Fortunately, I can indulge in both by announcing that payments for my advertising and design services can now be made with the crypto-currency.
Realistically, I’m not expecting a rush of clients to take me up on the offer though – for the simple reason that bitcoin is not widely known in South Africa, and not well-understood either.
So what is bitcoin?
In a nutshell, bitcoin is a crypto-currency allowing for an incredibly inexpensive and quick way of transacting and making payments. All transactions are transparent and appear on the Blockchain – a global public ledger – as they happen. (You can see how many people are transacting in bitcoin as you read this, by going to www.blockchain.info and viewing scrolling transactions in the bottom left corner of the screen).
In the US, more than 200 000 merchants already accept payment in bitcoin, and one can pretty much buy anything with it – from airline tickets to sea cruises, and from a coffee at Starbucks to an ipad on Amazon.
And how does it work?
For bitcoin to work, people – or businesses – need to open a Bitcoin wallet.
Bitcoin wallets can be opened on a number of online platforms – of which www.localbitcoins.com is one of the most common. Once you have a wallet, you need to purchase bitcoin, which you can do on one of three sites in South Africa: www.localbitcoins.com, www.altcointrader.co.za and www.bitx.co.za
Once you have bitcoin, you can make payments from your wallet to another wallet at the click of a button. In seconds, you’re done – payment made.
In South Africa, there are already a number of merchants accepting bitcoin – most of them online shops. They include:
- Silver Bananas
- Landmark PC
- Appliance Online
- Runway Sale
In time, there will be MANY more.
With the price of bitcoin set to soar over the next few years (that’s a prediction, shared by many analysts around the world), more and more businesses will start to accept it as the uptake of the crypto-currency increases globally. Huge growth is already being seen in the likes of India, Malaysia, China and South Korea whilst a number of countries in Africa – particularly Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria – are starting to embrace blockchain technology, and with it, bitcoin.
As more South Africans become aware of bitcoin and its advantages (there’s lots of information on the internet), uptake will increase. That’s a given.
Until that happens though, I’m not expecting a whole bunch of clients knocking at my door, wanting to settle their bills in the currency.
For me, it’s good enough right now that they know that the option exists – and that by paying in bitcoin, they could get an up to 15% reduction on their bill – depending on the requirement ie logo design, brochure design, website design, radio commercial, TV commercial, billboard, street pole posters etc.
(And yes, I’d be happy to forward my pricing to anyone interested, showing pricing in rands and bitcoin (BTC). Email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, if you need help opening a bitcoin wallet or have any questions relating to bitcoin – or for that matter, the soon-to-be-launched bitcoin payment gateway, Coinpay – my contact details are below.
Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects, running a small advertising agency in Johannesburg. He is also an ardent proponent of bitcoin and is an active member of BitClub Network. He can be contacted on 083 444 9888 and emailed on email@example.com