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Examining the Thriving Bitcoin Market in South Africa

Cryptocurrency appears to be thriving in Africa’s second-largest economy. Bitcoin adoption in South Africa is reaching record levels. According to Google Trends, the country attracts the highest number of online searches relating to BTC in the world. Despite the downturn in fortunes of the market in 2018, the enthusiasm of locals seems not to have been dampened.

Booming Bitcoin Exchange Services

South Africans continue to purchase cryptocurrencies with fiat, looking to own a piece of arguably the most popular asset class in the world right now. Thus, exchange platforms in the country are enjoying increased patronage.

The vast majority of the cryptocurrency commerce in the country involves crypto/fiat trading pairs. Residents are either purchasing or selling virtual currencies like BTC, ETH, BCH, and XRP. There isn’t as yet, a crypto/crypto trading culture in the country as seen in Asia.

Luno is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in South Africa. The company operates in over 40 different countries around the world. Most of its services revolve around buying of BTC and ETH with rand (the official currency of South Africa).

For people who prefer ERC-20 ICO tokens, Coindirect is usually the platform of choice. The company offers crypto/fiat trading pairs for ICO tokens in addition to Bitcoin and other altcoins.

The situation in South Africa is remarkably at odds with what is going on in neighboring Zimbabwe. In May 2018, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe placed a ban on financial institutions from dealing in cryptocurrencies. Before the prohibition, local banks used cryptos to gaps in foreign currency and liquidity. However, the ban was reversed after exchange platforms in the country challenged the decision.

Blockchain Technology Adoption

Cryptocurrency trading isn’t the only booming sector of this emerging technological trend in South Africa. There is also an increase in blockchain technology adoption with a multitude of local and international projects. Both private and public-sector organizations in South Africa are trying to utilize the technology behind cryptos to develop useful solutions.

South Africa’s less constrictive regulatory space seems to have created an enabling environment for blockchain projects to thrive. The hope is that these projects begin to create real utility for the country’s economy.

Do you think thriving Bitcoin market in South Africa can spread to other African countries? What do you think are the potential benefits of cryptocurrency adoption in Africa? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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$9 Million: Bitcoin Startup Luno Completes Series B Funding

Bitcoin wallet startup Luno has raised $9 million in new funding as part of a Series B round.

Announced today, the round was led by Balderton Capital, a London-based VC firm that has invested in startups like Revolut, which launched cryptocurrency services earlier this year. As part of the deal, Balderton partner Tim Bunting will join Luno’s board. Other contributors to the round include AlphaCode and Digital Currency Group.

Luno was originally founded in 2013 as BitX, but rebranded in January. At the same time, the startup also announced that it had joined the regulatory sandbox supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority, one of the U.K.’s financial markets regulators.

In statements, the startup said that it would use the funds to continue developing its mobile app and services, as well as expanding to new markets.

“Enabling more people in Europe to have access to these products and services is a critical part of our mission to bring digital currencies to everyone, everywhere – and in a way that makes everyone’s journey into the world of digital currency safe, super easy, and highly enjoyable,” said Marcus Swanepoel, Luno’s co-founder and CEO.

Luno currently serves customers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa and the U.K.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Luno. 

Man and coins image via Shutterstock

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