Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, a country in depression where the GDP has fallen by some 20% after stagnating for half a decade, growing by just 1%.
They are now turning towards bitcoin more and more to preserve some value, with bitcoin investments reaching all time highs in South African money, Zar.
Some $2.4 million exchanged hands at the peak recently in peer to peer bitcoin trading in the country.
While in centralized exchanges Luno and Valr handle more than $10 million a day in BTC/ZAR trading.
That’s significant for a country of $350 billion in GDP where inflation is slightly high at above 3%.
Like much of the world they too are worrying about how the lockdowns may affect their economies and the value of their money.
That’s especially the case as in South Africa there are capital controls. Citizens there can’t easily move money out without much paperwork, making bitcoin thus an appealing choice.
Some analysts suggest people are even dropping gold in favor of bitcoin, most likely because it is far easier to transfer or transport with you.
It may well be some of these coins are also used for international trade, in particular with China which is increasing its investments in the African continent, but also with Brazil and other places.