According to data provided by Paxful to CCN there are 17,000 peer-to-peer trades per day in Africa using this platform. Paxful is a peer-to-peer alternative to LocalBitcoins which seems not to have a strong presence in the region.
Most of the trades on the platform are made with iTunes and Amazon gift cards. This happens in this way because Africans can purchase gift cards and purchase Bitcoin with local fiat currency.
At the moment, Paxful has a strong presence in Africa, being the top market for the company. The company is also going to build dozens of schools all around the continent. The intention is to teach students about virtual currencies and blockchain technology.
Africa is moving ahead in terms of technological innovation. This happens because of banking institutions not offering the necessary services and products to African citizens. However, smartphone penetration has been growing during the last years, allowing individuals to have access to several new financial tools such as virtual currencies.
According to the company, $300 million USD in iTunes gift cards have been transacted in Africa during this year. Amazon is in the second position with $165 million. National Bank Transfers were used just to move $50 million.
Although Bitcoin (BTC) had a very negative year, the volume handled by Paxful has not been affected by it. Africans are starting to get used to virtual currencies to handle their funds in many different nations.
For example, in South Africa, the interest for Bitcoin and virtual currencies has been very high during all the year, according to Google Trends. In other places such as Zimbabwe, the situation looks very similar. As citizens do not trust their local currency (Zimbabwe had one of the highest inflation rates all over the world), they prefer to use Bitcoin or other foreign currencies and digital assets for daily payments and transactions.
Although it is not in Africa, Venezuela is also adopting virtual currencies for daily transfers and to hedge against inflation.