The Bitcoin ecosystem has grown a lot in the past couple of years and it is now very easy for people anywhere in the world to acquire their first bitcoin. Bitcoin was the best performing currency of 2016 with price rising 126%. This rapid increase in price has seen demand for this digital currency increase many folds.
It used to be the case that to buy bitcoin, one must use an exchange like MtGox or marketplace like LocalBitcoins. These days however, there are many bitcoin exchanges worldwide such as Coinbase, CoinHako, Bitstamp, Okcoin and so on, catering to people from various countries. That being said, not everyone can buy bitcoin from these exchanges as sales are limited by national boundaries.
When such situation occurs, one needs to make use of peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplaces to acquire bitcoin. One of the major players in removing market barriers and driving mainstream adoption of bitcoin is Paxful, an online bitcoin marketplace that allows users to instantaneously buy and sell bitcoins using over 300 payment methods.
What attracted us to Paxful is the more than 300 payment options available to acquire bitcoin. Some of the more interesting payment options include Venmo, M-PESA, Payoneer, webmoney, mobile recharge, cash deposit and TransferWise. The bulk of the payment options on Paxful are gift cards such as Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Burger King, Macy’s, CVS and so on. There are no long authentication process involved and this allows for quick transactions.
We did some online research about Paxful to check if people have been happy with the peer-to-peer marketplace. According to data provided by Coin Dance, Paxful is continuing to grow volumes weekly and ranks among the highest volumes for marketplaces globally.
When asked about the amount of daily transactions, its CEO, Ray Youssef said that Paxful does approximately 17,500 total transactions per day. We found reviews of users reporting both positive and negative experiences. Considering that bitcoin transactions are irreversible, it will be a target for those not careful.
Ofir Beigel of 99Bitcoins did a review of Paxful and his opinion are as follow which aligns very closely to ours:
In my personal opinion Paxful is legit. However there may be buyers on Paxful trying to take advantage of Paxful Bitcoin vendors. But this is true for every other P2P marketplace out there like eBay, LocalBitcoins and OpenBazar.
There are protections put in place by Paxful to protect users in case there are any disputes. Buyers are protected by an escrow and feedback system and there is also a support forum for those running into difficulties. A Paxful moderator will also intervene to help resolve disputes. Of course, just like any marketplace, always be careful and select vendors with high reputation above 50.
One feature that is provided by Paxful is its affiliate program, allowing anyone to embed a one-click option to buy BTC directly from their website, blog and Youtube channel. The program offers affiliates a 2% cut from each purchase performed through their website. According to Paxful, this relatively high commission was chosen to rapidly expand Bitcoin adoption, and get more players on the market.
As part of the effort to expand its affiliate program, Paxful has recently launched a marketing campaign, raffling out 10 BTC among its affiliates with 3 bitcoins going to the top performers. With this program, Paxful hopes to turn an increasing share of its 400,000 customers into “Bitcoin Evangelists”, offering easy access to the crypto economy.