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Crypto’s Promised Land? Paxful CEO on the ‘Unbanked’ in Africa


Crypto isn’t a zero-sum game; or at least, not yet. While some companies are attempting to compete for established markets, others have realized the potential to reach into new corners of the globe and create new markets.

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One of these is US-based peer-to-peer crypto exchange Paxful. Much of the exchange’s growth has come from users in the African continent. In 2018, Paxful’s user base almost tripled in Ghana, with 41,243 accounts, and more than doubled in Nigeria to 321,476 accounts.


Since then, the platform has continued to grow–in October of 2019, Paxful recorded a 64% increase in the number of trades across the African continent since October of 2018, including a 2800% increase in trades from South Africa. In total, Paxful now has 3 million wallets and processes over 50,000 trades a day globally.


Paxful’s growth has not gone unnoticed. In December, Binance announced that Paxful’s web-based Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk was to be integrated and directly available on the Binance platform for new and existing users.


Recently, Finance Magnates spoke with Ray Youssef, Paxful’s chief executive and co-founder, about the exchange’s strategy for growth in Africa, the ethics of engaging with unbanked individuals, and the future of the exchange.



Skepticism and potential


Based on Paxful’s numbers, it seems as though the potential for cryptocurrency-related growth in Africa is vast–but Ray has encountered quite a bit of skepticism. “As an American, when I first started talking about Bitcoin in Africa, it was funny, because everyone came out and said, ‘oh, that’s bullshit, those Africans don’t have any money at all–how are they gonna use Bitcoin when they make a dollar a month?’”


“I really couldn’t blame them for saying that–as ignorant as it was–because there was a time when I bel...

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