One only needs to visit coinmap.org to see how fast Bitcoin – the digital currency worth R12,750 on 29 Jan 2017 and R37,947 on 24 June 2017 (and continues climbing) – has grown since it began in 2009.
To become a part of this exponential growth and to save costs by cutting out the middlemen like Visa, Mastercard and the banks, here’s how you can get started using Bitcoin and how to convert it back to Rands. In years to come, there will be no need to convert it back to Rands as Bitcoin will become a currency we will trade with.
The Coinmap map above is where you can register your business to show that your business accepts Bitcoin once you have a Bitcoin wallet set up.
Let’s get your business accepting Bitcoin
Before we begin, we would suggest a slow migration strategy to Bitcoin. You want to get used to how it works, accept the fluctuations Bitcoin still experiences and start transferring small amounts of Bitcoin between people before you start buying massive amounts of Bitcoin.
Because Bitcoin is not a widely accepted form of value transfer – yet – people don’t understand how you can buy a loaf of bread with Bitcoin, so we still need to convert it back to Rands until it is more widely adopted.
To get started with Bitcoin in your business, you will need the following:
- A bitcoin wallet – a bitcoin wallet is like a bank, in fact, you are your own bank.
- In the case of a business, it is suggested that two responsible people have access to the wallet, in case something happens to one person, the other person needs access to the wallet.
- Until Bitcoin becomes a currency everyone agrees to use within South Africa, we will need to exchange it back into South African Rands. Here are a couple of ways to do this.
- Luno.com is a South African based Bitcoin company who can convert Bitcoin back to Rands for a fraction of the cost it would take to transact with major credit card companies.
- LocalBitcoins.com is another online service where Bitcoin can be exchanged for Rands. Do your homework before transacting with people online.
- Exchange with someone in person who owns Bitcoin – again, be cautious of who you transact with.
- Bitcoin is still a volatile currency but its value has only ever increased over time. The solution to avoid this volatility is to convert the Bitcoins to Rands at the point of transaction. Here, Luno.com has partnered with Payfast.co.za to do just that. The long-term goal, however, is not to have to convert it back to Rands but to keep it as Bitcoin and pay for goods and services with Bitcoin.
Setting up a Luno.com account.
- Go to Luno.com and open a bitcoin wallet with them.
- Complete all the necessary documentation to complete the account set up.
- Once complete, you should be ready to
- Start accepting Bitcoin.
- Buy Bitcoin with your regular bank account like Capitec, First National Bank, Standard Bank etc
- You will now be able to create as many wallet addresses as you like to be able to have someone pay into your account.
All you need is a Bitcoin address. There is no need for Bank name, account number, branch code, account type. Just a single encrypted payment string like this, “12jdbAEqLcZQ8pYVgUaU3C1hfV4g2sqm6u” or the QR code for that string, like the one you see here.
Once people start paying you into your account, you can convert it back into Rands using the services above. (Note: Bitcoin is still a volatile currency so the amount you get out may differ)
Telling people that you now accept Bitcoin in your business
There are multiple ways to educate your clients/customers that you now accept Bitcoin
- Once you have set up your Bitcoin wallet, all you need to do is print the QR code and display it at the Point Of Sale in a transparent graphic frame. This could be at the till where people pay, online at a checkout page or any other point where payment is accepted. Because Bitcoin is relatively new in South Africa and a fair amount of education is needed to help people understand how Bitcoin works, we have created this free downloadable template for you where you can put your own QR code in that could be displayed in a standup transparent PVC holder.
- In your marketing. Ensure you tell people on your website and through your email marketing that you now accept Bitcoin as an alternative payment method. We have created a very easy template that you can use in your marketing for you.
- You can also register your business at coinmap.org where millions of other retailers have registered their companies.
In our next article, we will explain how you convert Bitcoin to Rands and Rands to Bitcoin
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