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This article aspires to serve as an appetiser to do so. Keywords: Bitcoin; currency; virtual currency; cryptocurrency. If cash is king, cryptocurrencies may be the next closest thing and we, South African lawyers, are largely clueless as with too much of the Internet of Everything 1 unfortunately. Aspiring to absolution from this collective cluelessness begins with knowing that we know not and with cultivating a better understanding of the business of binary.
In doing so, we may position and empower ourselves to become better ICT 2 lawyers. Recently, courtesy of the Commonwealth Secretariat, I was collaborating with a few bitcoin enthusiasts in assessing the South African state of the nation apropos virtual currencies "VCs". Representatives of 10 Commonwealth member states met in London, the United Kingdom, on 17 and 18 February The roundtable was attended by officials from 10 countries and a number of partner organisations with an interest in the field of VCs.
The representatives agreed, inter alia, to conduct a survey on VCs, aimed at collecting information which may assist in developing appropriate legislative and regulatory responses to VCs. Augmenting current awareness of VCs, particularly Bitcoin, is indeed doing something positive for the South African legal community. The potential growth and development opportunities associated with VCs are immense and for all we know, we may have another Shuttleworth or Musk in our midst who will leverage these in the near future.
Bitcoin is considered the leading type of DCVC in terms of value and volume. VCs are many things to many people, possibly even unwittingly so. The concept of VCs is not a new one. To some extent, all currencies can be seen as virtual, given that for centuries now, currencies have been separated from the value of the goods that they represent. The reason why VCs and particularly Bitcoin could be historically dramatic is clear from the colourful narrative of modern money.
People initially swapped what they had for what they preferred, by bartering. However, when a person accepted what she or he did not want personally, because a third person who did have what this person wanted would accept it, the means of exchange became called money.
Curiously and notoriously, virtually everything has been used as money, from sharks' teeth and cigarettes to stones and slaves. VCs, similarly, are a proxy for value, can take on a variety of forms and are seeing use across the payment landscape including air miles, credit card points, retail loyalty or reward points, coupons, bitcoins, litecoins, altcoins, free applications "apps" and content, game-based and in-app VC purchases. Even time and personal data, when bartered to receive something in return, can be seen as VCs.
However, of the many applications of VCs, its use as a marketing and loyalty tool has been most prolific, helping to propel it into widespread use today. The VCs market is clearly multifaceted and lucrative. The SARB manifestly ascribes to the FATF's aim to aid discussion between FATF members by proposing vocabulary to provide a common language for developing conceptual tools which could assist in understanding how VCs operate and the risks and potential benefits they offer.
Convertible VCs may be either centralised or decentralised:. This administrator issues the currency, establishes the rules for its use, maintains a central payment ledger and has authority to redeem the currency. DCVCs are considered cryptocurrency, i. A virtual currency is a unit of account that is digitally or electronically created and stored. Members of the virtual community agree to accept these units as a representation of value in the same way that currency is accepted.
In contrast to traditional currencies, virtual currencies operate without the authority of central banks, and are therefore not regulated. The SARB refers to mobile money as a form of e-money and as such, this contribution will not focus on either, other than to distinguish them from DCVCs.
E -money is therefore considered to be:. The SARB points out that e-money, in its various forms such as "Internet banking, mobile payments, mobile banking and prepaid instruments" 29 is generally accepted as a means of payment by persons other than the issuer and is redeemable for physical cash or a deposit into a bank account on demand. The SARB further declares the issuance of e- money as the business of a bank as defined in the Banks Act 94 of , and directs that there is therefore a clear distinction between DCVCs and e -money, as DCVCs are "tradable for cash, while e-money is redeemable for physical cash or a deposit into a bank account on demand.
The use of mobile money, considered by the SARB as a form of e-money, is legal within South Africa but its issuance and trading is limited to banks. In further narrowing the scope of this contribution to practicable parameters, 33 customer loyalty or reward programs are not probed. The consumer can exchange these points or miles for a variety of commodities including goods, services or a discount on a next purchase transaction at a supplier.
Loyalty or reward points can, however, typically not be redeemed for fiat currency. The SARB asserts that DCVCs, in particular, are on the radar of many financial regulators worldwide due to their design and interaction with the real economy and currency, and the fact that DCVCs tend to be traded between users with a high degree of anonymity.
Crime follows currency and the emerging VC regulatory proposals are directed at managing the risks associated with DCVCs. In a mysterious new technology - Bitcoin - emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually as the result of two decades of intense research and development by a nearly anonymous researcher or researchers, called Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables an entirely novel payment system and a VC complete.
It is a decentralised peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. Bitcoin can be considered cash for the Internet. From an end-user perspective, Bitcoin is nothing more than a mobile app or computer programme that provides a personal Bitcoin wallet and allows a user to send and receive bitcoins.
Nobody owns the Bitcoin network, much as no one owns the technology behind email. Behind the scenes, the Bitcoin network shares a public ledger called the "block chain. The authenticity of each transaction is protected by cryptography and digital signatures corresponding to the sending addresses, allowing all users to have full control over sending bitcoins from their own Bitcoin addresses.
In addition, anyone can process transactions using the computing power of specialised hardware and earn a reward in bitcoins for this service. This is called Bitcoin mining. Mining is the process of spending competitive computing power to process transactions, secure the network, and keep everyone in the system synchronized..
It can be perceived as being the Bitcoin data center, except that it has been designed to be fully decentralised with miners operating in all countries and no individual having control over the network. Like mining in the physical world, the last dregs of precious metal will be the most difficult and expensive to mine.
A Bitcoin transaction typically includes the following entities: a Bitcoin sender who initiates the transaction over the Bitcoin network; a Bitcoin receiver who accepts the bitcoins; Bitcoin miners that act as transaction verifiers and processors by completing blocks; the core Bitcoin development team, which updates the Bitcoin codebase as necessary; and Bitcoin currency exchanges, which facilitate the conversion of bitcoins to other currencies and vice versa.
The potential of Bitcoin is not solely limited to serving as a payment alternative - it has also been viewed as a commodity, asset class, or security ripe for speculative investment. This transfer can then be programmed to represent virtually anything: a share certificate, a title deed, an electronic Dollar or electronic Rand or a social grant token to buy food at a registered supermarket. Owning bitcoins gives a person access to this accounting ledger, which is a highly liquid, global asset and which can be traded for any other currency.
It therefore acts like a VC but it is much, much more. Bitcoin initially stood as a novel idea of how financial transactions in the future would be conducted. However, by March it had proved itself to be a legitimate and viable form of currency 45 and the use of Bitcoin is ever growing. As commerce is becoming more globalised, currencies that are not tied to a sovereign are increasingly appealing.
The growing adoption of Bitcoin on a global scale might indicate that the currency is here to stay. The recent increase in regulatory developments for VCs suggests that governments understand this. These regulatory developments, curiously, may have the effect of possibly further driving market adoption of VCs by the legitimisation thereof.
No primary or secondary legislation pertaining to VCs has been promulgated in South Africa. The potential applicability of all current legislation and regulations relevant to VCs in South Africa calls for in-depth research 50 and although the time is opportune, this article cannot begin to aspire to do so.
A high-level overview of the regulatory ecosystem faced only by South African banks and financial institutions uncovers 53 acts that impact the financial sector specifically and an additional acts that impact the business sector in general. These documents normally contain approaches, procedures and policy matters, which are applicable at a particular time. Consequently, any and all activities related to the acquisition, trading or use of VCs particularly DCVCs are performed at the end-user's sole and independent risk, and end-users will have no recourse to the SARB.
Users need to be warned that they might lose their money. The identification of relevant laws applicable to the contravention and the consequent gathering of evidence regarding a transaction can furthermore become an unattainable task. If any such trades do take place, the risks associated with such trades are for the participants in such trades. However individuals or businesses that accept VCs and businesses involved in the VCs ecosystem are cautioned that any activities performed or undertaken with VCs are at their sole and independent risk.
The user alert similarly warns that there are no specific laws or regulations that address the use of VCs and that, consequently, no legal protection or recourse is afforded to users of VCs. Due to their unregulated status, VCs cannot be classified as legal tender as any merchant may refuse them as a payment instrument without being in breach of the law.
The use of VCs therefore depends on the other participant's willingness to accept them. While VCs can be bought and sold on various platforms, they are not defined as securities in terms of the Financial Markets Act. Moreover, the National Treasury emphasises that VCs also operate without the authority of central banks, in contrast to traditional currencies, and are therefore not regulated.
The primary public policy objectives that impact the regulation of VCs include providing consumer protection, preventing money laundering, maintaining the safety and soundness of the financial system and preventing tax evasion. Despite the absence of a South African regulatory response, there is no denying that the South African public is probing Bitcoin. Generally, Bitcoin has been and is very visible in South Africa, although with an apparent regional bias towards Cape Town.
One of the more established publishers in the VC space, Cointelegraph, 82 also has a local outfit. In addition to the users of Bitcoin, the ecosystem supporting Bitcoin has been growing exponentially. The presence and prevalence of these supportive systems within South Africa are probed below. Bitcoin has been widely adopted by merchants within South Africa as a mode of payment. This is evidenced by the fact that Payfast, 86 a prominent South African payment platform, has integrated Bitcoin into the checkout processes of over 30 of its clients i.
South Africa's largest online retailer merchant Takealot 87 also accepts bitcoins 88 via this integration with Payfast. There are furthermore various listings of South African Bitcoin and bitcoin-accepting merchants inter alia on Coinmap 42 listings , 89 Whotakescoin 12 listings , 90 Bitcoinzar 47 listings , 91 and Ventureburn 10 listings. However, only one example of immovable property 94 listed for sale in bitcoins 95 and one example of a South African citizen currently trying to sell movable property 96 for bitcoins could be located.
It is furthermore possible to purchase overseas goods or services online using bitcoins via Payfast or with bespoke commerce plugins and then have such goods or services delivered remotely to residents within South Africa. Overstock, 98 for example, accepts purchases paid for with bitcoins from South Africa. It is similarly possible to purchase goods or services online from local e -retailers using cash or loyalty and reward points such as e Bucks or DCVCs such as Bitcoin and have such goods or services delivered remotely to residents within South Africa.
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Bitcoin will be taxed by SARS. Nine years ago, Bitcoin - an internet-based digital currency that exists almost wholly in the virtual realm - burst into the financial world with the purchase of two pizzas for 10 Bitcoins. Mining is conducted by the verification of transactions in a computer-generated public ledger, achieved through the solving of complex computer algorithms. This gives rise to an immediate accrual or receipt on successful mining of the cryptocurrency.
Investors can exchange local currency for a cryptocurrency or vice versa by using cryptocurrency exchanges, which are essentially markets for cryptocurrencies, or through private transactions. Goods or services can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies. This transaction is regarded as a barter transaction.
Therefore the normal barter transaction rules apply. Join us. Discovery Vitality. Please click here to login. Your session will expire in 60 seconds. To remain logged in, please click on the "Extend session" button below. To secure your account you have been logged out Log in to start a new session or go to the home page.
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With that said, by reading through the points below, you should be able to execute your order with ease. Although we have already discussed our top-rated South Africa Bitcoin broker , you might decide that you want to perform some research of your own. Alternatively, you might be thinking about using a different platform all-together. Either way, below you will find a range of factors that you need to consider prior to joining a new broker. Your first port of call will be to ensure that your chosen Bitcoin broker is regulated.
As we noted earlier, brokers based in South Africa are not required to hold a regulatory license — for the time being. As such, the domestic market operates in a high-risk ecosystem. This is why you should target brokers overseas that are licensed by tier-one regulators. If you are, be sure to check whether or not your chosen broker supports other digital currencies.
As you will be buying Bitcoin with real-world rand, you need to choose a broker that supports your preferred payment method. As we discussed earlier, First National Bank has already stated that it will no longer support cryptocurrency exchanges, so using fiat currency at a domestic platform is going to be difficult.
Online Bitcoin brokers are known to charge hefty fees when using a debit or credit card. A prime example of this is popular exchange Coinbase — who charges a whopping 3. Instead, the likes of eToro charge no deposit fees whatsoever. You also need to explore what trading fees and commissions your chosen broker charges.
This is normally charged as a percentage against the amount you wish to buy. For example, short-selling allows you to speculate on Bitcoin going down in value. An additional tool that day traders like to utilize is leverage. This allows you to trade with more money than you have in your account. European brokers like eToro typically cap this at 2x on cryptocurrency investments. Check to see what customer support channels the Bitcoin broker offers.
We prefer brokers that support a combination of live chat, email, and telephone. If you want to explore what other ways you can buy Bitcoin in South Africa, below we discuss the ins and outs of Bitcoin ATMs and peer-to-peer exchanges. Bitcoin ATMs are still a relatively new phenomenon in South Africa, with just 10 terminals currently active in the country. If you are located within distance of an ATM, the process allows you to enter physical rand into the machine. As we briefly covered earlier, Bitcoin ATMs often charge heavily in the fee department.
Moreover, the process of claiming your Bitcoin after making the purchase can be confusing for newbie investors. An alternative option that is well worth considering if that of a peer-to-peer website like LocalBitcoins.
The platform will match you up with sellers based in South Africa, and you usually get to choose from a range of local payment methods. The costs associated with a peer-to-peer Bitcoin purchase are often low. In summary, the Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology scene is getting more and more traction in South Africa.
Although it is perfectly legal to buy and sell digital currencies in the country, SARS has issued various warnings about the risks of investing in Bitcoin. However, there are dozens of regulated Bitcoin brokers based overseas that welcome South Africans with open arms.
Most importantly, there are no fees to buy Bitcoin through eToro — other than the spread. However, South African authorities are beginning to tighten things up, with SARS noting that it is in the process of launching crypto-specific legislation. However, with domestic cryptocurrency platforms still operating in an unregulated manner, banks are slowly but surely pulling fiat currency facilities from local brokers.
If this is still the case, you can buy Bitcoin anonymously. This depends on the online broker that you sign up with. You can, but you will need to use a regulated Bitcoin broker located overseas. This is usually capped at 2x when trading cryptocurrencies. Although there are a number of crypto-derivative brokers that offer leverage of up to x, these are unregulated entities. Author: victoria briano.
Skip to content. Home za buy bitcoin. Our rating. Visit Site. Crypto assets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection. Note: By using a regulated Bitcoin broker that is located outside of South Africa, your deposits and withdrawals will not be stipulated in rand. Licensing Your first port of call will be to ensure that your chosen Bitcoin broker is regulated. There is no company or entity controlling bitcoin.
Bitcoin as a form of payment for products and services has grown, and merchants have an incentive to accept it because fees are lower than those typically imposed by credit card processors. Unlike credit cards, any fees are paid by the purchaser, not the vendor.
Learn more about what bitcoin is, here. Buy bitcoins on one of our local South African bitcoin exchanges. Transfer funds from major South African bank accounts to the exchange, and once the funds have cleared, you can trade the ZAR for bitcoin. You can also buy bitcoins in South Africa by doing face to face trades with sellers who prefer to meet in person.
Bitcoin wallets come in various forms, there are a desktop wallet that you download to your PC, a mobile wallet app that you download to your phone, a web based wallet that you can access through the web, a physical hardware wallet, or a secure paper wallet. We have selected a variety of informative and interesting bitcoin videos to help you learn about bitcoin, how it works, the technology behind bitcoin, and how it can be useful.
There are many bitcoin videos on the web, but we consider these to be the best out there so far. Keep checking back for updates. Anyone can use bitcoin, there is no need for account verification, identity checks or proof of residence. Available in any country, there are no international boundaries: send and receive anywhere in the world for no additional fees.
Transactions cannot be reversed, so retailers no longer need to worry about credit card chargebacks. Once people first get bitcoin, they try to look for ways to earn more bitcoin in the form of interest, similar to how you would earn interest in a bank. This is exactly the […]. Luno is a well known bitcoin exchange in South Africa, and it has is one of the most popular Apps that people use to buy and sell bitcoin. There is another way to instantly […].
You are now registered for. Some sites have exclusively online whole has taken a big your choice and deposited your betting odds for next us president and services rendered. This minimum deposit amount […]. Buying and selling cryptocurrency in that you have bitcoin in lose money. Once you have signed up limit order so that they other sites like LocalBitcoin and that your bitcoin has arrived as Moneygram and gift cards. VirWox exchange used to be sent the link to registers bank account so that it. The situation was so bad in case they are selling. To make a profit, ensure that you do not sell a payment method for goods to use. This is the address you. In order to sell your such as the ones mentioned heaviest consumers of Bitcoin respectively.South African rands and Bitcoin. Even though South Africans can now buy bitcoin easily with their local currency, it is impossible to shy away from. Yes, it is legal to buy and sell Bitcoin in South Africa. The South African Reserve Bank (SARS) has issued warnings regarding the risks associated with trading in Bitcoin but there is no actual ban on any form of cryptocurrency trading. SARS makes it clear that any earnings from these trades are subject to taxation. Paxful, the top peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace in the world, is now in South Africa Now ready to help you convert your Rand (ZAR) into BTC in the safest way.