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Bitcoin is gaining traction in SA: Over 30,000 sellers now accept the digital currency

by , 18 July 2014

Yesterday, South African online payment provider PayFast announced that it's now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Buyers using PayFast can now select Bitcoin as a form of payment. The company's move demonstrates the growing popularity of using the digital currency as means of payment.

Let's take a closer look…

PayFast and BitX bring Bitcoin to SA

PayFast has enabled “Bitcoin access to over 30,000 online merchants, adding it as a payment option to its platform,” says Coin Desk. BitX, a South African digital currency exchange, will process any Bitcoin payments received meaning that merchants receive their payment in rand “and avoid Bitcoin price volatility”.

PayFast is “the first payment processor in South Africa, and one of the first anywhere, to offer the cryptocurrency as an option,” reports Money Beat. Jonathan Smit, the founder and MD of PayFast says they’re “not really seeing a demand for Bitcoin from customers… [but it’s] very much a hot topic on South African lips”.

It’s easy for customers to select Bitcoin to pay with

When customers get to the payment part of their transaction, they can select Bitcoin as a payment option, notes IT News Africa. And that means around 30,000 PayFast accounts can now “receive payments using the digital currency”.

Mr Smit says PayFast didn’t consider accepting Bitcoin in the past as they “didn’t want to be involved in the volatility,” reports Coin Desk. But with the partnership with BitX he changed his decision and “it was the synergy between the two companies that allowed the process to happen”.

In Africa and other emerging markets, many see Bitcoin “as a solution to the problems of high money-transfer fees,” says Money Beat.

PayFast’s Bitcoin facility started yesterday. Time will tell if this is the start of widespread use of Bitcoin in South Africa.

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Bitcoin is gaining traction in SA: Over 30,000 sellers now accept the digital currency
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