Ray Youssef is the CEO and co-founder of Paxful, a leading peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace. He is also the founder of Built With Bitcoin, a charitable initiative that aims to demonstrate blockchain technology’s humanitarian capabilities.
Ray Youssef discusses digital asset adoption in Africa, with a focus on Nigeria, in an exclusive interview with Technext.
Before discovering Bitcoin, Ray Youssef marched against corruption in Tahrir Square during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and took part in Occupy Wall Street. With that, he realized that the financial system’s fundamentals were broken.
“Once I learned about Bitcoin, it was an aha moment—a solution that offers a way for anyone, anywhere to access the global market. My journey into peer-to-peer Bitcoin started here.”
Paxful provides a simple, fair, and secure marketplace for people to trade bitcoin and other digital assets. Paxful is one of the most accessible and user-friendly bitcoin marketplaces online, especially for Africans, accepting over 300 payment methods.
Ray Youssef knew a few people who made money by selling gift cards for Bitcoin. This thought stuck with him, and he realized that if the product could scale, Paxful could provide financial access to millions of unbanked people.
He recalls building Paxful as a trading system in one weekend and spending countless hours on the phone with real people using the product, morphing it to meet their needs.
“Paxful’s greatest success will always be its users—standing at over 12 million strong. They are the ones that have defined the real killer app of Bitcoin. It is not just an asset class for the rich, it allows money to flow freely as a means of exchange and it has the capability to change the financial structures that have ruled us for centuries.”Loading...
Paxful in Africa and Nigeria
Africa has been a significant contributor to Paxful. Nigeria is the crypto firm’s largest market, with over 1.5 million users and over $1.5 billion in trade volume. Ray Youssef attributes this achievement to Africans’ demand and entrepreneurial spirit, particularly in Nigeria.
Furthermore, Ray states that entrepreneurship in Africa is based on need and entrepreneurship in the West is based on desire.
“In the U.S., for example, there are more traditional job opportunities, and people can easily live a good life working for an established business. Those opportunities are more limited in Africa. So if you can’t find work at your local market, auto shop, or tech company, you have to blaze your path.
On Paxful, people are building their money transfer businesses that undercut the fees of the Western Unions of the world. Others are building out arbitrage teams on the platform. It is the greatest feeling to hear someone building a business and strengthening their country’s economy through Paxful.”
However, Ray Paxful says the people of Nigeria have shown what Bitcoin was made for—they are the leaders in the space, and Paxful is successful because of the people of Africa.