The second biggest classifieds ads site on the internet, BackPage.com has integrated Paxful into their billing system.
This means our customer support load has been cut in half and for bitcoin itself it is a huge win because all those first time bitcoin buyers will have a much easier time completing their first bitcoin transaction.
Most of their users were already getting their bitcoin from Paxful but they were having an immensely difficult time sending bitcoins to BackPage once they had them. This was not an issue with any one wallet or system but a general bitcoin issue. The act of copying a public key from one website (backpage) to pasting it in another website (paxful.com’s web wallet) and then doing it again for an odd looking decimal value proved to be an absolute nightmare for the average user. This is documented well in our BackPage Effect video as over half of our support came from helping users send bitcoins out.
Paxful 1.0 Public Launch
Paxful is now officially out of beta. We launched three months ago quietly and in stealth mode happy to get feedback from the community. We immediately got support from the pro trader community as they were excited to have a peer to peer market that would listen to their feedback and implement it. We worked on their suggestions in an effort to make Paxful a scam free marketplace where the white hats would lead. We never expected the BackPage Effect and the flood of newbies that came with it. Thankfully we handled it and learned some amazing lessons along the way.
The price of Vision
All of a sudden we had to begin reworking our platform to suit all these first time non technical buyers. Through days of phone conversations with first time buyers, many of whom did not even have computers we got to see bitcoin from the eyes of the first time mainstream user. It was a vision of pure pain, made downright terrible because of the desperate state most of these folks were it. They would try for days and days going from site to site trying to figure out the process, each time they got more frustrated and angry. By the time they reached us and got a human on the phone they were in a state of utter despair.
Seeing through their eyes was worth it but the price was high, days and days of man hours on the phone.
First Time’s the Charm!
If the first ripple came from anywhere other than BackPage the opportunity to improve bitcoin’s on ramping flow for new users would have been lost. We got very lucky that the first mainstream ripple came from what was literally a captive audience. These folks had to post their ads to feed their families. The alternative was to do something that would endanger their lives. They would spend days, sometimes with a group of friends huddled together trying to figure it all out.
Were it any other mainstream non-technical group they would have given up right away. That they stuck it out through what was an immensely difficult process and that we took the time to listen to them and guide them provided us with the vision and insight to improve the entire process. We got real lucky here.
Ready for the next Ripple
We don’t need to worry about why people will use bitcoin because the market will take care of that for us. Visa, MasterCard and the banks feel invincible and they will continue to feed bitcoin with many more willing refugees. The next ripple could come from anywhere in the world and any industry. We need only be ready for it when it does come. This means putting the on-boarding process on rails and integrating it with the funding process in a way that bridges any of the Copy/Paste canyons that still linger.
The finest minds in bitcoin need to shift their focus away from creating new markets and towards softening the landing of new users into bitcoin. The key here is vision and that means hearing the voice of the common user, pain, despair, frustration and all.
You gotta know who you’re doing what for! A good CEO will know his product and customer, but a great one will know his product through his customers eyes.
My first mentor put it best and it took me over twenty years to figure out what he meant. The UI/UI and design flow is not the only place we can make improvements,
The Human Connection
Learning anything new is tough and doing so under extreme anxiety is much harder. The BackPage community was traumatized that their livelihood has been interrupted and just wanted things to get back to normal. Many of them were smart enough to fully grasp the technical benefits of bitcoin and many did but only after they figured it all out and took care of their necessities and provided for their families. It only happened because someone took the time to show them some compassion, that opened their hearts and let them learn something new.
Money is a deep topic and we have been trained never to question where it comes from and what it actually is, thus it is an emotional issue, the power of human compassion cannot be overstated here. The human connection made all the difference during the BackPage Effect and it will continue to provide us all with an immense advantage,
Lemonade and Crackers
Banks used to be a customer service industry. Many would sit you down call you by your first name and greet you with a smile. Sometimes they served lemonade and one time I even got crackers at a small bank here in the city during the early nineties. Banks don’t do lemonade and crackers anymore. They are a very different kind of business now…
People don’t care who manages their money, for them there is very little difference between a Chase Bank or “bitcoin” which they perceive as one big company anyway. People simply want to know that they matter, that they have some recourse and are given respect. The technical aspects of Bitcoin that make it superior and secure are drawbacks from their eyes. Irreversibility is a scary thing to a beginners who fears making a mistake. The only way we can compensate for this is why giving them a door to a human being who will take the time to help them. It may not be lemonade and crackers but a willing ear is often the most luxurious of benefits in this day and age and we each have two of them!
Many folks on Reddit asked “How can you be so patient”.
Holy s**t, your patience in this video is on par with Ms. Shields in her Homero encounter. Bravo!
Patience is a skill that can be learned and passed on. I got my first computer when I was nineteen. A crummy Packard Bell. I had no idea what to do with it so I called up my friend George. George walked me through using a computer on the phone for eight straight hours a day for an entire week. He was patient, respectful and kind. I would not be here today without him. I could sit down and guide a middle aged lady trough buying her first bitcoin including teaching her how to copy and paste only because the gift of patience was given to me by a great friend early. Now each of the people I helped is doing the same for others.
Patience and all good virtues spread faster than bad ones, believe that and know just how easy it is for us to make a difference!
As many of you know we are leaving New York City because of the Bit License. This has turned out for the best as we need to grow quickly and hire the very best developers we can find. Estonia, the land of Skype is loaded with truly awesome talent, many of whom we know. We will be going on a hiring spree before settling down on the west coast of the USA.
What we will be building during this phase will revolve around three main objectives.
- Ease in on-boarding of new bitcoin users via mobile and for small amounts
- Give the bitcoin community, blogs and wallets a way they can monetize their traffic and usage
- Provide our sellers with the tools they need to eliminate scammers and fraud.
We will be beginning beta trails for these programs to invited users before official launch so feel free to make a Paxful account and join us in our Slack Chat.
Together we can bring bitcoin to the world and by the time we do they will all be thankful for it. That will be the single greatest accomplishment of the modern era and we will do it together as a community, the only way it can be done.