Can bitcoin be used for social good? If anybody thinks so, it’s Ray Youssef, the CEO of peer-to-peer bitcoin platform Paxful.
A profitable entrepreneur within the crypto and blockchain house, Youssef comes from humble beginnings and understands the significance of sustaining management over one’s funds. Marred by reminiscences of homelessness and excessive financial pressure, Youssef’s journey to construct Paxful was an arduous one.
“When my mom bought divorced and misplaced her dwelling that she had put a lot into, I went into greater gear,” he defined in an interview with Bitcoin Journal. “My first two startups had been profitable, however then I had 11 failed initiatives in a row. I took dangers and saved taking them till my financial savings had been gone, and I used to be so busy engaged on Paxful, attempting to get it to work, that after I misplaced my residence I went for walks at evening and slept in a brand new place when my mates couldn’t bunk me.”
Youssef says issues took a constructive flip when he and his enterprise accomplice selected to get severe about coming into the crypto scene. “A fellow bitcoin fanatic instructed us about how you could possibly promote bitcoins and make a revenue,” he says. That encounter made him look extra intently on the world of peer-to-peer bitcoin buying and selling.
“We didn’t know its potential again then — we simply noticed that it labored for us and we needed to make it even simpler for different folks to do the identical, whether or not to begin a enterprise on-line or simply get further hire cash.”
As we speak, Paxful is a peer-to-peer on-line bitcoin platform that connects BTC purchasers with sellers. At present, the location affords over 300 methods to buy bitcoin together with credit score and debit playing cards, PayPal, Western Union transfers and even Amazon present playing cards.
Patrons begin out by discovering a suggestion they like. They then work one-on-one with an skilled vendor who guides them by means of the acquisition course of through on-line chat. As soon as all the pieces is about, they pay the vendor immediately from a particular account to obtain their cash.Each vendor is verified to supply prospects the best degree of security, and Paxful will quickly implement KYC in an effort to additional defend consumers.
As soon as his market was prepared, Youssef satisfied his closest mates to offer it attempt. Issues started to develop from there, however his large break got here from a cellphone name he would obtain one fortuitous morning:
“I left my private cell quantity on the web site to assist folks immediately, however nobody ever known as till one girl desperately in want of bitcoins known as me at four a.m. yelling at me in ache and claiming that she was right down to her final $13. I believed her, and the crying child within the background was the icing on the cake. We had to assist her. The issue was she had no checking account, and websites like Coinbase and different bitcoin brokerages had no answer for the unbanked. She had gotten the run round for 2 days and wanted simply $5 in BTC.”
Youssef was in a position to present the girl with the funds she wanted, and the remainder is historical past. He says that the corporate really started the day she known as.
“She led us to understand that present playing cards had been the right technique to onboard the unbanked to crypto,” he says. “She and all of the others that adopted taught us that bitcoin is the common forex the world wants, particularly the unbanked. They had been the people who bitcoin was supposed to assist, however nobody was serving to them and even attempting. My co-founder and I didn’t sleep for every week, and we redid all the system to make it usable for the non-techy, unbanked person.
“Now, as a substitute of me having to be on the cellphone with folks for an hour to stroll them by means of shopping for their first bitcoin and sending it to pay for one thing, persons are in a position to determine it out themselves by means of Paxful’s tailored system. Nobody in crypto ever took the time to construct a easy onboarding market and pockets for ‘regular folks,’ not to mention the unbanked. We did.”
Paxful has been working in full-form ever since, and Youssef has by no means regarded again. Because the platform onboarded extra prospects, Paxful has given Youssef and his group the chance to increase their bitcoin companies to a lot bigger causes.
Among the many firm’s newest initiatives is its constructing a blockchain expertise hub in Lagos, Nigeria. Youssef says that bitcoin has turn into extraordinarily common in a number of areas of Africa and has empowered younger entrepreneurs to construct wealth in methods no person may have foreseen.
Moreover, Youssef started #BuiltwithBitcoin in late 2017, an initiative designed to spice up the cryptocurrency neighborhood’s involvement in humanitarian initiatives. The venture bought its begin with Youssef donating roughly $50,000 of his personal cash towards the development of a brand new college in Rwanda. This has led to plans for a second establishment. Different initiatives embrace a scholarship initiative for Afghan refugees, a Rwandan water tank venture and meals drives in Venezuela, which Youssef confidently states may turn into the primary official “bitcoin nation” sooner or later.
Youssef describes bitcoin as a “common forex” whose potential has barely scratched the floor. He says there are “forex wars” brewing in nations like Venezuela and Turkey, and bitcoin is the strongest weapon.
“Wealth preservation is the primary use case for bitcoin,” he explains. “Folks in forex wars should buy bitcoin to retailer their worth and even use it to pay payments in different nations by ‘borrowing a checking account.’ This simply means they promote it to a peer on Paxful they usually use their checking account to pay a invoice for them to a different native financial institution.”
He additionally lists commerce as considered one of bitcoin’s greatest elements. Folks can promote their items to anyplace they will ship them. They’re then paid in bitcoin, which may be transformed to fiat forex. There’s additionally a powerful case for bitcoin’s use for remittance, wherein somebody can ship cash to relations overseas with out processing instances and banking charges.
“The most effective factor about bitcoin is that it’s the core a part of the #p2pfinancial revolution, and this implies wealth and alternative for entrepreneurs all around the world that didn’t even assume being an entrepreneur was attainable,” Youssef feedback.
“They’ll turn into distributors on #p2pfinance platforms and assist onboard their communities to bitcoin whereas incomes revenue on the identical time. That is how you actually make a day-to-day distinction in folks’s lives. You present those most able to act a greater manner, and their communities develop round them. There are single moms who first got here to bitcoin in concern and desperation, and now make 5 figures a month promoting bitcoin. That is simply the beginning.”
General, Youssef is grateful for his previous hardships as they taught him classes about survival, humility and what was “important” in life. He says it was these previous experiences that confirmed him the best way to make Paxful successful and perceive the place his prospects can be coming from, mentally and emotionally.
This article initially appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.
Supply: Bitcoin Journal | Date: September 14, 2018