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You'll need a Bitcoin wallet before you buy since some exchanges require one.
Don't have a wallet? Read our guide on the best Bitcoin & cryptocurrency wallets.
Luno is a Bitcoin exchange with a presence in South Africa, Singapore, Nigeria, Malaysia and Indonesia. It offers 0% fees for market makers, meaning you can avoid fees if you place a buy order then wait for a seller to take it.
Luno also offers an Instant Buy feature.
Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card. They charge a 4.9%-5.9% (depends on volume) fee on each purchase.
Customers in Europe can also purchase bitcoins with SEPA transfer for a lower fee.
Want to buy using Coinmama? This step-by-step guide will show you how to use Coinmama.
Founded mid-2011, Kraken is the one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and the largest in Europe based on daily average trading volume. It is available in almost all countries. Deposits can be made via bank wire, SEPA, ACH and SWIFT.
LocalBitcoins is an escrow service which also helps to match bitcoin buyers and sellers. The most common method of payment for purchase is cash deposit. However, users may advertise trades for whichever payment method they prefer.
Buying bitcoins via an in-person meeting, secured and facilitated by LocalBitcoins, may be one of the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoins in any country.
CoinCorner is a Bitcoin exchange based on the Isle of Man. They cater to first-time buyers in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, and certain African, Asian, and South American countries. CoinCorner users may purchase bitcoins with SEPA, credit/debit card, GBP bank transfer, and now Neteller too. No verification required for purchases under £100.
You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they're also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%.
Bitit lets you purchase bitcoin online with a 3DS-enabled credit/debit cards or with cash via Neosurf, Flexepin (coming soon) and Cashlib vouchers, available in over 150,000 local stores across Europe.
Mycelium Local Trader helps you find local Bitcoin sellers. Once you locate a seller, you meet up in-person and conduct the trade. Mycelium charges absolutely no fees. While Mycelium Local Trader works great in highly-populated areas, users in low population areas will have trouble finding sellers.
Changelly lets you buy bitcoin with Litecoin, Dogecoin, altcoins and many other digital tokens. Changelly works in nearly every country but you will need another cryptocurrency in order to purchase bitcoins. Exchanges happen almost instantly because Changelly never actually controls your tokens but just exchanges them.
Bitcoin is extremely popular in South Africa thanks to a variety of reasons such as economic uncertainty and political tensions. In fact, South Africa ranks second in the list of countries that are most interested in Bitcoin after Nigeria, according to Google Trends. That’s not surprising considering that South Africans have been on the lookout for alternative investment options to protect themselves against economic and political turmoil that rears its head in the country from time to time.
For instance, Bitcoin trading in South Africa started rising from March 2017 when the country’s finance minister had to vacate his post under controversial circumstances. When ratings agency S&P downgraded the country’s local currency debt to junk, Bitcoin trading in South Africa shot through the roof.
Online trading platform eToro saw a massive spike of 671% in Bitcoin trading through its platform from January to November 2017 as compared to the prior-year period. However, Bitcoin trading in the country must have taken a hit in 2018 as Bitcoin’s value started tumbling, while the government also started taking steps to regulate the currency.
The regulatory environment for Bitcoin in South Africa has been favorable so far, though the Reserve Bank has made it clear that it won’t treat the digital currency as “currency” but as “crypto assets.” The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) released a “Consultation Paper on Policy Proposals for Crypto Assets” in January 2019 that suggests favorable guidelines and recommendations for digital currencies.
The SARB is of the opinion that cryptocurrency-related businesses should register with the country’s Financial Intelligence Centre, a move that’s potentially aimed at increasing the adoption of the likes of Bitcoin by taking care of the risk-related factors. For instance, the SARB’s consultation paper points out that a digital currency such as Bitcoin could fragment the monetary system of the country by influencing money demand and supply.
Additionally, the unregulated nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gives rise to potential scams according to the paper, so this is another area the SARB wants to address. As a result, the agency will introduce measures to keep a check on financial terrorism and money laundering, and plans to introduce the rules in a retroactive manner based on the way the cryptocurrency industry in South Africa develops.
This makes it evident that South Africa will move in a cautious but progressive manner to regulate cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in the country. That could give Bitcoin adoption a boost in the country going forward as potential buyers will have measures in place to protect their investments.
Users looking to buy Bitcoin in South Africa can do so from one of the many exchanges available in the country. However, buyers should keep in mind that they should first get a wallet to store the Bitcoin. In case you don’t have a wallet, you can go through our guide on the best Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets.
Once you have a wallet in place, you can choose from the likes of Luno, Coinmama, CoinCorner, Bitit, and a few other options to buy Bitcoin from. There are different pros and cons of all the exchanges. Luno, for instance, allows users to instantly buy Bitcoin, is known for free deposits, and provides users with really high limits based on their verification level.
Users, however, are advised against storing their Bitcoin in the Luno wallet as online reviews suggest due to certain concerns such as potential security flaws and long deposit and withdrawal times.
Another way to buy Bitcoin in South Africa is through Bitcoin ATMs, through there aren’t many of them available in the country. South Africa has a total of five Bitcoin ATMs spread across the four cities of Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Nelspruit (Mbombela). These ATMs allow users to buy Bitcoin using cash in a quick and easy manner as it doesn’t require sign-ups and identity verification with exchanges, which might take up a few days to go through.
However, the drawback of buying Bitcoin through an ATM is the high transaction fees that range between 5% and 10%.
More importantly, South Africa gives users more than a few choices where they can spend their Bitcoin. In fact, cryptocurrency exchange Luno reports that there are thousands of merchants that accept Bitcoin in the country, including stationery seller Applebee, fashion clothing provider BLVD Boutique, and even hula hoop performers.
In the end, it can be concluded that Bitcoin is in a healthy state in South Africa and it should continue flourishing thanks to the government’s proactive and positive approach toward developing the country’s cryptocurrency system.