Interest for Bitcoin Highest in South Africa

Justine Pope
  • South Africa has highest worldwide with interest for Bitcoin
  • Countries policymakers keen to engage with the industry for harmonised approach

South Africa is luring big payers in the crypto ecosystem driven by populous demand. According to data from Google trends, South Africa is the highest ranking country worldwide with interest for Bitcoin. Demand is drawing international exchanges and major asset managers to set up their services in the country.

South Africa has a well-established legal framework that governs the financial services’ industry and this is attracting industry leaders. However, while the crypto industry is still growing, regulators are mindful that defining crypto-activities may risk limiting the extent the industry evolves in the region.

In April, policymakers and regulators gathered to engage with the industry and identify key considerations, working toward developing a harmonised approach to fintech-driven innovations across the region. One of their key concerns was cryptocurrencies and the government’s role in regulating them.

Recent crypto developments in the country include:

The established cryptocurrency exchange, Luno, already operates across 40 countries, which also includes South Africa. The exchange allows South Africans to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum directly with rand after a FICA process.

SygniaCoin launches, and is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2018. SygniaCoin is a new exchange platform, run and founded by CEO, Magda Wierzycka. Sygnia’s exchange will give users the option to purchase crypto with Rand and will base their rules and regulations on exchanges in New York.

Large international exchanges are also starting to see the potential for adoption across Africa, with Binance set to launch a cryptocurrency-fiat exchange in Uganda.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coindirect has also recently launched trading pairs between rand and a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple.