You may have heard about Bitcoin, the virtual currency that was invented in 2008. If not, consider yourself lucky to now stumble across the opportunity to learn more about it. Through the use of open-source software, users can transact directly without needing an intermediary (central authority or bank) to manage the transactions. The issuing of Bitcoins is carried out by the network.
This is essentially an innovative payment network and a new kind of money. Bitcoins can also be obtained in exchange for different currencies, products and services. Bitcoin has grown in popularity as a form of payment for products and services and merchants are more open to accepting it because unlike credit cards, any fees are paid by the purchaser, not the seller.
This innovation is now available in South Africa with the first vending machine now installed. Local users are finally given the capability to get Bitcoin for Rand (ZAR). The machine is run locally by the business, Tremendis Learning. The vending machine débuted in South Africa in Kayalami, north of Johannesburg at a business called Metroman. Understandably, the use of Bitcoin by South African vendors is still limited but the focus for now is to educate merchants about it.
To get Bitcoin at the vending machine, consumers need to have a Bitcoin wallet installed on their smartphone. To achieve this, numerous apps have been developed. The apps generate a code that the Bitcoin vending machine can read and use to deposit the purchased virtual currency. The tech savvy workings behind this vending machine may seem rather complex, but in reality the concept works almost like a normal ATM. In terms of security, the machine will be smash and grab resistant and as a precaution will not be left unattended or outdoors.
It really is exciting to know that South Africa has it first Bitcoin vending machine. With plans to eventually install one in Cape Town and another in Pretoria, we may be seeing a lot more of the machines in future. It’s worth noting that these machines don’t come cheap, so careful expansion is required. Payfast (SA online payments processing service) announced that all South African online shopping sites that make use of their service will now be able to accept Bitcoins as payment. It all seems to be coming together nicely and the future of Bitcoin vending machines looks promising.