How to buy Bitcoin in South Africa
I’ve dabbled in the world of Bitcoin for a while now. In this article I will try to describe all the methods I have personally used to buy Bitcoin.
NB: Before you even think about following any of the instructions below, make sure you understand how Bitcoin addresses and wallets work, how to perform transactions and how to store your Bitcoins securely.
If you are new to the world of Bitcoin, please first read this article: Bitcoin?
How to exchange your Rands for Bitcoins
I’ve successfully used three ways to exchange South African Rands for Bitcoins.
Here they are:
- Buy them from someone who is advertising on LocalBitcoins.com.
- Buy them on the BitX Bitcoin exchange.
- Find someone who wants to sell Bitcoins and just buy directly.
I did not have much trouble using LocalBitcoins.com to buy Bitcoins. Just go to the website, complete the 2-minute registration process, look for people in South Africa who wants to sell Bitcoins, make an EFT into the seller’s bank account and wait for your Bitcoins to arrive.
Buying on the BitX Bitcoin exchange was a bit cheaper, but there was a lot of admin involved. You have to register an account, submit your FICA documentation, transfer Rands into your account, place an order to buy Bitcoins and then wait for a seller to sell at the price you are offering to buy.
Finally, you can just buy Bitcoins in the same way you buy anything else on the informal market, e.g. by looking for or placing an ad in the classifieds.
NB: If you’re going to buy Bitcoin on the informal market, as with any other trade on the informal market, be careful and make sure you know what you are doing. Treat the transaction in the same way as you would if you were buying a 2nd hand computer or camera from someone you don’t know.
Bitcoin as a currency
The best way to get your hands on Bitcoin is to accept it as payment for something. In other words, just use it for what it is – a currency.
A colleague borrowed some money from you to pay for his lunch? Get him to pay you back in Bitcoin.
Selling a 2nd hand set of golf clubs? Ask for payment in Bitcoin.
If you get your Bitcoin in this way two good things happen:
- The people around you become aware of Bitcoin, they immediately understand what it is and why it is useful.
- You don’t have to go through any effort to exchange your Rands or other currencies for Bitcoin.
Lastly, remember that Bitcoin is still a very young currency. The exchange rate can go up and down very quickly. For the average person it is definitely worth buying a small amount of Bitcoin just to play around with. However, for the time being, it is risky to buy a large amount of Bitcoin.