The first of its kind in the country, Johannesburg will soon be home to the country’s first cryptocurrency ATM. This will be a significant milestone for crypto enthusiasts and doubters alike as it proves to both parties that there can be a happy, reliable medium between virtual and fiat currency.
Not only does having an ATM make virtual currency accessible to the average man but it allows for those who’ve been apprehensive about trying out cryptocurrencies to dip their toes in. The ATM will be located at the Northwood Spar and General Manager, George Neophytou is excited at the prospect of having the first crypto ATM at his branch. “It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream,” Neophytou says.
South Africa made an unsuccessful attempt at having a Bitcoin vending machine in 2014, but the market was not ready to leap virtual currency. However, in the last three years, the cryptocurrency market in South Africa has matured. According to Gareth Grobler of the registered trading platform, ICE3X, there was an “estimate [of] between 200 000 and 300 000 people in South Africa involved in cryptocurrencies” as of December 2017.
The man behind this ambitious development George Neophytou explains that the idea came from his extensive travels in Europe where he encountered several Bitcoin points of sale. It’s a different world there,” explains Neophytou. “Walking around in the streets of Germany you see signs with ‘Bitcoins accepted there.”
The only thing holding up the launch of the ATM is the regulations behind trading virtual currency, and although not supported by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Neophytou is confident that his ATM will be legitimate. He says that they are finalizing “the T’s and C’s” before launching the cryptocurrency ATM…doing everything by the book, we don’t want anything to be done under the cover. If someone gets cryptocurrencies from this ATM, they must know that it is safe to use.”
Last month WeeTracker reported that Golix launched the first Bitcoin ATM in Zimbabwe and are now set to extend their reach to South Africa. According to Coin ATM Radar, there is an estimated 3041 Cryptocurrency ATM’s in the world and South Africa is set to join the list of 68 countries in the coming week. Currently, only two African countries on the continent are on the list, Djibouti & Zimbabwe each having one ATM location.
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