Bringing the crypto payments ecosystem around the world: Ray Youssef

By Admin | Crypto News Today

Though he has had 11 enterprise failures, at this time Ray Youssef is constructing Bitcoin-funded colleges throughout Africa as govt director of the Built With Bitcoin Foundation and helps thousands and thousands of individuals purchase and promote cryptocurrency as CEO of Paxful. However, Youssef additionally admits to looting {hardware} shops on behalf of a convent college after Hurricane Katrina and says he was practically shot as a suspected CIA agent throughout the Egyptian Revolution.

He has simply returned from El Salvador, the place he frolicked at Bitcoin Beach — the place he says even youngsters are utilizing Bitcoin (BTC). Crypto payments providers are vital there as a result of 70% of individuals in El Salvador haven’t any checking account. For Youssef, peer-to-peer monetary networks spell hope for the growing world.

All roads result in Bitcoin

When Youssef first heard about Bitcoin in 2011, he shortly “dismissed it as nerd money.” He had extra urgent issues on his thoughts, as that yr he left the relative consolation of New York to help the revolution in his native Egypt. There, he went to the core of the protests at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo and “nearly died on the first night of really crazy fighting” throughout which he was arrested by the army as a suspected CIA agent. “I could write a book on that one night alone,” he concluded with amusing that exuded thriller.

He’s not the first crypto chief to throw themself right into a revolution — like Griff Green, who as soon as protected polling booths in Catalonia, or Amir Taaki, who went to struggle with the Kurdish YPG. After he returned house to the United States, nevertheless, he started integrating his experiences of the revolution and questioning many issues about society.

The power in Nigeria will remodel the world. The youth have already begun constructing a pan African monetary settlement layer utilizing #bitcoin and nothing can cease peer to look. Africa is now main the new world of finance and crypto adoption. Let us all present them love https://t.co/kTSFDdYwUl pic.twitter.com/uufSnLKUZz

— Ray “Adewale Uwaifo” Youssef (@raypaxful) June 12, 2021

One of the rabbit holes he descended was that of cash. “I started asking questions about money: Where is it? Where does it come from?” he stated. Soon, he “began to see history through a very different lens.” That’s when he returned to Bitcoin, the place he felt he may discover solutions.

It appears that crypto attracts revolutionaries, maybe backing the thought of a technological or monetary revolution introduced on by blockchain. As he arrived at Bitcoin Center NYC for his first meetup in 2013, he puzzled about the different Bitcoiners: “What are they like? Are they on the same journey that I am on?”

Describing the occasion, he sounded not not like a pilgrim recounting a story of a faraway shrine the place they’d hoped to search out different seekers of reality. The first particular person he met, Artur Schaback — his soon-to-be enterprise accomplice — was the solely different tall man in the assembly, “So we got along, and we really bonded over the belief that Bitcoin could help the little guy.” Soon, they began engaged on a Bitcoin retail answer, nevertheless it was no straightforward experience.

“We ran out of money — we had to choose between our startup or a place to live.”

The two adventurers “ended up homeless, surfing couches.” Youssef felt he had hit all-time low, and he wanted to ask for assist — he was scared of his mom discovering out about his scenario. He fasted for a month, and he prayed. “I had to be truly humbled and really begged God for help — I was broken, defeated, and I got a very special night — it was the Night of Power of Ramadan,” he recalled solemnly. Whatever he skilled then, for Youssef, it represented a turning level.

Youssef initially moved to the U.S. along with his household from Egypt when he was 2, and by 8, he was already working odd jobs. He studied historical past at Baruch College in New York beginning in 1996, however his actual ardour lay with computer systems. He received his first PC at 19 and “taught myself to code right away and started doing startups.” He labored as a senior software program engineer at early smartphone firm YadaYada first for 2 years earlier than embarking on his entrepreneurial path. The first of those was associated to coupons being distributed over textual content messages, however the thought failed to achieve traction.

The younger entrepreneur quickly went on to have his first style of success, nevertheless, as he pivoted to downloadable ringtones. His new firm, referred to as MatrixM, “went from like $0 to $1 million revenue in less than six months.”

“The biggest problem was primarily that the users who wanted ringtones were unbanked people — teenagers.”

Though he received off to a robust begin, the subsequent decade didn’t present a snug experience. Youssef greatest describes this turbulent a part of his life on LinkedIn, the place he writes his title as “Entrepreneur” at “11 failed startups and many lessons learned.” The incontrovertible fact that he didn’t quit throughout that point speaks volumes. Though his preliminary success might be attributed to mere luck, it certainly helped him to imagine in himself regardless of years of failure. Whether he was a reliable entrepreneur after his first success or not, he certainly had put in the arduous yards to turn into one after the eleventh failure.

In his work at MatrixM, Youssef found that peer-to-peer infrastructure, then nonetheless in its infancy, was the key to having access to ringtones and a broad viewers — customers may add ringtones in addition to obtain them. Today, Youssef defined, peer-to-peer platforms like Uber and Airbnb have “become part of our daily lives.” The similar will quickly occur with peer-to-peer finance. “Humanity has been waiting for this one for a long time,” he stated. While developed international locations can profit, Youssef stated that the want in rising economies, like all through a lot of Africa, is way higher.

He described the points folks face around transacting cash as “mind-bending — even if they have a bank account and get a bank card, they can only spend $100 a month maximum with your Visa card.” This signifies that sending cash out and in of Africa can shortly turn into a nightmare, as retailers can’t simply purchase items from China, for instance. “They have to go through like three or four hops, turn their money into USD on the black market, and find a way to get that into a bank account that can actually wire the money because their personal accounts cannot,” he defined in an exasperated tone.


Some time later in 2015, he was informed of a technique to revenue by promoting reward playing cards for BTC. Youssef was suspicious however determined to strive it out of desperation. “I thought it was a scam, but it worked, so we scaled it up,” he recalled as if nonetheless shocked. With their system working, Youssef and Schaback determined to construct a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency for reward playing cards, seeing it as “the best way to onboard the unbanked” into the world of cryptocurrency. After 72 hours of coding, Paxful was stay.

Youssef remembers a time when he took a customer support name from a “desperate lady” needing to buy $2.50 value of BTC so as to pay for an online categorized advert. Down to her final $13 and with out a checking account, she had no thought tips on how to purchase Bitcoin, as no providers had been geared towards folks like her. With her youngsters crying in the background, Youssef guided her to go to a close-by drugstore and purchase a $10 Walmart reward card.

“‘Okay, I’ll walk you through the whole process of turning a Walmart gift card into Bitcoin, and then actually sending the Bitcoin to that address.’ It was two hours — it was rough.”

The expertise was formative, because it illustrated the actual struggles of these with out entry to the conventional banking system who attempt to use fashionable internet-based providers. “That’s why Paxful is on top — we are willing to do what others are not, we’re willing to go where others are not willing to go, like Nigeria,” Youssef defined, referring to the incontrovertible fact that small transactions carry little revenue. He stated that he feels a deep connection to Africa due to his roots. “This whole time, my dream was to help Africa,” he asserted.

Today, Paxful permits customers to purchase and promote cryptocurrency by way of a whole bunch of strategies. It is worthwhile and boasts over 6 million customers, supported by “almost 500 people in nine offices around the world.” Soon, he believes, the platform will go mainstream, especially in Nigeria — which is the firm’s largest market and Youssef’s part-time house. “They’re the ones who are going to pull the rest of Africa forward. Nigeria is the Lion of Africa,” Youssef stated with satisfaction, as if he had been a Nigerian himself. Soon, Youssef believes, will probably be the Silicon Valley of Africa.

Built with Bitcoin

The Built with Bitcoin Foundation, the place Youssef serves as govt director, goals to construct 100 colleges around the world in help of native communities — an thought impressed by his expertise after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in August 2005. Youssef noticed the devastation on the information and determined that “I’m going down there myself.”

On the floor, he discovered varied charities to be of little assist. “Finally, I managed to find these five Dominican nuns in the French Quarter. They had a school, and they wanted me to help rebuild and reopen the school.” Youssef went around the metropolis to scavenge constructing supplies and provides, typically placing himself in nice hazard. At one level, he befriended a trucker, and “Me and him actually ended up looting a Lowes [hardware store] to get supplies to the school.”

“During this time I had a lot of adventures — one where I was nearly killed by the police, who saw me wandering through the city thinking I’m a looter.”

The opening of the college, Youssef believes, was key to serving to the metropolis reopen after the catastrophe, as the police and fireplace division “wouldn’t have come back if they couldn’t have put their children back to school.” Schools, he realized, are a pillar of group improvement and civilization. “That’s where I got the idea for Built with Bitcoin — a hundred schools in the next five years, and we’ve already built three of them,” he stated. So far, the group has accomplished three colleges. In addition to colleges, there’s a deal with sustainable farming and the provision of wells so as to assure communities entry to wash water.

Help us on our mission to construct 100 colleges throughout the globe by donating.

Last week we opened our latest college in Kenya, the place native youngsters now have simpler entry to an schooling, paving the means for a brighter future.

Link to donate in bio. pic.twitter.com/qMbZPgZl1z

— Built With Bitcoin Foundation (@builtwithbtc) June 29, 2021

According to the web site, 92% of funds go straight into tasks. One of the latest college tasks in Rwanda was accomplished in collaboration with a charity referred to as Zam Zam Water. While the constructing of faculties and wells actually nourishes communities to develop, the concept that the proliferation of cryptocurrencies can assist type extra strong native and internationally related economies is a a lot newer one. “I consider myself a Bitcoin optimist,” Youssef stated.

El Bitcoin

When El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, just lately introduced that Bitcoin was an official forex for the nation, the worldwide press was skeptical. Youssef was amongst the CEOs who flew to the nation in the weeks following the announcement, little question in hopes of opening up a brand new main marketplace for Paxful.

In his view, the new Bitcoin Law, which is seeing all residents obtain an airdrop of $30 in BTC, advantages the common people. Still, he noted that “The old aristocracy of El Salvador came out” to disparage him as a colonizer after he “took a photo-op at the airport with a bunch of police guards who are not working for me.”