Bitcoins still decades away from daily use in SA

Although virtual currency bitcoin has rapidly taken off across the world and in some cases in South Africa, few people still understand how it works.

This is the view of Simon Dingle, the head of product at BitX, which is incorporated in Singapore and offers South African’s access to the bitcoin platform.

“Bitcoin is still in the early adoptive phase and there is an opportunity for people to learn about it,” Dingle said at the Moneyweb Expo on Saturday.

The confusion has no doubt led to scepticism about the virtual currency, subsequently seeing a lot of push back from industry players and financial regulators.

Despite this hurdle, it seems like the interest in bitcoins in the African continent is growing. Dingle said BitX has offices in Cape Town, Nigeria, Kenya and Malaysia, targeting emerging markets where bitcoin is piquing the interest of many.

Bitcoin is a digital currency which enables users to make purchases and payments online without any intermediaries including the state and banks. “It [Bitcoins] is beyond the control of anyone, unless you take control of the internet,” he said.

Users of bitcoins have been able to send money overseas and transfer money over the internet using digital currencies to another user.

But Dingle said bitcoins have cracked the nod from regulator the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), but there is still no formal regulation into the use of bitcoins.

“There is no regulation at this point but we have a good relationship with the Sarb. We may have regulation of bitcoins soon in South Africa.”

More countries in recent months have been mulling water tight regulation into bitcoins, but few have enacted legislation. Dingle said New York has proper regulation into bitcoins and the state of California has been proposing regulation.

It seems like local banks are on board with accepting monetary transfers of the value of

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