Monthly Archives: June 2017

Why Bitcoin is Often More Expensive in South Africa


Bitcoin pricing on local exchanges can vary significantly from the average exchange rate on international platforms.

The price users pay for a Bitcoin can be influenced by numerous factors, including trade volume and market size.

Many South Africans have also noticed that the price of Bitcoin on local exchanges is different to that shown by Google’s exchange rate.

Price Difference

At the time of writing, a single Bitcoin cost R37,000 on South Africa’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, Luno.

However, searching for the Bitcoin price using Google delivered a value of only R33,000.

Google Finance’s disclaimer states that its current Bitcoin price is calculated using data from Coinbase, a popular international exchange.

This amounts to a difference of R4,000 between global and local Bitcoin pricing – an issue Luno addressed in a recent blog post.

The exchange said; “There is no standard or global Bitcoin price, and its local price is determined primarily by supply and demand”.

Luno also pointed out that the Bitcoin price listed by Google is an average of current trade values on Coinbase, and excludes transfer fees and other costs involved in purchasing Bitcoin with fiat currency.

This means that the Bitcoin-to-rand exchange rate shown by Google is the US dollar value converted to Rand, and is not representative of local markets.

Bitcoin in South Africa

Luno said its Bitcoin price was higher in price than international exchanges due to the supply and demand of the South African market.

An exchange is a platform which allows users to sell Bitcoin to buyers, and the amount of sellers relative to the amount of buyers determines the Bitcoin price for that particular exchange.

The price of Bitcoin can vary greatly from one exchange to the next, depending on the individual markets of these platforms.

Luno’s Werner van Rooyen said; “The main driver of the local Bitcoin price was the South African market, not the exchange“.

“Although it is easy to speculate about the causes for the Bitcoin premium seen from time to time, it is important to realise that you are not trading directly with Luno,” said van Rooyen.

“We merely provide the platform upon which buyers and sellers interact. The forces of supply and demand ultimately determine the price,” he said.



The lack of a standard or tethered Bitcoin value allows for users to engage in arbitrage potentially.

Arbitrage is defined as the buying and simultaneous selling of assets in different markets to take advantage of differing prices for the same product.

This can be profitable, depending on the user’s local exchange and the price difference between markets, but is also limited by transaction fees and other costs involved in moving money internationally.

Arbitrage does occur, although it is reliant on market conditions, transaction speeds, and transfer costs.

Recently, there was a massive discrepancy between Bitcoin exchanges in South Korea and global averages, allowing users to make enormous profits thanks to arbitrage opportunities.

7 Reasons why S. A. Ethereum miners are buying all the AMD graphics cards

7 Reasons why S. A. Ethereum miners are buying all the AMD graphics cards

AMD’s Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 graphics cards are in high demand globally and are almost impossible to find in South Africa.

Reason # 1 Wootware‘s Matthew Berry said; The recent global increase in cryptocurrency value has caused miners to purchase more AMD Radeon RX-series graphics cards, leading to a decrease in availability.

Miners use graphics cards to mine blockchains and earn cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ZCash.

Reason # 2 “The cryptocurrency mining boom has created a surge in demand for RX 570 and RX 580 GPUs in particular,” said Berry.

Reason #3 The graphics cards are favorites among cryptocurrency miners due to their high hash rate and relatively low price.

AMD’s Radeon RX 400-series cards were succeeded by RX 500-series GPUs, and although there are Radeon RX 560 and RX 550 cards available in South Africa, top-end RX 400-series and RX 500-series cards are sold out at most retailers.

Reason #4 Less-powerful AMD graphics cards like the Radeon RX 550 are not as popular due to their lower hash rates.

Reason #5  Crypto mining has become a profitable undertaking, and six Radeon RX 480 graphics cards mining Ethereum every day can generate the owner a monthly income of around R10,000 ($ 780) at current prices.

Global Stock

Berry said additional stock of the AMD cards is arriving in the country on a continual basis, but all of this generally fulfills back orders

Miners around the world are clamoring to buy RX 580 and RX 570 cards, as they can pay for the hardware with three to four months of cryptocurrency mining.

Reason # 6 As the value of cryptocurrency increases, more users are building crypto miners, and existing miners are expanding or updating their hardware due to increased returns.

Reason # 7 Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have seen dramatic increases in value in 2017, making it more attractive to purchase graphics cards and mine the digital currencies.

The performance of mining cards below:

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