SA's crypto-currency appetite surpasses Europe's

Read time 3min 10sec
In SA, 69% of respondents in the survey indicated that they were familiar with crypto-currencies.
In SA, 69% of respondents in the survey indicated that they were familiar with crypto-currencies.

South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia reported higher levels of crypto-currency familiarity and ownership compared to their European counterparts.

This is according to a report released today by crypto-company Luno. To gain a better understanding of the potential benefits and risks associated with crypto-currencies worldwide, Luno commissioned Kantar TNS in October 2018 to conduct a survey across 10 countries.

The findings from the South African survey have been highlighted in a report titled, 'Why do people buy crypto-currencies? A South African perspective'.

Using computer-assisted Web interviewing techniques, respondents from 10 countries (SA, Indonesia, Malaysia, France, Ireland, Romania, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and the UK) were selected for the survey with over 1 000 participants in each of the countries, all of whom were at least 18 years old.

In order to achieve a representative cross-section of each country's population, Kantar balanced each sample across the key demographics, such as age, gender, income, geographical region, education level, domestic status and social class self-identification.

In SA, 69% of respondents in the survey indicated that they were familiar with crypto-currencies, while almost a third (29%) said they owned a crypto-currency. More than half of South African respondents indicated that they are interested in buying a crypto-currency.

"The world is currently undergoing a major shift in the evolution of money," says Marius Reitz, country manager for SA, Luno. "The existing financial system was built for a non-digital age but the world now has access to new technologies like decentralised crypto-currencies. This is enabling us to reimagine the financial system and to upgrade the world to something better."

He adds: "Upgrading to this new financial system will empower a multitude of people by ultimately lowering their cost of living, providing them with more and better economic opportunities, increasing the value retention of their wealth, and giving them with more financial freedom."

The research findings suggest, says Luno, South African consumers are adapting to meet this new financial system head-on. It adds that more than 80% of respondents recognise crypto-currencies as an investment class and are prepared to hold it over the long term.

However, a robust proportion of early adopters (23%) use crypto-currencies for commercial transactions as more and more South African and online retailers recognise it as a payment method, the company says.

According to Luno, although there has been a significant rise in adoption across the globe, there is still far to go before crypto-currency becomes a mainstream payments method. Trust and security remain significant barriers in the way of the critical mass adoption, it points out.

The survey indicates that 48% of South Africans are concerned about losing money when using crypto-currencies due to phishing scams, transaction errors or other security concerns. In close second place, 47% or respondents indicated that the possibility of buying a crypto-currency from a trusted supplier, would influence them to buy crypto-currencies more than they do now.

Luno points out that greater stability in the price of crypto-currency was only the third-highest factor (39%) which influenced confidence in the new technology among South African respondents.

Bitcoin is still the most well-known cryptocurrency worldwide, including South Africa, followed by Ethereum, despite the rapid rise of new alternative coins such as Ripple and Dash, Luno conludes.

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