Sun, Nov 19, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Bitcoin emerges as crisis currency in failing economies

The cryptocurrency is becoming the preferred way of payment for people living in politically unstable countries, where confidence in institutions is shaky and local currencies are vulnerable to inflation

By Rob Urban  /  Bloomberg

Entrepreneurs have started companies intended to serve bigger markets.

BitPesa Ltd, a Kenya-based start-up, provides international money transfers and other services in bitcoin in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and its own country. Unocoin does the same in India, as does Coins.PH in the Philippines.

Back in Paris, a few blocks from La Maison du Bitcoin is Passage du Grand Cerf, a covered street of shops.

They all display a sticker on their windows declaring “We Accept Bitcoin.” The stores sell everything from antiques to designer clothing.

Most proprietors said they have averaged a few transactions a month in bitcoin, frequently to Africans.

“We’ve made about 20 or more sales in bitcoin in the past year,” said Yann Robert, who runs a designer clothing store. “The buyers are usually from Africa, a few from Asia — China, Japan. And they’re very happy, because not that many stores accept bitcoin.”

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