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If you’re not virtually mining it or relying on the kindness of the internet, the most common way of getting Bitcoin cryptocurrency is to trade at an exchange. The latter requires you to make an EFT, which can take a few days to complete, and requires you to manually match bids on the exchange.
Another option is trading your cold hard cash for Bitcoin. This is done using a Bitcoin ATM like Lamassu’s machine recently launched in Johannesburg, South Africa — the first of its kind in the country.
Rolf Deppe and Monre Botes from local IT coaching company Tremendous Learning are responsible for this initiative. The machine was installed in Kyalami, Johannesburg at a men’s salon called Metroman, and the pair hopes to implement more machines across South Africa in the near future.
According to the site, the machines cost US$6 500 (about R65 000) each. TechCentral further notes that the machine charges a transaction fee of 6% that goes to Tremendous Learning.
“We are also looking at putting machines in Pretoria and Cape Town, but we will use a much cheaper model that costs about R10 000,” says Deppe.
To use the machine, you’ll need a Bitcoin wallet on your smartphone (see list of popular alternatives). The Bitcoin ATM then scans your wallet’s unique QR code, takes the cash you’ve inserted, and voila! You have yourself some cryptocurrency in a matter of seconds.
These are exciting times for the digital currency in South Africa. Just a few weeks ago PayFast partnered with the local exchange, BitX, to add a Bitcoin payment option to more than 30 000 online shops, including one of the country’s largest commerce sites, Takealot.