I’ve wanted to create a guide on “how to buy Bitcoin in South Africa” for quite some time now. Why? Well, I’m actually from South Africa and understand first hand the intricacies of buying BTC in ZA. By the way, BTC is short for Bitcoin.
No doubt, there are already many blog posts covering this topic. However, I feel they fail to mention many small, but still crucial, points. Most of them create a guide with the goal of earning affiliate commission from you. I’m not saying my guide will not include affiliate links, it might, but the main goal will be to help you.
Let’s get started!
Important note: I’m not an expert on any laws or specific banking procedures/fees. Please do your own research and figure that out for yourself.
What do you need?
-Know the risks involved in buying, selling and trading Bitcoin.
-You need a cryptocurrency exchange that accepts South African users in order to buy/sell crypto.
-You need a bank account with money in it in order to upload/deposit money to an exchange. There are different versions of this. Some exchanges accept EFT payments, PayPal and credit card.
-A little technical experience. If you’ve ever created an email account or any account for that matter, you should be fine.
-Also, consider dollar cost averaging to protect your investment and limit risk in this volatile market. Learn more about that here.
Which cryptocurrency exchange to use?
Here you have many options. You can register an account with a local exchange or an international one. With local, I mean that the exchange only serves South Africans.
I find local exchanges best since fees are often the lowest and depositing money is less sketchy, but it also has its cons. Prices on a local exchange aren’t always 100% accurate compared to the market in general.
With this, I mean that you could potentially see the price for Bitcoin is $4400 on Coin Market Cap. That price is supposedly an average anyway, but you still would want to buy at the best price. If the exchange rate USD/ZAR is R14 this means that BTC in rand value should be R61600, instead, someone is asking R64100 for one BTC on the local exchange.
You see what I mean? Basically, you can add your offer to buy BTC at R61600, but chances are it won’t be filled or you’ll have to wait a while for the order to fill.
Anyway, I still prefer to use South African exchanges as I said for ease of use, low costs, safety etc. However, as a South African, you have a few crypto exchanges to choose from.
Keep in mind, you can easily register with other international exchanges like Binance and Bittrex. However, if you want to enter the market, in other words, buy Bitcoin to store for long-term or exchange for something else, you need to use an exchange that allows you to upload/deposit funds.
South African exchanges
And probably many more…
My choice is ICE3X. For the rest of the guide, I will be using them in the screenshots. You can easily use another exchange, it’s totally up to you. You can register an account with each of them I listed and test them out. It’s just going to take a lot of time.
How to buy Bitcoin in South Africa? Step by step
Step 1 – Register an account with a cryptocurrency exchange
I feel like saying that if you’ve ever created an account for anything online you’ll be able to figure this out. This is not a guide on “How to register an account with ICE3x”. Just follow the instructions given here.
Keep in mind, most exchanges you register with will require some level of personal information. This is generally normal. They might ask for identification, a photo of you, address etc.
Once you’ve registered your account you’ll need to get verified in order to deposit and withdraw money/crypto. When I signed up it took about 24-48 hours.
The verification process differs per exchange, just take note of it and know what to expect.
Step 2 – Deposit money into the exchange
Once you’ve registered your account and you are verified, log into your ICE3X account and move on to depositing money. Remember you need fiat (South African Rand) to buy Bitcoin. Essentially you are exchanging fiat for BTC.
Once you’re logged into your account, it will look very much the same as when you are not. The difference is that you’ll get access to your dashboard with all the features you need.
Click on the “person” icon in the top right corner.
Next, your screen will look something like this (if you scroll down you’ll see all your account balances). I haven’t deposited any money recently so my balance is very low – actually almost zero.
Currently, ZAR is listed 2nd from the bottom, click on the deposit button next to it. You’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll need to enter the amount you want to deposit.
Fill in the amount you want to deposit, click confirm and follow instructions with regards to references and make the EFT payment. Keep in mind that they are using an FNB account. If you transfer from ABSA or another bank it usually takes between 1-2 days to arrive in your account.
I’m not going to go through this process further. All I can say is, make sure you use the correct reference.
Step 3 – Place an order to buy Bitcoin
Easy right? It’s just basically registering an account and making an EFT payment. Most South African know how to do that. Anyway, the next step is to place your order on the exchange.
Let’s assume your funds have arrived in your account and you’ve already logged into your ICE3X account. Start on the main page or just click the “Trading” link.
Make sure that in the left sidebar you select BTC/ZAR so that you can exchange ZAR for Bitcoin.
You can see that the last price BTC was sold at was around the R64000 range.
Now keep in mind, this is where you’ll need to calculate what the current dollar value of BTC is to compare prices on the exchange.
Find the BTC price at Coin Market Cap.
Just Google USD to ZAR to get the current exchange rate (not 100% accurate in my opinion, but a good baseline)
Here’s an example to help you:
BTC price in USD: $4281
BTC price in Rand: 4281*13.86 = R59334
Current price sold on the exchange: R64480
Difference: 64480 – 59334 = R5145
This means that on average they are asking R5000 more for Bitcoin than what the market is selling it at.
Next, I’ll take a look at the order book to see what previous trades looked like. To do that, remain on the same page but scroll down until you find the “History” section.
This will give you a look at what Bitcoin sold for throughout the day. As you can see, some BTC was sold at around the R60000 Rand mark which is more in line with the market price.
You can also check current buy orders to see what other South African traders/investors are willing to pay for BTC right now. On the same page, scroll up to the “Order book” section and look at the left column called “Buy orders“.
There is one buy order for the R64000 range and the rest in the R61000 range and below. I would ignore the first order as it is for a very low amount of BTC and place an order for R61010 just to be first in line.
You can see that there aren’t currently any sell orders in the R64000 range, but that doesn’t matter. If you stick to the price and the rest of the buyers do the same, eventually you will get the fair price as stated in the market.
Don’t try to get more BTC at someone else’s expense. Be fair. If the market dictates an average price of R60 000 per BTC, offer that or in that range. Don’t try to buy at R55 000, that’s just foolish and not fair in my opinion.
Okay, finally we’re going to place an order. On the same page, scroll up again to the “Buy BTC” section. Fill in the amount you want to spend and price per BTC. The amount you buy should fill in itself.
Once you’ve entered all the details and you are happy with the price per BTC as well as the total you are spending, click the “Buy BTC” button.
Remember that the current price and explanation I gave is just an example and my own preference. You could just as well place your buy order at the exact price that someone is trying to sell BTC at and get your order filled instantly.
Remember that it’s all about supply and demand. You want BTC (demand), but now someone needs to supply it and at the price you are willing to pay.
Step 4 – Wait for the order to fill
As you can see in the example, I didn’t really buy any BTC, just took you through the process. Once your order is filled, in other words, once someone has agreed to sell their Bitcoin at the price you are willing to buy Bitcoin, it will show in your account balances.
Refer to the same account balances screen in step #2.
That’s it, you’ve just bought Bitcoin!
Remember how I said that the prices aren’t always fair. Well, sometimes you’ll probably get fed up and just buy Bitcoin slightly above the market value in order to exchange it for another time-sensitive trade or opportunity.
If you end up doing so, what I recommend is to withdraw your crypto as soon as possible and exchange it for whatever you wanted to in order to avoid any loss. That’s just my opinion, the market could just as well turn around to the other direction as well.
Also, the same principals that worked for buying Bitcoin can work for any other cryptocurrency or altcoins if it’s listed on the exchange. If it’s not, just register an account on the exchange that it’s listed on and make the trade.