidden.
  4. Posts linking to copyrighted material or web pages containing guides on how to obtain or engage in actions which are illegal are strictly forbidden.
  5. Posts containing personally identifiable information (i.e. names, addresses, emails, phone numbers etc.) are not allowed.
  6. Posting links to phishing, scamming or hacking websites & guides is not allowed.
  7. Spamming the forums either with multiple topics or replies is forbidden.
  8. You are not allowed to ask for loans on the forums.
Users who are found breaking the rules will have their posts removed and may have their account banned either for a time period or indefinitely.

Common problems & solutions

Sometimes a trader may ask for your ID. If you are trading for the first time with a trader he/she may ask for you to identify yourself, even if you've already verified your ID with Otanacoins. This is because in certain countries sellers are required by local laws to know who their customers are. Most sellers explain in the terms of the trade if they require ID verification or not.

If you do not wish to give the seller your ID, you can always cancel the trade and search for a trader with less strict requirements.

Always send your ID to the seller via the trade chat, our trade chat messages are kept encrypted on our servers and are deleted after 180 days. All photographs sent to the trade chat is also marked with a watermark to prevent misuse of the images.
The sellers usually release Bitcoins as soon as they see your payment, which can sometimes take an hour or two. If you've paid but are still waiting there is nothing to worry about, for all online trades are protected by escrow and the seller cannot run away with your Bitcoin.

If there are any issues with a trade and the seller won't release your Bitcoins, you can dispute the trade to have Otanacoins support resolve it.

If you are buying or selling Bitcoins online, you can dispute the trade after 1 hour if you have marked the payment completed.

A dispute can no longer be started if the Bitcoins have been released from escrow or if it's a local trade without escrow enabled.

When a trade you're involved in becomes disputed, you'll receive an SMS notification and an email, in most cases simply starting the dispute is enough to get the attention of your trading partner. A disputed trade is usually resolved within 24-48 hours.

We reserve a small amount of Bitcoin from your wallet balance to pay the Bitcoin transaction fee to the Bitcoin network. Each Bitcoin transaction has to pay a small fee to the network to be confirmed no matter from where it's sent. We reserve this fee in advance to prevent your wallet balance from becoming negative. You can find a list of all of our fees on our fees page

Creating advertisements and trading Bitcoin

Every user is limited in how many advertisements he can create, when you start out you can create in total 5 advertisements. If you want to create more, you need more trade volume.

The green thumb is assigned automatically to your advertisements based on an algorithm. We don't want to share exactly what is required but the following things are looked at. Once your advertisement fulfils all the requirements, it will receive the green thumb.

  • Number of trades and feedbacks score of your account
  • Age of your account
  • The payment method of your advertisement
  • The popularity of the payment method
  • Recent feedback on your account
  • Total and recent amount of bitcoins traded by you
  • How long ago you completed your first trade.
Advertisement prices are based on Bitcoin exchange rates. The Bitcoin exchange rate is volatile and may change rapidly.

Otanacoins updates its exchange rates and advertisement prices every five minutes. Prices shown in the listings and on the front page are cached, and update a little slower. Sometimes when the Bitcoin price is fluctuating rapidly, advertisements with the same price equation may display different price. Sometimes market data is not available for some currencies, which leads to delays updating the advertisement prices. However, when you open up the advertisement page itself the price will be more up to date.

The price of the purchase is determined at the moment the Bitcoin buyer sends in the trade request.
When the price is floating, the purchased Bitcoin amount fluctuates with the Bitcoin exchange rate. The traded Bitcoin amount is determined when the trade is closed, instead of when the trade is opened. This reduces market rate risks in local cash transactions where the time between opening the trade and closing the trade can be several days.

The floating price is based on the Otanacoins_sell exchange rate variable. The seller can specify an additional margin on top of that.
You can see pricing how-to to use more complex formulas. If you have javascript enabled, you can use weighted (USD24) or market price (bitstamp) as a base price, and enter your commission percentage to "commission" field.

You can use negative commission percentage too, if you want to sell below market price (or pay extra).
Some advertisements are marked as Trusted only. These advertisements are only available for accounts that you have marked as trusted in Otanacoins.

How can I mark someone as trusted? To add people to your trusted list, you can invite your friends by email, visit their public Otanacoins User Profile or give trustworthy feedback after finishing a trade with them. You can find a list of people you trust under your profile.

Creating special deals for trusted people To create a trusted only advertisement, check the option on the advertisement edit form. The seller of Bitcoins decides trust. For a sell advertisement, only people who you have marked as trusted can access it. For a buying advertisement, only people who trust you can access it.
If you want to show in trades to other users that you've verified the ID of a Otanacoins user head over to your profile and tick the box "Show me as real name verifier to others".

Whenever a user whom you have verified his real name opens up a trade with another trader it will show in the security box that you have verified the user's real name. This is a handy way to increase the trust of users.

This option is enabled by default for new accounts.