Twenty years ago, Napster rocked the music industry and laid the foundation for what we know today as collaborative economics or peer-to-peer (P2P).
The platform allowed connected computers to exchange music at zero cost. The 70 million users stopped buying music albums because with a couple of clicks they downloaded their favorite songs.
This decentralized distribution generated losses for the owners of the industry because they stopped receiving profits from copyright. Napster lost the battle but transformed the market.
What Is Peer-To-Peer (P2P)?
This is a very peculiar business model, based on exchange or sale, whether products or services between individuals or companies but at the same level.
A connection that allows the exchange of data between computers without the action of a third party. This network model applied to businesses allows direct marketing of products and services: client-buyer, using technology as an intermediary platform.
The concept became more formalized in the United States a few years ago with companies such as TaskRabbit and Airbnb; the latter is already established almost all over the world, renting space to other people to accommodate you; being present in 34,000 cities and 192 countries.
The company eMarketer predicted that by 2021 the transaction value of payments, in the United States, using the peer-to-peer model will be 240,000 million dollars. Although banking is one of the sectors that has adopted this model, entrepreneurs and developers have done the work of expanding to new scenarios.
Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Business Model: Case Finances
The real case in finance applies to platforms designed for users to lend or pay each other money. The platform is left with a small percentage of the traded value. Example: Lending Club or Paypal.
In this business model, the same person can have both roles, seller, and buyer, and this is important for the platform since it is a business model based mainly on volume, more transactions plus fees, and profitability. This type of model can grow exponentially.
Some of the advantages are:
– Cheaper products and services because the price drops due to the absence of intermediaries.
– In some platforms the service is mediated by the qualification that the users make to the product or service that is offered, as that offer is visible to future buyers, the sellers strive to generate positive experiences.
– It could attract more users than expected for the same operational cost.
– An ecosystem is created based on the trust of the community since the reputation of the users plays a fundamental role when carrying out operations.
The P2P business model broke paradigms forcing monopolies to reinvent themselves. There is still resistance and much to be legislated, however, the “everyone wins” in the network tends to dominate the game.
Peer-To-Peer Marketplace For Bitcoin
For example, Paxful is a P2P platform where we can buy and sell bitcoins, but with the peculiarity that the trade focuses more on exchanges for gift cards or balance in payment platforms such as PayPal or Neteller. In the same way, we can also find trades there for deposits or bank transfers, although these are generally found in countries such as the United States, with a dense binarized population.
On the other hand, to improve the user experience and prevent them from falling into scams, a P2P marketplace for bitcoin uses a trusted system where each user who makes a transaction will leave their comment about the transaction (a reputation system). On Paxful, there is also an escrow service dedicated to protecting buyers and sellers. Escrow services act as third-party entities that hold all the bitcoins until the seller is paid (and that payment is verified). Escrow services usually make the peer-to-peer bitcoin trading experience much safer.
One of the main features of Paxful is the way we search for offers. Generally, on other platforms, we must search manually, not only by price but also one that suits our payment method and comes from a reliable user such as LocalBitcoins. For this, Paxful creates a series of “way forward” to buy or sell our cryptocurrency, which is very useful for users who acquire crypto for the first time.
So a peer-to-peer marketplace when buying bitcoins is a fairly complete and very user-friendly platform for new users, as it reduces to a minimum the number of possible steps to trade our BTCs. By the middle of 2018, Paxful already had more than 50,000 users around the world, so it is possible to get offers of all kinds, both for retailers and for wholesalers and virtually any payment method.
The interesting thing about a P2P marketplace to buy bitcoin is that these platforms only act as an intermediary, but using a decentralized system. It’s a system that implements the technology of bitcoin and the blockchain but it also has the efficiency of human interaction.
Recent analyses show that more people have focused on trading rather than investing after the Bitcoin ($BTC) price-drop. Most people who do this are betting on the adoption of peer-to-peer financing.
Although 2018 was experiencing a price-drop in the cryptomarket, the volume of P2P marketplaces to trade bitcoins increased compared to 2017 – leading one to think that even during a bear market is still considered the ideal financial alternative.
The current market may be what many call a crypto winter, but volatility does not seem to deter users of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Paxful. In fact, they don’t seem to care much about price, but they are adopting an alternative currency on a permanent basis.
“People are taking control of their finances one Paxful trade at a time, he added. And more and more financially unreachable places around the world are finally included on a global financial scale. It’s heartwarming to see that a lot of people are using our platform to change their lives for the better.”
~Ray Youssef, CEO at Paxful in an interview for Forbes
To conclude, all that remains for me is to invite you to try for yourselves the experience of buying bitcoin in a peer-to-peer marketplace.
Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed are those of Alyan A. González-Méndez. This info is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only, so use at your own risk. He’s not a broker-dealer or advisor of any kind.