The shutdown of the peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency marketplace Paxful has left its worldwide community searching for alternatives, but it appears to have significantly affected the Nigerian crypto community.
On April 4th, Paxful declared that it would halt its operations. The reason for this decision, according to the founder and CEO Ray Youssef’s blog, was due to “key staff departures” and the regulatory environment.
According to “The 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report” by Chainalysis, Nigeria ranked eighth in crypto adoption and usage among 154 countries included in the study. Acceptance and usage of crypto in Nigeria were not as high until Paxful pioneered the use of peer-to-peer technology in the country, helping expand the crypto industry.
A Nigerian crypto user, Emmanuel Susegh, told Cointelegraph that the shutdown of Paxful feels like “the death of a loved one,” as the exchange helped him make his first $100,000. Susegh went on to say that Paxful was the go-to platform he used to trade gift cards from Amazon and Apple for Bitcoin as far back as 2015.
Another member of the Paxful Nigerian community, data analyst Obinna Uzoije, mentioned that in the early days of his career, he used Paxful to exchange the dollars he received from his employers as pay for Nigerian naira. At some point, freelancers in Nigeria who work for international companies were paid through Skrill, an online payment platform. Certain users on Paxful accepted the funds, so the freelancers could easily exchange it for Bitcoin or cash. Uzoije explained that this shutdown leaves a lot of other crypto enthusiasts in Nigeria wondering what the future holds for crypto marketplaces.
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Over-the-counter (OTC) vendor Akeem Abdullahi expressed that a generation of OTC vendors was created by Paxful’s escrow service. The vendors could buy gift cards from individuals who wanted to sell and were not literate enough to use the platform.
Some community members took to Twitter to express their worry about users getting their funds back. However, Youssef has assured users in a tweet that the Paxful team is working on clearing users’ send-outs.