South Africa’s first Bitcoin vending machine has been installed, giving users the ability to get Bitcoin in exchange for rand.
The difference between a Bitcoin ATM and a Bitcoin vending machine is that the former dispenses cash for Bitcoins, while the latter provides Bitcoin in exchange for a local currency.
Rolf Deppe and his business partner, Monre Botes, run the Lamassu Bitcoin vending machine through their business Tremendis Learning.
“We decided in February that we wanted to bring a Bitcoin vending machine to South Africa. At the time there were about 100 around the world, but none on the African continent. We wanted to push the envelope, so we ordered one, and three months later it landed on our shores.”
The vending machine is situated in Kyalami, north of Johannesburg, at a business called Metroman. It’s a friend’s shop, which opened on 1 June, says Deppe.
Deppe is an Android and iOS application developer and is writing apps that can be used with Bitcoin. He says he is also considering establishing a Bitcoin exchange in South Africa. That won’t be a first, though.
The use of Bitcoin by South African vendors is still very limited, and the idea for now is to educate merchants about Bitcoin.
Deppe hopes he can encourage more businesses to adopt the virtual currency. The company also hopes to become the “go-to guys” for merchants wanting to accept Bitcoin.
The Lamassu vending machine earns Tremendis Learning 6% of the value of each transaction, but considering the cost of the machine, it won’t be recouping its investment. It cost them about R75 000, including importation fees.
“We are also looking at putting machines in Pretoria and Cape Town, but we will use a much cheaper model that costs about R10 000.”
To get Bitcoin at the Bitcoin vending machine, consumers need to have a Bitcoin wallet installed on their smartphone. There are numerous apps available, but options include Blockchain for iOS and Mycelium for Android. These apps generate a QR code that the Bitcoin vending machine can read and use to deposit the purchased virtual currency. Given the exchange rate at the time of publication, a single Bitcoin will set you back the princely sum of R4 600. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media