Last year we watched the world’s most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, embark on a seemingly unstoppable rampage as the price soared to a high of $1 242 (R14 000) at the end of November… only to be hit with regulatory concerns in some countries while being outright banned from use in China, one of the markets that had been fuelling the price surge.
Last night however, barely ten months later, the average price of a Bitcoin had fallen below the $300 (R3 383) mark coming just two weeks after the price had fallen below the $400 (R4 524) mark.
At the time of writing the price of a single Bitcoin was hovering around the $325 (R3 671) mark on the Bitcoin average price index while on the local BitX exchange the price was just over R4 000, far from the lofty heights of November 2013.
While some have been quick to embrace Bitcoin as a method of payment, it’s governments and financial institutions that have been most resistant to the currency.
In South Africa payment gateway PayFast, which is used by around 30 000 online shopping sites including takealot.com, accepts Bitcoin as payment for transactions. PayFast then pays the merchant in South African Rand ensuring that all of its merchants don’t need to agree to accept Bitcoin upfront and at the same time allowing it to stockpile the currency in case the price should take off again like it did last year.
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