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Editorial

Inside Coindirect: The wallet service, peer-to-peer market, and exchange bringing crypto to Africa

In an exclusive interview with CoinInsider, Coindirect CPO Stephen Young and COO Attila Bernariusz explore the platform’s design, reach, and new features designed for African markets.

Written by Bryan Smith Published on

While cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet services, and peer-to-peer marketplaces have proliferated throughout the developed world, few offerings have arrived to tackle emerging markets. Now, South Africa-based Coindirect has proceeded to release its own integrated trading exchange alongside its peer-to-peer marketplace and wallet which already supports over 40 altcoins

A global digital currency service provider, Coindirect was launched in late 2017. With over 25,000 registrations and 5,000 active traders, the platform’s enduring mission is to enable customers with any level of experience to safely purchase, store and trade crypto-assets in their local currency.

Servicing over 20 countries and registered with the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority, Coindirect’s wallet, peer-to-peer marketplace, and newly-minted exchange have been designed with the view of creating support across emerging markets, such as the African continent.

Speaking to CoinInsider, Stephen Young – Coindirect’s Chief Product Officer – elaborated that “There is a big discrepancy – Africans need crypto way more than Westerners do; they’re much more interested in it, and it’s much more suitable as their (fiat currencies) are much more volatile.”

Young’s comments are underscored by immense local search volume in South Africa alone; where terms such as ‘buy Bitcoin’ and ‘Bitcoin price’ are tied to other breakout subjects such as IOTA, Loophole, Ripple, and more.

African markets themselves use a variety of fragmented approaches to transact; relying on both fiat, mobile money, and other platforms to exchange value. While Young notes that many African consumers may be precluded from cryptocurrency markets thanks to a lack of credit card penetration, Coindirect’s offerings have been designed to target ‘banked’ and ‘unbanked’ consumers alike.

“We’ve got a wallet, a peer-to-peer marketplace, and now an exchange – and really, that caters to a big problem in Africa – Our peer-to-peer offering is a way for us to allow people in countries without good banking support to get fiat money into the crypto-system. Once they’re in – they have a wallet, and from there they can begin trading. Our mix of products allow us to span across all of the market spaces across Africa”, Young said.

Where the African market endures varying literacy levels and differing living standards, Coindirect’s offerings have been designed to approach a wide market – Young explains that Coindirect’s wallet enables consumers to “convert from any token, to any other token – awarding users with the spot price. We’re saying, if you ‘don’t know enough to go into an exchange and trade, you can instead go into our wallet and trade one token for another’.”

Among leading platforms and business ventures targeting Africa, numerous local exchanges and several international ventures have claimed space in the market – though few have achieved the same level of success as their major international counterparts.

Among more recognizable names, Luno continues to cater for South Africans and the South-Asian markets – while Chinese giant Binance recently disclosed a planned move into the Ugandan marketspace.

When pressed on Coindirect’s vision and measure for success in Africa, Young noted that the continent at large might be an untapped source of value that could propel real-world use-cases for cryptocurrency tokens and projects at large.

“If you think of the potential of crypto”, Young said, “It could be the biggest transfer of wealth in modern history. We’re moving money from one set of people to another set of people – and at the moment, what is happening is that money is moving from bankers to programmers.”

“There is a massive wealth transfer – and it is excluding all the people that need it the most. The goal for us – to really push into Africa – is to get crypto into the hands of Africans before that wealth transfer is finished. Our entry – our proposition – is crypto for the ‘other’ 1.3 billion; crypto for Africa.”

Coindirect’s Chief Operating Officer, Attila Bernariusz, concurs. “In terms of the fourth industrial revolution, it has the potential to make substantial changes in people’s lives – especially the people who need it the most. There is a view that the volumes currently being traded in the crypto-system is essentially the same volume being re-washed across existing coins and platforms, and that very little new money is coming into the crypto-system That is the promise that untapped markets like Africa offer; the ability to bring new money into the crypto-system.”

The latest component the Coindirect suite, the platform’s exchange features a real-time order book, trade history, and advanced charting functionality. The platform is intended to provide consumers with the best price available on the cryptocurrency market in ZAR, USDT, and cryptocurrency trading pairs.

Disclosure: Coindirect and CoinInsider have investment from Balfour Venture Capital.

Written by

Editor of CoinInsider. Technology journalist, podcaster, photographer and filmmaker. Hodling - BTC, NEO, ETH.@bryansmithsa