Debates about Bitcoin have in the past been ugly, brewing an air of mystery around cryptocurrencies and holding back many Kenyans from taking part in an ongoing massive wealth distribution. But over ten years since emerging in 2007, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are no longer a passing fad, not when over $200 billion of value has been created in just the beginning of an open alternative financial system!
Ray Youseff, the CEO and Co-Founder of Paxful- an open and safe financial system company, heeds the challenge to clear the smog about cryptocurrencies particularly Bitcoin and to drive the need for investing in crypto as is popularly known. He says that Bitcoin and any other form of crypto helps people get the freedom of doing whatever they deem necessary with their money.
“We make bitcoin easy for the normal person to use by educating them on how to use it. People get opposed to the Bitcoin idea just because they lack proper information about it,” says Ray.
Paxful does Bitcoin education through campaigns dubbed campus tours in Africa, whence they educate people on ways to invest in Bitcoin, buying, trading, exchanging, holding and storing cryptocurrencies without breaking any existing laws.
Ray has observed that crypto idea is still new in the African Market hence the aforementioned scepticism that he calls a major hindrance.
The people, potential beneficiaries of the crypto investments haven’t invested yet, and it’s not easy to get them investing unless by giving them the knowledge about it,” says Ray
He points out to the process as involving Buying the crypto, Holding and Storing it and or Selling and Trading it. Starters he says, only need a blockchain wallet, an app in which one stores, sends, and receives digital assets.
But the Bitcoin journey he confesses is not all rosy. It calls for angelic patience and trials that need a time off people’s busy schedules to learn and relearn about this alternative financial service. The major challenge the Cynicism he says,
“The cynicism is due to the multilevel marketing scams that bitcoin has had to face especially here in Africa and the inability to disassociate the idea of peer to peer electronic cash using bitcoin as a superior form of money.” Ray Youseff
The above coupled with uncertainties surrounding bitcoin mining have hitherto not been fully circumvented owing the slow uptake thus usage of bitcoin he says.
That Bitcoin is only for the high end banker or an employer/ employee of the white collar type of job is a lie that Ray dismisses outright. He is certain that Bitcoin was invented to restore the balance of power away from centralised banks to the people and to grow entrepreneurship from young ambitious and willing to learn investors from different walks of life.
Safety concerns are major when handling bitcoin that as Ray says, all depends on people’s knowledge on bitcoin. He points out that Africans do not embrace a lot of security practices, and that is worrying. To be safe, he points out, people should embrace two-factor authentication.
“Two factor authentication involves the use of another verify beyond the normal username and password, it is safe and secure,” says Ray adding, “Hackers can always access a username and password, but not an additional layer of security like an SMS message to secure your bitcoin wallet.”
Two factor authentication puts hackers in an awkward place of having to hack the phones alongside emails to access the bitcoin wallet that is almost impossible. He says that bitcoin is much safest than credit cards if proper security steps be followed.
Bitcoin is a necessity for Africa he adds, giving an example of a country like Ethiopia where sending and or receiving money is practically impossible, crippling its economic development. Such economies he says, strap money limiting people’s freedom of transacting freely as they wish with their money their only escape being to flee to other countries.
“Bitcoin redefines that and allows users to make payments everywhere in the world and access financial network on the planet through P2P finance, a service that officially offers global financial freedom and destroys boundaries and intermediaries,” says Ray
He envisions that Bitcoin will be the one stop financial system to work out similar for the entire globe and without hindrances and slowdowns.
“Our job is to make Bitcoin move money around the world and translate other forms of money into a universally accepted format- a digital financial global passport that every human would have and with which they will be able to access financial freedom across the globe without an ounce of hindrance.”
Africa doesn’t need charity; it needs blockchain technology to teach them on how to use their money. It is not a poor continent as leads a long time misconception.
Bitcoin technology will unlock prosperity and lock wide spread corruption and wealth misappropriation.
Ray Youseff, a serial entrepreneur the CEO and co-founder of Paxful.