Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin owes its success in Nigeria to the unstoppable youth, says Paxful CEO

CryptoSlate catches up with peer-to-peer trading platform co-founder and CEO Ray Youssef Paxfulin Bitcoin Amsterdam.

He said the mental strength and bravado of Nigerians, combined with the introduction of Bitcoin Rail in the country, has made a real difference in defeating “economic apartheid.”

business billing issues

Giving background, Youssef said he grew up as an Egyptian immigrant in crime-ridden New York in the 80s and 90s. His experience back then taught him to be street smart and to deal with people the right way.

Nineteen-year-old Youssef taught himself how to code after getting his first computer. From there, he ventured into the business world and launched various startups. Despite the various challenges of each business, one consistent issue was billing, Youssef says.

His first business, a clone of SMS Groupon, was unsuccessful. Undeterred, however, he turned around by changing Tuck into a peer-to-peer ringtone, capturing the spirit of phone customization at the time to great success.

“I just wanted to make something cool. Ultimately, I just wanted to get a Mission Impossible ringtone for myself. It was hell to get it, so I did it.” Once I understood it, I decided to make it easy for others, and in six months it was a multi-million dollar business.”

Youseff said it mainly sells ringtones to unbanked teenagers. To get around this, teens often swiped their parents’ cards, leading to chargebacks after unfamiliar statement charges were queried.

Business after business Youseff noted that each new venture has similar billing issues. But then the serial entrepreneur came across Bitcoin out of nowhere.

bitcoin rabbit hole

Youssef’s first reaction to Bitcoin, which seemed like a potential solution to his billing problem, was to dismiss it as “geek money.”

On another look, he found that, despite his initial reservations, the design of the protocol was sound and it was clear that “serious work was put into this.” Still, he remained cautious, largely due to its viability and doubts as to whether it was truly an authentic instrument.

But after attending his first Bitcoin meetup, Youssef said he began to open up more to Bitcoin. During his meetups, he encountered “mission-oriented people” who were intelligent, dedicated and idealistic towards the betterment of humanity. This gave Youseff a positive vibe about the community.

time passed, 2011 Egyptian Revolutiona movement in which protesters overthrew Hosni Mubarak and later took over Wall Street, Youssef’s experiences at these events led him to conclude that the world is broken because of money.

Touched by an unwavering sense that something is wrong with the world, Paxful’s CEO speculated that there must be more going on behind closed doors than what is public.

“Black is white, white is black, up is down, down is up, everything is 180 degrees from the natural order. You can not.”

Reflecting on his personal experience during Occupy Wall Street, a protest against economic inequality, Youssef said he saw the movement being adopted before his eyes.

Similarly, in the Egyptian Revolution, he found the mainstream media narrative to be the exact opposite of what was happening on earth. Upon pointing this out, he was mercilessly attacked by the trolls.

“If they’re lying about it, what else is lying? And I went down this rabbit hole and looked into politics, health, science, everything…natural Suffice it to say that the order was completely reversed, and it did not happen by chance.

Even if those experiences didn’t shape his worldview, given his views on business billing, Youssef is confident he’s “on the same path” fixing the broken money system. I declared.

“Billing has always been an issue with every startup I’ve ever had. The whole system is completely broken and once you understand that something extreme needs to be done and people have to take back power. will know.”

Paxful tackles ‘economic apartheid’

Youssef met Paxful co-founder Artur Schaback at a Bitcoin meetup in New York City in 2014.

But before Paxful, Youssef’s first Bitcoin business focused on BTC Point of Sale (PoS) solutions for merchants. In the course of running this business, he soon realized that the low BTC circulation at the time was a hindrance to his work, especially where people most needed fiat alternatives. rice field.

To solve this problem, Youssef embarked on a trip to Africa, Nigeria. Specifically, “because that’s where the biggest hustlers are.”

During his travels and talking to locals, he discovered that Nigerians were living under economic apartheid. He added that the entire Southern Hemisphere suffers from the same problem. This is not the laziness or corruption that is often advertised, but the cause of our inability to move forward.

“They definitely aren’t [lazy]they are the hardest working people. “

After figuring out how to hack the system and allow Nigerians to trade Bitcoin, he settled on the idea of ​​building gift card trading routes between the United States, Nigeria and China.

“I taught Nigerians how to ask their relatives in America to buy gift cards in cash at a drug store and send them a copy of the back of the gift card. They were very happy to give me some bitcoin at a discount on that gift card code, and it worked.”

Once operational, Youssef said tens of millions of dollars a week began flowing into the corridor, resulting in the first bitcoin flowing into Africa through Nigeria.

Nigeria is now leading the adoption of Bitcoin

After witnessing the first successful hack of gift cards, Youssef is adamant that Nigeria will eventually lead the adoption of Bitcoin in Africa. At the time, detractors expressed skepticism, citing affordability and doubts that locals could “get it”. But they were wrong, Youssef said. .

Recent articles from business insider africa Nigeria ranks number one in Africa for Bitcoin adoption despite central bank ban On/off ramping Through our retail banking network.

Going back to his earlier comments on economic apartheid, Bitcoin’s rise to popularity in Nigeria was previously confined only to privileged and connected Nigerians “to leverage, arbitrage and external liquidity.” This is because it has made it possible to “access

But now, thanks to Bitcoin, daily life in Nigeria can circumvent the banking system and operate free from economic oppression.

“Banks in Africa, especially in Nigeria, do not allow people to send money in US dollars. They want to keep that hard currency for themselves. What should we do?”

Nigerian youth make things happen

Based on his experience promoting Bitcoin at the educational level in El Salvador, Youssef noted that there is some resistance among Salvadorans. He said they didn’t get it and generally felt it was imposed on them.

But the same could not be said for Nigerians. Nigerians have expressed enthusiasm for Bitcoin from the beginning, especially among the country’s youth.

“But Nigeria is different. Young people were trying to do this by bringing in bitcoin and screwing everything else up.”

Despite government and central bank intervention by banning on-off ramping, Nigerians simply switched to peer-to-peer and continued as before.

Youssef expressed his great admiration for this “unstoppable force”, which he described as a positive change.

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