Africa Leads Peer-to-Peer Financial Revolution
Johannesburg — AFRICAN consumers account for over R500 million (US$40 million) in transactions per month on Paxful, the global peer-to-peer cryptocurrency marketplace.
Half of these customers are aged under 30.
Some 70 percent have a tertiary qualification or are studying towards a post-secondary school qualification, with a 65 percent male and 35 percent female.
Cryptocurrencies are purchased primarily by bank transfers and gift cards.
"We are on the verge of the peer-to-peer financial revolution and it is being led by Africa," said Ray Youssef, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Paxful.
Youssef said regarding innovation in financial services, Africa had an advantage over the so called developed markets.
It boasts an expanding middle-class that has already embraced innovation in banking.
For example, the rates of mobile banking users are already high here in comparison to other parts of the world.
Bitcoin, Ethereum and other virtual currencies are just newer financial services instruments, Youssef said.
"Paxful's growth on the continent reflects the tremendous appetite for innovation in Africa," he added.
Paxful, whose leadership team recently visited South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana for further insight into their rapidly expanding African consumer base, also noted another unique characteristic of Africa's relationship with cryptocurrency technology lay in use.
In Africa, where millions still do not have convenient access to the traditional banking system, Paxful is seeing more transactions involving the transfer of goods, services and money facilitated through its platform.
This is compared to the so-called developed world where many trade digital currencies speculatively for profit.
Further, some African clients are buying cryptocurrencies as a hedge against constantly fluctuating local currencies in countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
An emerging generation of Africans is buying cryptocurrencies as investment vehicles into promising blockchain start-ups.
Founded in 2015 by tech entrepreneur Youssef and Artur Schaback, Paxful has emerged the biggest peer- to-peer cryptocurrency marketplace in the United States and Africa.
It is one of the fastest-growing brands in Europe and Asia.