Buying Bitcoin using fiat

Buying Bitcoin using fiat just got easier

A new partnership with Paxful means OKEx users can buy Bitcoin using 160 fiat currencies… or gift cards, if they prefer.

For users of one of the world’s biggest exchanges, buying Bitcoin using fiat just got a whole lot easier.

OKEx announced on June 15 that it has entered into a strategic partnership with the peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful.

Buying Bitcoin using fiat
Paxful CEO Ray Youssef (Photo: Paxful)

This means that OKEx users will be able to purchase BTC using more than 160 fiat currencies, many of which aren’t supported by bigger platforms. They include the Indian rupee, Thai baht, Argentine peso, British pound, and the euro, but also the Algerian dinar and Aruban florin.

The partnership will also unlock access to some of the more exotic payment methods that Paxful offers—such as the ability to snap up Bitcoin using payment methods including bank transfers and gift cards.

Meanwhile, Paxful users will be given direct access to the OKEx platform so they can perform trades and access financial derivatives such as options and futures. The integration also comes soon after OKEx rolled out Ether options. On June 4, the exchange confirmed that EOS was set to follow.

They hope that the collaboration will increase liquidity—something that’s crucial for peer-to-peer exchanges to thrive.

Growing the crypto community

Both companies said their ultimate goal is to ensure that the cryptocurrency markets are easier to access—especially in regions where there are few exchanges, or the industry is underdeveloped. They listed Vietnam, South Africa, Russia, Chile, Nigeria, and Kenya as examples.

Most notably, Paxful has moved aggressively into the recently legalized Indian Bitcoin market. On June 4, it issued a statement claiming that it had become the leading P2P Bitcoin marketplace in the country with volume of more than $1 million every week this year through late May.

Buying Bitcoin using fiat
OKEx CEO Jay Hao (Photo: OKEx)

“At Paxful, one of our goals is to help grow the crypto community,” said Paxful’s CEO and co-founder, Ray Youssef. “We admire OKEx’s work and know that our values and strategy are aligned. With this partnership, we hope to continue to build up the ecosystem together and make crypto more accessible as a real-world payment method.”

More broadly, Paxful’s goal is to help grow bitcoin as an option for the billions of unbanked and underbanked people around the globe.

“We’re delighted to partner with Paxful and share very similar goals about onboarding more people to cryptocurrency,” said OKEx CEO Jay Hao. “Through this partnership, we can reach more users in developing regions using Paxful’s existing infrastructure and payment options and give them exposure to the benefits of OKEx’s advanced technology and diversified product suite. This is a great step forward for us and the crypto space in general.”

Paxful’s aggressive growth

The P2P marketplace doubled down on its compliance offerings in March, introducing real-time know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) technology provided by Chainalysis, a leading blockchain intelligence firm. 

While Paxful chief compliance officer Lana Schwartzman described the partnership’s main purpose as keeping “the marketplace free from fraud and scammers” and cutting off access for criminal activities ranging from stolen credit cards to terrorism, she also gave a more positive spin. 

Broadly describing the Chainalysis partnership as a way to build confidence and respectability for the cryptocurrency market, Schwartzman added that it would help customers understand “the importance of regulation and compliance on P2P marketplaces like ours.”

Then in April, Paxful began offering customers the ability to buy and sell physical gold for bitcoins. That can come with advanced KYC and AML requirements, according to a release. It requires the BTC to be held in escrow until physical delivery of gold is made. That must occur within 21 days. 

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.