Briefly introduce yourself, what is the nature of your business?
Paxful is a leading global peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplace and free digital wallet provider that offers customers a simple, fair, and secure platform to buy and sell bitcoin. Peer-to-peer simply means person to person, without middlemen. Our aim is to remove borders and limitations by bringing financial inclusion to the underbanked and unbanked (people who don’t have a bank account for depositing or sending money) through P2P finance.
The Paxful Wallet is a secure bitcoin wallet solution that allows customers to send, receive, and store bitcoin. We’re cutting out the middleman with our secure escrow system and our customers have access to a dedicated 24/7 customer support service.
Paxful is the first P2P marketplace to have launched an official wallet app to make buying, selling, and storing bitcoin easy and secure for customers while on the move.
What inspired the launch of your business?
It all started in 2014 when I and Artur Schaback founded EasyBitz, a payment processor for brick and mortar merchants (retail bitcoin).
We quickly discovered the need to take bitcoin mainstream, making it easier for everyone to get access to and being able to buy bitcoin fast and effectively without bank accounts. We also believed that bitcoin could be used as a gateway to the global financial system for millions of under-banked and unbanked people around the world.
This led to Paxful being born in 2015 providing customers with their very own convenient, fast and low-cost financial passport.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We realised that peer-to-peer finance was still in its infancy and had a lot of room for improvement. Essentially, back then, there was no easy way for people to access and trade bitcoin and so we wanted to create a simple onboarding platform where users from across the globe can instantly and safely connect and use different payment methods to buy, sell and trade bitcoin.
Through our platform, our customers continue to change the face of personal finance by using the power of bitcoin finance.
How did you raise startup capital?
Paxful is 100% bootstrapped.
Describe your business model and how you make money?
We only charge fees for certain transactions. You can read more here about our fees.
What challenges has the business faced and how did it overcome them?
Bitcoin is a relatively new asset class and so naturally, education about bitcoin has been a key focus area. We have invested in many initiatives to educate youth in particular about bitcoin, worldwide.
What was the business’s first big breakthrough?
In the early days of Paxful, I left my personal mobile number on the website for direct customer support. One day I received a phone call from a single mother who was in dire straits. She was desperately seeking help to buy her first bitcoin. She was down to her last $13 and just needed $5 in bitcoin, however, she had no bank account, and other sites and bitcoin brokerages had no solution for the unbanked.
Paxful was able to help her buy the bitcoin she needed, and the rest is history.
The company truly began that day when the woman called as she and all the others that followed taught us that bitcoin is the universal currency the world needs, especially the unbanked. They were the people that bitcoin was supposed to help, but no one was helping them or even trying. Paxful has been operating in full-form ever since.
Paxful also differed from its competitors by offering many ways to buy and sell bitcoin, including gift cards. Gift cards can be used outside the existing structure of financial institutions, making them particularly valuable to the unbanked.
What online tools/apps is business using daily?
Internally, to run the company we rely on many tools to run daily operations. Diary management apps, project management apps, etc.
What marketing strategy has proven profitable for your business?
Given our goal to reach as many people as possible to help them understand the endless opportunities that bitcoin brings and that making use of P2P finance is a way to better engage the global financial system, we try to implement a variety of marketing initiatives in order to reach all our markets. These include, but are not limited to, a combination of public relations, digital marketing efforts, social media and participation in relevant conferences and other relevant events. We also launched a global ambassador program last year, which allows us to work with our customers to promote bitcoin education.
What remains a challenge for your business today?
As ever, education is always the biggest challenge. Despite bitcoin being more than 10 years old, it still forms part of the fairly new cryptocurrency industry, and there are still many people who question its relevance.
One of our key focus areas is to help users better understand the value that peer-to-peer (person-to-person) finance offers and share practical insights as to the true use cases of bitcoin other than grey markets and speculation. We believe that users should equip themselves with a solid understanding of the digital currency market prior to any participation and this is where we as a leading industry player has a vital role to play.