This website has been created to show you how to get Bitcoins, the online currency that is taking the world by storm. Click here to see the current value of 1 Bitcoin. Click here to see current value in Rands. To see a graph showing Bitcoins value over time, click here. A lot of people are interested in investing in Bitcoins, or simply getting some to shop anonymously online. Click here to see why VCs are lovingthe Bitcoin market.
As with most things on the internet, they are often geared towards the US or EU, and it might take you time to find the best online service for you in South Africa.
Keep reading to see how to buy Bitcoins in South Africa.
What is a Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized, open-source digital currency that will eventually have a fixed number of units: 21 million. That amount will not be reached until 2140, however. The currency releases 25 new Bitcoins per 10 minutes. That number will decline, being set to halve in 2017, and every following four years.
At that rate of exponential decline, the number of new Bitcoins will slow to a veritable trickle long before the cap is reached.
Are They Anonymous? Why?
Bitcoins are anonymous because they're built upon a decentralized system. Bitcoins exist entirely on their own because there's no central infrastructure to shut down. That said, every transaction is displayed live on the internet.
How do people get Bitcoins?
You can buy Bitcoins with money, eg. bank transfer (see 'Let's Get Started' below). But you can also play prospector and "mine" them as well.
You do this by using your computer to hunt for 64-digit numbers. By having your computer repeatedly solve puzzles, you're competing with other miners to generate the number that the Bitcoin network is looking for. If your computer generates it, you receive 25 Bitcoins.
Can I Convert My Bitcoins To Cash Later?
Absolutely. If you're not quite ready to live a 100% Bitcoin life yet, you can get real money for your Bitcoins.
Or maybe you're thinking of investing in Bitcoins - to buy now and sell later. You only need to get linked up with a Bitcoin exchange. The most popular one is called Mt.Gox (see below under 'Let's Get Started'). It currently only takes new members based on an application, but several others are out there. These are your go-to destinations to buy Bitcoins from other people or to turn your digital Bitcoins into real, analog money.
Should I Invest In Bitcoins?
As of right now, there are still large swings in value that make it difficult to be reliable. It’s certainly more volatile than most paper currencies. So if you’re looking for a safe bet to put your savings into, this isn’t it. The volatility could be desirable if you’re looking for short-term gains, but not for your life savings. Treat it like a gamble.
How Do I Spend My Bitcoins?
Bitcoin does have a substantial underlying economy with a growing number of merchants participating; BitPay alone has over one thousand merchants using their payment processing system. But for a solid list of products and services that accept Bitcoin payments, click here and there is another list here. Bitcoins are even being accepted for travel.
Is It Legal?
Bitcoins aren't physical artifacts used to represent value the same way that dollar bills and coins are. Governments are not currently worried about Bitcoin because it's not "tender," i.e., coins or bills that look like they're manufactured by the government.
LET'S GET STARTED!
It takes a second to setup a Bitcoin wallet. Once that's done you can deposit funds, buy Bitcoins, sell Bitcoins and convert into cash. I use mt.gox which seems to have a strong reputation and is used by a lot of people. It is very popular and is not a scam. They also confirm on this page that they do make international wire transfers, should you wish to withdraw funds.
Some others you might want to check out: blockchain and campbx and bitstamp.
In South Africa, FNB offers overseas transfers via their standard online banking website. This means you can sign up with mt.gox and then deposit funds into the mt.gox account (based in Japan) using your normal online banking website, and start buying Bitcoins (with mt.gox) once the funds have cleared.
A South African Based Exchange Platform -
We are currently in development of BitcoinTrade, South Africa's first online platform where you can buy and sell Bitcoins in real-time from other users. Your buy or sell orders are matched against a parameterised database of other orders. If a perfect match is found, a Bitcoin-to-ZAR trade is executed instantly.
This system will reduce time spent waiting for international transfers to clear.
NEWS ABOUT BITCOINS
- How An Unregulated, Decentralized Virtual Currency Just Became A Billion Dollar Market (techcrunch)
- Bitcoin Obliterates "The State Theory Of Money" (forbes)
- Russians Most Interested In Bitcoin (telegraph)
- Bitcoin Really Is an Existential Threat to the Modern Liberal State (bloomberg)