The decreasing value of the local South African currency, the Rand, continues to attract its citizens to alternative stores of value.
Over the past few months, South Africa has consistently been one of the top countries in Google search rankings for the term ‘Bitcoin’ – above Slovenia, Australia and the Netherlands. The South African Rand (ZAR) hit a six-month low this June as a result of market sell-offs prompted by a strengthening US dollar driving capital away from the country.
High unemployment, corrupt politics and one of the highest rates of economic crime in the world have also contributed to diminishing trust in the local economy. However, despite its economic woes, South Africa still maintains the second-largest economy on the continent after Nigeria.
This year has seen South Africa get a number of cryptocurrency ATMs installed in various cities and exchange services in the country have been receiving record levels of trading. Popular local exchanges including Coindirect, Luno and Paxful offer services to buy and sell cryptocurrency with South African Rand. Coindirect, which also has a Nigerian branch, offers trading pairs of ZAR or USDT to BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH and LTC.
Plans to launch a full cryptocurrency trading platform in the country have recently been announced by asset management firm Sygnia. The platform will be called SygniaCoin and offer financial services beyond just trading and purchasing of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency mining in the country is also growing in popularity, with local retailer BitMart offering a large array of cryptocurrency mining hardware amongst other products such as Trezor wallets.
Despite an announcement in April by the South African Reserve Bank that cryptocurrencies are not recognized by law, sales and trading in digital assets have not been affected. Last month the bank even announced a successful trial of a Blockchain payment settlement system. The central bank and revenue service are now looking into developing regulations for the market and a tax framework.
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