While Bitcoin recovers from a hard drop, investors around the world are once again looking at buying into the cryptocurrency for major returns.
South Africa is no different, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum increasingly gaining traction as a mainstream ‘investment’ option.
This is evident in the sheer number of trades being made by South African traders, says Werner van Rooyen, head of marketing for cryptocurrency exchange, Luno.
Looking at the cryptocurrency exchange one year ago, roughly 1,000 BTC was being traded per week at a rate of R11,086 a coin. As of 9 November between 4,000 and 7,000 BTC is being traded per week at a rate of R108,113 a coin.
While this exponential growth can be explained by the sudden rise in value of the currency as well as higher volumes of trade, it is still almost impossible to tell exactly how many South African have invested in Bitcoin over the last year, or are currently invested in the currency.
“It is nearly impossible to give an accurate number for this,” said van Rooyen. “It’s pretty simple to get a Bitcoin wallet (with a BTC receive address) and to create multiple receive addresses. This is why most journalists and researchers struggle to give an accurate number.”
Bitcoin still the first choice
While Bitcoin remains the cryptocurrency darling, other options such as Ethereum are also starting to gain mainstream appeal to investors, said van Rooyen.
“We find that people who are completely new to digital currencies start out by buying a small amount of Bitcoin,” he said.
“This could be because of network effects —their friends and colleagues might have told them about Bitcoin— or the recognition that Bitcoin now enjoys as the most-established digital currency, after years of development, integration and being featured in the news.”
Van Rooyen confirmed that the most popular digital currency request on Luno was Ethereum which prompted the exchange to offer added support for the crypto.