Bitcoin is undoubtedly the buzz word today, not only within tech and financial circles, but amongst the average joe on the street as well. The most famous of the cryptocurrencies has seen its value increase by more than 2000% since the beginning of 2017 and show no signs of slowing down as it surpassed the $17 000 mark on Thursday 7 December 2017. This has led everyone asking the question, how do I get on the train?
The risks around such cryptocurrencies are many and clear for anyone to see. There is no regulation, no guarantees and the highly volatile nature of the currency means that the price will likely continue to fluctuate on a daily basis.
However, despite these risks, people still want to know what bitcoin is and how to get on the gravy train…before it derails.
With all of this in mind, drawing on information from Bitcoinzar, IT News Africa has laid out a guideline of 8 ways you can invest in Bitcoin.
1) Buy bitcoin in South Africa from a bitcoin exchange
The first option for potential investors is to search for licensed bitcoin exchanges. These exchanges will accept a deposit from your bank account and once the funds have cleared, you can purchase and trade bitcoins. Buying bitcoin from an exchange is the safest and most secure way to buy bitcoin when you are starting out. In South Africa, there are two such exchanges, namely Ice Cubed, and Luno.
Some of these exchange may deal in a multitude of cryptocurrencies which allow you to play around and find your preference. If you would like to be in full control of your bitcoin once you have used an exchange, you can withdraw your bitcoin from the exchange to your personal bitcoin wallet.
2) Use buy and trade sites
There are a number of sites where you can find people near you who are also looking for buyers and sellers of bitcoin. You can advertise that you would like to buy or sell bitcoin and you can trade with others. Trades can happen online using escrow and bank transfers, or you can meet buyers in person and trade cash for cryptocurrency. There is, of course, an element of risk in using such a method. Such sites do exist in South Africa, localbitcoins.com is just one of them.
3) Buy bitcoin in South Africa with PayPal
It is possible to use your PayPal account to buy bitcoins online suing the VirWox exchange to first purchase Linden $ (currency used in the game Second Life) and then using those to buy bitcoin.
Buying bitcoin with PayPal might be risky for the vendor as transactions can be reversed, so there might be limits to the amount of bitcoin you can purchase in the beginning.
4) Buy bitcoin using your credit or debit card
It is possible to buy bitcoin using your credit card. In order to do this, you will need to visit a site such as CEX.IO. Once there you will need to get registered, add your card to the system, deposit money, and finally buy bitcoin. You will have to pay the USD or EUR rate for bitcoin on the CEX.IO exchange, with a 3.5% credit card fee + $0.25 fee for deposits.
5) Buy bitcoin at a BTM (Bitcoin ATM)
Yes, it’s not a type- there is an ATM-like system for Bitcoin. In South Africa the first and only Bitcoin vending machine has been installed, giving users the ability to get Bitcoin in exchange for rand. The vending machine is situated in Kyalami, North of Johannesburg, at a business called Metroman. Visit the BTM at the Metroman store to purchase bitcoins using cash (Rand) during regular office hours. To get Bitcoin at the Bitcoin vending machine, consumers need to have a Bitcoin wallet installed on their smartphone with QR code that the Bitcoin ATM can read, and use to deposit the purchased virtual currency.
6) Buy and sell bitcoin using Mycelium wallet on your mobile phone
If you have installed the Mycelium wallet on your mobile phone, there is an option for you to Buy and Sell bitcoin with other users of the Mycelium wallet. You can advertise that you are looking to buy or sell bitcoin, and using your GPS information, the wallet will let you know of other people near to you who also want to trade. Mycelium wallet will help you to trade with the other users face to face.
7) Mine your own bitcoin
It is still possible to mine your own Bitcoin. The process however requires huge computer processing capacity and at the current exchange rate for bitcoin, you just might end up spending more money on equipment and electricity costs than is worth your while.
8) Find a Bitcoin broker
As with most things in life, if you do not understand it, get a professional to do it. There are a number of bitcoin brokers out there that will be able to assist you and whom will only ask for a fee in return.
We must emphasise that this article does not constitute financial advice and anyone thinking of investing in Bitcoin should consult a licensed financial professional.