Seeing a significant growth in digital currency transactions on the African continent in recent years, driven largely by users under the age of 35, leading global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, is on a mission to increase access to the bitcoin economy for the people of Africa through education.
AN AFRICAN VIEW ON PEER-TO-PEER FINANCE
Benjamin Onuoha, Africa’s Regional Consultant for Paxful (Paxful.com), addressed delegates at a Johannesburg event recently to share insights on the bitcoin and cryptocurrency economy as well as present use cases observed from Africa’s consumers. He commented: “The people of Africa have been the most ingenious and resourceful of our users – they are redefining our understanding of the uses of bitcoin. The world has much to learn from Africa about the future of the crypto-economy.”
BITCOIN USE CASES ON THE CONTINENT
Reflecting on Paxful’s experience in Africa and further afield, Onuoha added: “Three developments made the crypto-economy possible. First, the emergence of peer-to-peer electronic currency, bitcoin, that is powered by the blockchain technology. The second and arguably the most important miracle is the human layer, that connects everyone in the world making this peer-to-peer revolution powered by the people. And lastly, the third miracle is the sharing economy.”
Onuoha listed the following as true use cases for bitcoin: grey markets, speculation, payments, e-commerce, remittance, wealth preservation, and social good. “Historically, much of the news coverage about bitcoin has tracked speculative activity, where 90% of trading volume is currently centred. This toxic phase is in line with expected adoption trends as the crypto economy, still in its infancy, matures. The next focus point of the evolution is the end-user and their opportunity-laden journey in peer-to-peer finance. It’s about wealth generation – and giving people the means to do it.” He noted that many young Africans see bitcoin as an opportunity to develop entrepreneurship ventures; users set up side-hustles and their own businesses – which include remittance, as well as import and export enterprises, amongst others. Demonstrating how the cryptocurrency community can contribute to social good, Paxful recently completed the building of a second school in Rwanda, as part of the group’s strategic commitment to education. Through its #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative, the group is in pursuit to build 100 schools across the continent.
EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION With over 2,5 million users globally and Africa being the fastest-growing region, in 2018, Paxful disclosed it had seen a 200%+ increase in users in Africa over the previous 12 months. Paxful is observing a new generation of young African graduates and professionals making use of peer-to-peer finance as a way to better engage the global financial system. Co-Founded by Egyptian entrepreneur Ray Youseff, who is passionate about empowering fellow African youth, Paxful is committed to reaching as many young people as possible to help them better understand the opportunities presented by the cryptocurrency economy. To this end, Paxful launched its first university education drive to expose youth to the true use cases of bitcoin, highlight how to avoid falling prey to bad actors in the crypto-space, and counter the over-emphasis on bitcoin speculation.
Launched at universities in South Africa and Kenya, the Paxful workshops provide key, practical insights, with each attendee also receiving free bitcoin to start them on their journey. Over 1000 youths have attended the events across SA/Kenya.
CHARITIES COULD BENEFIT FROM THE CRYPTO-ECONOMY To date, Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative has raised over R3 million for charities across Africa and the MIddle East. Paxful – has donated over 13,000 Rands worth of bitcoin to GROW with Educare Centres. The donation forms part of Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative and is its first South African charitable contribution. As a non-profit organisation, GROW with Educare Centres empowers qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, such as daycares and pre-schools, in low-income communities using the principles of social enterprise and micro franchising. With reading being an integral part of the Educare programme, the donation from Paxful will be used to purchase books for their various centres’ mini-libraries. The GROW with Educare Centres project was incubated by a partnership between The Clothing Bank and Grow Learning Company and currently has 31 ECD centres running across Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. “This donation opens new opportunities for our organisation to engage the crypto-community in charitable giving. An investment in Early Learning is one of the greatest investments you can make since one teacher influences a generation of learners. We hope that Paxful will inspire others to do the same,” says Helene Brand, Marketing and Fundraising Manager for GROW Educare Centres. Paxful launched #BuiltWithBitcoin in 2017 to encourage the cryptocurrency sector to contribute funds for humanitarian projects.