Paxful is a Peer to Peer Bitcoin marketplace connecting buyers with sellers. The company’s platform allows people to trade in Bitcoin. Paxful is not an exchange that stores crypto-assets, but rather an exchange platform for the currency.
The company was founded in 2015 by Ray Youssef the firm’s CEO and Artur Schaback, Paxful’s CTO, and now plans to expand its operations across various parts of the African continent.
According to Youssef, African Bitcoin traders accounted for 41% of all of the platform’s new users in 2018. On average, their transactions are worth less than $90 each. African users now make up roughly 35% of accounts on Paxful, a platform with 160,000 monthly users.
Why is Paxful interested in Africa?
Simply because Africa is interested in Paxful. Africans are genuinely skeptical people and that’s what makes them great. They use that skepticism and focus on what is essential for them to use to be able to succeed or get ahead and control the way they spend and send money. And with that idea in mind, they focused on using Paxful because they see it as a helpful tool to take control of their finances. It’s quite simple, the African people needed something to help them and they decided that Paxful is the right peer-to-peer platform to use.
What makes Paxful different from all the other Bitcoin marketplaces out there?
We are three things in one – Firstly, we are a marketplace where you can buy and sell bitcoin. Secondly, we have a free Bitcoin wallet that our users can use within our platform. Lastly, we listen to our customers. That’s not only a marketing statement. We really do. We have a customer support that is dedicated to hear out our users’ concerns. And our users from Africa is a big part of that. We can honestly say that our Africans helped us grow the platform into a user-centric platform.
Paxful is currently active in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, among other countries. Does Paxful plan to branch out into other markets in the African region or beyond?
Within Africa we are also looking at South Africa, which is our 5th biggest market. Outside Africa, we are currently looking at the Latin America Region. Countries there like Colombia and Venezuela are in desperate need of an alternative financial system and we believe that Paxful can help the people living in those regions to bounce back and take control of their finances. Lastly, we are also looking at Southeast Asia. There is a hidden technological hub in that region and people are looking straight at cryptocurrency. I believe that the next big crypto step will come from the Southeast Asian Region.
Why do you think some Africans are distrustful of cryptocurrency?
Though the African people are well-versed with trading Bitcoin, the information that they need do not reach them. That is the void that we at Paxful are trying to fill. That’s why we are currently going through an African tour so we can spread the information that will equip the African people the edge that they need to be successful using our platform. We are slowly and surely spreading the word about how peer-to-peer finance can change the way we see, use and send money.
There is a whole side of Bitcoin that many people should know and that’s peer-to-peer finance. Most Africans when they hear Bitcoin they know about two things: mining and day trading. Mining now generates low returns and many people get burned with day trading. I personally don’t encourage people to do both things. Imagine sending money to anyone in the world with low to absolutely no fees. It’s instant, and in several cases, you can make more money out of it. You can be an entrepreneur from your own home. If we provide the right information, a new generation of empowered young African entrepreneurs will lead this new financial ecosystem.
According to Paxful, African Bitcoin traders accounted for 41% of all the platform’s new users in 2018. Do you think this trend will continue in 2019?
Absolutely. 2018 was just the beginning people started to naturally adopt the peer-to-peer system. In 2019, we will push for more adoption by providing accessible information to everyone on this new financial ecosystem.
What are Paxful’s plans in the near or distant future?
We are looking to focus more on Africa – understanding the people, listening to their problems and finding a solution to those problems. This means opening up a new space on the ground, finding trusted partners that understand the true mission of Bitcoin and Paxful, going around the universities for meet-ups and empowering young minds. If we plant the idea that they can change the current status that they are in, the African people’s resiliency and determination will be enough motivation.