As we enter 2019, it is an opportune time to reflect on the year that was and strategize for the way forward. The crypto economy celebrated its 10th birthday in 2018, reaching a total market capitalization of approximately $138.6 billion (R1.9 trillion).
Despite a fluctuating market, leading global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace Paxful saw an upswing in activity driven by African consumers. Africa conducted 6.5 million trades in 2018—an average of 17 000 trades a day. South Africa is Paxful's 5th top country in terms of traded volume.
Paxful’s Co-founders are optimistic about 2019 and share their expectations about the crypto world. Co-Founder and CEO, Ray Youssef shares his expectations for the crypto industry for 2019.
1. Africa will continue to lead: The aim of the cryptocurrency revolution is to make the global economy more accessible to the masses. Africa has emerged as a leader in this space with the highest number of new subscriptions at Paxful last year. The total number of transactions from African consumers is at roughly R948 million per month, culminating in an increase of 225% new users in the last 12 months. Transactions from South Africa increased by 25%, by 60% in Nigeria and by up to 100% in other parts of the continent, all in the same period.
Africans are using cryptocurrency to satisfy both personal finance needs and entrepreneurial ventures— transferring goods, services, and money domestically as well as globally. There is also an emerging generation of Africans buying crypto as investment vehicles into promising blockchain start-ups. A relatively small number of Africans trade digital currencies speculatively for profit.
2. Increased humanitarian focus: At Paxful, we aim to continue to lead the charge in demonstrating how bitcoin can be used for good. We plan to grow our pioneering #BuiltWithBitcoin charitable program to encourage the cryptocurrency sector to contribute funds for humanitarian projects that focus on building schools and providing bursaries for the disadvantaged.
3. Governments will pay closer attention to crypto: Countries around the world are now taking a closer look at how to contend with the rise of the crypto economy. We expect more activity in the policy development space in the next few years. In South Africa, for instance, we’ve seen reports that the South African government has established a working group to examine digital currencies and blockchain technology.
Artur Schaback, Paxful Co-Founder and COO, on Paxful’s plans for the year ahead: “We remain passionate about facilitating financial inclusion to the underbanked and are awed by the progress made this year in achieving this goal. With only a small percentage of the global internet-active population currently trading in the crypto space, the potential for expansion is great. The encouraging number of new users gained in 2018 in Africa alone proves the appetite for this technology. We’ve only just begun making inroads and are excited about what the future holds.”