One of the biggest peer to peer bitcoin exchange with a network of kiosks across the world is building schools in Africa funded with bitcoin.
“The #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative is a testament to the power of cryptocurrency. We firmly believe that it can improve lives and make the world a better place,” says Ray Youssef, the CEO and co-founder of Paxful.
Last year they were accused by a Nigerian NGO of locking out Nigerians from their platform, with Youssef stating at the time
“Selling used gift cards over and over is FRAUD, yes this is a CRIME… Funds will go towards victims or SCHOOLs.”
They have built two schools already, both in Rwanda, furnished with solar panels and still costing a total of just $100,000 each.
They are in the process of building two more schools, one in Kenya and another in Nigeria.
The Nigerian one (pictured) is almost finished says Paxful: “We’re now installing solar panels, fencing the campus, and assembling the furniture for the students and staff.”
Their aim is to build “100 schools, water wells, and community gardens for sustainable agriculture funded entirely by bitcoin.”
About 13 bitcoin have already been donated to the project, which uses funds from individuals determined to be scammers after settling a dispute following a peer to peer transaction on their platform, towards building these schools and other initiatives.
That includes Pencils of Promise (“PoP”) which tries to provide educational opportunities in Africa.
Making this all very interesting because the Estonia based Paxful is kind of acting like a government in punishing a criminal by seizing their funds to then use those funds to build infrastructure.
The difference is that Paxful is accountable because there’s significant competition in the peer to peer space where they’re close to overtaking Localbitcoins with $40 million in weekly global volumes.
They have already overtaken Localbitcoins in China, indicating the exchange has built a certain reputation for trustworthiness in adjudication.
Their charitable arm further makes them stand out as they’re the only exchange of scale to have such initiative as far as we are aware.
Moreover as this is private enterprise, they appear to be moving with significant speed in building four schools so far in about three years.
So bringing both bitcoin and education to the continent which has developed significantly with Nigeria now having a GDP of $450 billion, but very high inflation at 15%.
They’re Paxful’s second biggest market, with Youssef stating “we used gift cards to seed Nigeria with bitcoin” five years ago when they arrived and it worked, bringing down the then 30% bitcoin premium.
Now they see a 137% growth in new registrations from Nigeria between January and September with volumes growing by about 19% a year.