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South Africa Loves Bitcoin

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South Africa Loves Bitcoin

Werner van Rooyen, head of Business Development and Growth at Bitx, the biggest Bitcoin exchange in South Africa in terms of user base and average trading volume, speaks with Cointelegraph about the penetration of Bitcoin in South Africa.

Cointelegraph: How would you evaluate  demand in South Africa?

Werner van Rooyen: The demand  is based on the potential that the cryptocurrency has; either as an improved payment technology (means of payment) or as an alternative asset class (storage of wealth).


CT: Could you paint a vivid picture of the Bitcoin Start-up landscape in South Africa?

WR: The biggest adoption  in South Africa seems to be investors using it as a store of wealth. We’ve seen a big increase in the amount of investors and funds dedicating a section of their portfolio to Bitcoin. This enables companies like BitX to provide Bitcoin exchange, wallet and storage services.

There are interesting local Blockchain startups, notably Custos Tech that provides digital media privacy and assists with content distribution.

There’s also an increasing adoption by merchants, online and offline.

CT: Could you elaborate on that?

WR: There are tens of thousands of South African merchants that accept the digital currency. In South Africa, any merchant who accepts credit card or bank payments through PayFast can also accept payments. Some of South Africa’s leading online stores, including Takealot.com accept it as payment method.

CT: What makes South Africa thick in Africa in terms of penetration?

WR: Bitcoin seems to have more momentum in South Africa than elsewhere on the continent; something we’re happy to move along to, but also momentum that we’re working very hard to create. South Africa also has quite established existing financial services, which makes deposits and withdrawals easier, and wide coverage of WiFi and mobile data.

CT: Is the government friendly towards Bitcoin?

WR: South African regulatory bodies are all aware of the digital currency and how it works and are very progressive in their approach. We’re working with banks and government bodies in SA (and all countries we operate in) to help with education, consumer protection, prevent money laundering/terror financing and to help give insight for eventual formal  regulation.

CT: How do you envisage the growth in South Africa in the next 5 years?

WR: I can’t make  price predictions, nobody can, but I see a clear trend of increased consumer and merchant adoption, positive engagement by the regulatory bodies and many more investors using it to create a more diversified portfolio of investments.

CT: Do you think the Rainbow Nation can continue to be a leader of Bitcoin adoption in Africa?

WR: Absolutely.

This interview ran on Coin Telegraph

Hank Rearden

Hank Rearden is a journalist by profession and a Free Market Activist in Africa. He’s has been in the digital currency since 2011 teaching it to college students.

 This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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