Paxful’s Ray Youssef: How Bitcoin and the P2P Economy Will Empower Billions
Paxful CEO Ray Youssef believes bitcoin and the P2P economy can enrich the world simply by allowing them to transact freely. After initially focusing on the unbanked within the U.S. (yes they exist and there are many) he and his company have turned their attention to the wider world. Watch this interview to hear what cryptocurrency technology is actually doing, from Nigeria and Rwanda to Venezuela.
Subscribe to the Bitsonline YouTube channel for more great interviews featuring industry insiders & experts
Ray Youssef: We Need to Help Desperate People Help Themselves
“This is the age of peer-to-peer finance,” Youssef says. But before it serves everyone, there’s a rich market in building platforms that help people help themselves.
At a time when so much industry attention is on enrichment via token sales and day-trading, it’s important to look back to bitcoin’s original goal: an alternative and better economy for the people.
After first using bitcoin to lift himself out of homelessness by flipping retail gift cards for BTC in New York City, Youssef and his co-founders turned it into a business. That business, Paxful, helped desperate people shut out of the regular economy, due to regulation and personal circumstance. This included many workers in the adult industry who needed bitcoin to buy ads on Backpage, after that company was banned by PayPal and credit card companies.
Youssef saw the real desperation those people faced and likened it to his own situation a few years earlier. Regulation has since dealt another blow to those workers, who may not have other viable options to support themselves or their families.
New Markets in Africa, South America
Youssef and his company have more recently been traveling to more distant places, supporting startup incubators in Africa and studying how people are using bitcoin in Venezuela. Just as they found a new (and unintended) use for the surrogate money that gift cards in the developed world, they’re interested in any new solutions they can find.
There’s plenty of entrepreneurial talent in those place but they’re hamstrung by excessive regulation, corrupt governments, culture, and financial services that don’t serve. That’s where crypto and P2P exchange comes in.
Which places show the most promise? Youssef has his eye on the oft-misunderstood Nigeria and Rwanda. To find out more, watch the complete interview.
Paxful may be taking on the banks, but at the same time banks are now reaching out to Paxful as a potentially lucrative customer. As Youssef notes, seeking to completely replace the financial system is probably futile — what we’ll eventually see is a hybrid economy where everyone gets a better chance.
Can Paxful’s experience and model actually change the world economy for the better? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images and video: Jon Southurst, Bitsonline