Paxful educates Africa's youth about Bitcoin

Read time 3min 50sec
Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.
Paxful CEO Ray Youssef.

Global crypto-currency marketplace Paxful is driving education around the use of Bitcoin-for-business with young Africans and giving away free Bitcoin to university students.

Paxful, a next-generation peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling Bitcoin, launched a series of educational workshops across Africa in 2019, as a way to increase access to the Bitcoin economy for the youth on the continent.

This education initiative kicked off in South Africa last week and moved to Kenya this week, with Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries on the cards for later in the year. The workshops will cover the basics about Bitcoin for novices and further expand on innovative use cases and business applications observed around the world.

"As a values-driven company, we want to make the Bitcoin economy accessible for everyone, especially the youth. To this end, we would like to reach as many young people as possible to help them understand the digital currency market and transact safely and with confidence," says Ray Youssef, co-founder and CEO of Paxful.

"Our aim is to continue to partner with customers and other key stakeholders to ensure they are well informed about the opportunities presented by peer-to-peer finance."

Free Bitcoin

Last week, Paxful ran workshops at Wits University, the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, and on 23 May will run a workshop at the Nairobi Cinema for students from a number of higher learning institutions in Kenya.

Each student at the workshops is required to download the Paxful app and then receives $15 (R215) worth of Bitcoin in their free Paxful wallet.

Nina Paragoso, PR manager for Paxful, says that on average, about 200 students attended per campus in South Africa and Paxful is expecting around 300 students in Nairobi tomorrow.

"We actually only aimed to host 150 students per workshop, but we had a lot more interest than anticipated," Paragoso says. "Paxful intends to train many more students over the next few years. More SA workshops will follow in future."

Given the attendance, it works out that in South Africa, Paxful gave away around $9 000 (R130 000) worth of Bitcoin and plans to give students in Kenya another $4 500 (R65 000) worth of Bitcoin.

This latest initiative forms part of Paxful's commitment to education, which includes building schools in East Africa under its #BuiltWithBitcoin charitable initiative, as well as providing scholarships to young women in the Middle East. The company aims to build 100 schools across Africa and expand the scholarship programmes.

Youth education

Paxful says that according to Statistics South Africa's recent figures, youth unemployment rates still remain alarmingly high at 55.2%. The group believes educating the youth about Bitcoin will increase their access to the global economy and give them new opportunities for youth to become entrepreneurs.

"There is a lack of knowledge with the young people and so we want to teach them better uses for Bitcoin and how to build a business through peer-to-peer finance. Seeding their minds with the proper knowledge will make this world of peer-to-peer finance successful," Paragoso adds.

The company says it had "a bumper trading year in 2018" and despite the fluctuating Bitcoin price, the marketplace has seen significant growth in digital currency transactions on the African continent in recent years, with the surge largely spearheaded by students and graduates under 25.

"Africa leap-frogged to the forefront of peer-to-peer finance adaptation. In 2018, our user base in Africa doubled, with most customers being between [the ages of] 18 and 24," explains Artur Schaback, COO and co-founder of Paxful.

Paxful has over two million users globally and South Africa is one of its top markets internationally.

In October 2018, the group disclosed it had seen a 225% increase in users in Africa over the previous 12 months. In SA, transactions increased by 25%, in Nigeria by 60% and by up to 100% in other parts of the continent.

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