How bitcoin met the real world in Africa

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By Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Wilson
LAGOS/LONDON (Reuters) – Four months ago, Abolaji Odunjo made a fundamental change to his business selling mobile phones in a bustling street market in Lagos: He started paying his suppliers in bitcoin.
Odunjo sources handsets and accessories from China and the United Arab Emirates. His Chinese suppliers asked to be paid in the cryptocurrency, he said, for speed and convenience.
The shift has boosted his profits, as he no longer has to buy dollars using the Nigerian naira or shell out fees to money-transfer firms. It is also one example of how, in Africa, bitcoin – the original and biggest cryptocurrency – is finding the practical use that it has largely failed to elsewhere.
“Bitcoin helped to protect my business against the currency devaluation, …

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