Category Archives: Humanitarian Blockchain

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Paxful CEO: From Homeless in New York to Building Homes in Africa

Paxful CEO_ From Homeless in New York to Building Homes in Africa

Bitcoin News has been following the fortunes of peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful since covering Africa in our Humanitarian Blockchain series published last year. One Crypto Briefing interviewer was lucky enough to catch up with company founder Ray Youssef to discuss the ups and downs of the company’s Africa project.

From co-founding the company in 2015 with Artur Shaback, after pushing Bitcoin as an alternative payment system on the back of classified advertising website Backpage’s successes as a crypto marketplace directory, to piloting numerous projects in Africa, the company has moved from strength to strength.

However, it wasn’t always like that as in the early days living in New York Youssef was made homeless after being unable to pay his rent. The company has had its dissenters too, just months ago coming under scrutiny after being accused of defrauding thousands of Nigerian clients of funds accumulated from online trade in digital currencies. Nigerians now using the platform has risen to over three million.

Youssef argues that Paxful, looking into cases of fraud on its platform at the time, was forced to freeze the related accounts of traders who were using the platform in order to scam users.

The company has gained popularity on the African continent, principally due to P2P becoming the preferred trading method and also the multitude of ways cryptocurrencies can be purchased on its platform. It is for Paxful’s humanitarian projects in building schools in Africa that the company has become known for.

Paxful has a busy 2019 ahead with numerous projects already in the pipeline. The company announced it wasn’t prepared to stop at its first BTC donation but now had plans to expand on the two completed schools in Rwanda to fund and build a further 100 schools across the African continent. With Bitcoin donations and academic scholarships the prize for socially supportive projects, Paxful is fast becoming a humanitarian face of blockchain.

 

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Second Rwandan School Completed with Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin

Second Rwandan School Completed with Paxful's #BuiltWithBitcoin

Recently, Bitcoin News featured as part of its Humanitarian Blockchain series news that an education complex was being constructed as part of Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin program in Rwanda. The story is now revisited to see how much progress has been made.

Paxful Inc operates a peer-to-peer payment logistics platform which focuses on buying and selling of Bitcoin. After a fact-finding trip to South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, it found that Africans were turning to Bitcoin in ever increasing numbers with Paxful’s transactions alone standing at SAR 948 million (USD 66 million) per month. Over the past year, Paxful transactions from South Africa increased by 25%, by 60% in Nigeria and by up to 100% in other parts of the continent. For Africa as a whole, Paxful has seen a 225% increase in users in the last 12 months.

NGO Zam Zam Water, in a cooperative project with Paxful, had planned to raise USD 100,000 for an education center in Rwanda’s Bugesera District comprising two schools back in August. This followed on from the construction of the first primary school earlier in the year using Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative and a donation of USD 50,000 in Bitcoin.

The second, much larger, project has now been fundraised for and completed in the space of just a few short months, providing the region with its second school double the size of the first, with six classrooms and six full-time teachers. The school also has its own cafeteria, potable well, and sustainable solar panel power system.

Paxful has a busy 2019 ahead with numerous projects already in the pipeline. The company announced it wasn’t prepared to stop at its first BTC donation but now had plans to expand on the two completed schools in Rwanda to fund and build a further 100 schools across the African continent. With Bitcoin donations and academic scholarships the prize for socially supportive projects, Paxful is fast becoming a humanitarian face of blockchain. Summarizing these recent events, Paxful’s CEO Ray Youseff commented:

“We encourage the cryptocurrency sector to contribute more to humanitarian projects. The #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative is an example of bitcoin being used as more than a speculative tool, but a testament to the usefulness of cryptocurrency… To date, we have built two schools — a nursery and a primary school in Rwanda, Africa — and provided scholarships to Afghan refugees, and plan to continue these philanthropic ventures.”

There are many reasons why Africans are beginning to turn to cryptocurrencies rather than traditional currencies. Many nationals fall foul of inflation and hyperinflation, resulting in weak and unstable financial systems. Recently, countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and oil-rich Nigeria have all suffered, many of these countries with inflation rates well into the hundreds of percentages. In these situations, it is hardly surprising that populations look to a more stable form of monetary solution in their daily lives.

 

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