Ray Youssef: From Entrepreneurial Struggles to Bitcoin Pioneer

by Finnegan Callan
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“Bitcoin is nerd’s money,” remarked Ray Youssef as he embarked on a journey to support the uprising in Egypt against its corrupt government. It was the year 2011, and the Arab Spring was unfolding with fervor. Optimism and idealism filled the atmosphere. Ray headed straight to the heart of the demonstrations – Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. He recounted a harrowing experience from the initial night of intense clashes when he was mistakenly apprehended by the military, who suspected him of being a CIA agent.

But who exactly is Ray Youssef?

Imagine a towering, adventurous individual with a hands-on approach, who once delved into MMA during his youth. That’s Ray Youssef, at least in part.

Let’s rewind and trace his journey from the start. Ray’s family immigrated from Egypt to New York when he was just 2 years old. A self-starter from an early age, he began working odd jobs at the tender age of 8. He pursued a degree in history at Baruch College in New York. However, his life took a turn at 19 when he acquired a computer, sparking an instant fascination. He swiftly taught himself coding and later secured a position as a senior software engineer at the early smartphone company, YadaYada. Yet, his entrepreneurial spirit yearned for more. After a brief stint of 2 years, he ventured out on his own.

Resilience in Adversity

Ray’s entrepreneurial journey was marked by sporadic success followed by years of struggle, couch-surfing, and invaluable “lessons learned.”

His first venture into coupon-based text messaging yielded little success. However, his second endeavor involving ringtones soared from $0 to $1 million in revenue within six months. Despite this initial triumph, Ray encountered a decade-long string of 11 failed businesses, where he absorbed numerous lessons but had little to show for it.

It was amid this period that he embarked on a journey to Egypt in 2011, immersing himself in the revolution and narrowly escaping danger. Departing the comfort of New York City for the tumultuous streets of Cairo amidst protests and military presence required not only courage but also unwavering conviction in one’s ideals.

Although the Egyptian revolution yielded limited change, it prompted Ray to ponder deeply about life and societal structures. This introspection led him down various paths, including a profound exploration of the concept of money – its origins, value, and significance. Like a magnetic force, Bitcoin drew him back in.

Bitcoin = Empowerment = Revolution

These thoughts likely guided Ray to his pivotal first encounter at the buy Bitcoin fast Center in 2013. Serendipitously, he crossed paths with ArturSchaback, his future business partner. Their instant connection stemmed from a shared belief in Bitcoin’s potential to empower ordinary individuals.

As the saying goes, the darkest hour precedes the dawn. Since stumbling upon Bitcoin, Ray faced numerous trials – homelessness, seeking refuge in coaches, fasting, and praying for guidance. The breakthrough occurred on the Night of Power during Ramadan, where clarity dawned upon him.

In 2015, he devised a method to profit by trading gift cards for BTC. Initially skeptical, desperation and a sense of having nothing to lose served as powerful motivators. Taking a leap of faith, he tried it out, and it paid off. Together with Artur, they embarked on scaling up their venture. The logical step was to establish a platform facilitating BTC-for-gift-card trades. After 72 hours of coding, Bitpapa was born.

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