Global peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace Paxful, which since grown to become one of the largest in the business, is paying homage to African users for helping to engineer one of the most exciting growth stories in the crypto space.
This follows reports earlier in the year that Africa now accounts for nearly half (45%) of all Paxful wallets while a greater portion of revenues now also comes from the continent.
In theory, Africa is often touted as the best use case for Bitcoin but it practice this has been hard to achieve with many previously promising projects falling by the wayside.
AfricaBlockchainMedia asked Modibe Matsepane, the Africa Community Coordinator at Paxful why his organization has enjoyed this success even as others struggle.
Matsepane puts this down to their initial strategy towards African users and how this is still very much in play today.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without our users. Paxful has valued user feedback since the beginning. Our co-founders, Ray and Artur, were on the phone every day with people teaching them how to use the platform and understanding how it will be easier for them. Now, one of the Paxful core values is Be Connected To The Streets – through our users and the Paxful community, we listen to what will be beneficial for them and build a platform for them,” said Matsepane in a statement.
Paxful’s deliberate strategy has helped to distinguish it from most of its peers. Many crypto businesses operating on the continent appear to be focused too much on making a quick buck and as a consequence, they employ strategies that have been used by a lot of scammers before them. Scammers have in the past used Ponzi and other schemes to defraud large groups of people.
In the end, the result is predictable, potential users will view entities that employ tactics commonly used by scammers with suspicion and this contributes to their ultimate demise or early exit from the continent.
“We know that many have fallen to multi-level marketing scams and the like, so we needed to educate them ourselves about the use-cases of peer-to-peer finance. People in the West can speculate and gamble, but in Africa, Bitcoin and peer-to-peer finance are used for remittance, e-commerce, and many more.
Focus on education
So instead of following the crowd, Paxful has—in addition to listening to users— involved itself in efforts aimed at educating and raising awareness about the uses as well as advantages of Bitcoin and its blockchain.
“We have also launched the Paxful Peer Program which is aimed at increasing the understanding and adoption of Bitcoin by encouraging our users to educate their communities about the potential of Bitcoin in improving their lives. This also speaks to the need to come up with innovative ways to reduce unemployment for the youths on the continent. To boost our efforts on education for the African users, we are providing free education on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to 2500 people in collaboration with Africa Blockchain University and Althash.org which is open to everyone in Africa, explained Matsepane.
Paxful believes it has made a difference through such education programs because there are more people who know or have heard about Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies. Many are now using Bitcoins for purposes other than speculation and gambling.
Meanwhile, Paxful is confident that the real use cases of Bitcoin in Africa will continue to show the world the true power of decentralized cryptocurrencies. Paxful points to its #builtwithbitcoin initiative, an undertaking it believes goes a long way in showing people that Bitcoin is a useful tool to make meaningful contribution in people lives.
Children benefiting from the schools that are built using Bitcoin will have a far deeper understanding of the power of Bitcoin than most people. Paxful is proud to be the driver of efforts to demystify the myths about Bitcoin which have been created by the bad actors especially in Africa.
For potential users in countries like Zimbabwe, which is in OFAC grey/high-risk list, can still send or receive Bitcoin once they verify their IDs with Paxful.
Paxful adds that it would be good to see people in countries with struggling currencies take advantage of the benefits provided by peer-to-peer finance to improve their lives.