Bitcoin Emerges as Crisis Currency in Hotspots

Bitcoin gaining popularity among African immigrants for Money remittance back home

About a third of the customers queuing at La Maison du Bitcoin’s teller windows in Paris aren’t speculating on the value of the cryptocurrency. They’re sending digital money home to Africa.

Now here is the reason; “In many countries in Africa, there are far more cellphones than bank accounts,” said Manuel Valente, co-founder of La Maison. “For bitcoin, all you need is a phone.”

About a third of the customers queuing at La Maison du Bitcoin’s teller windows in Paris aren’t speculating on the value of the cryptocurrency. They’re sending digital money home to Africa.

Part of the allure of electronic cash is the ability to transfer it anonymously and this invariably meets the needs of many of these Africans in the diaspora.

 

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Entrepreneurs have started companies intended to serve bigger markets. BitPesa Ltd., a Kenya-based startup, 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’ve averaged a few transactions a month in bitcoin, frequently to Africans.

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