Despite its slow progress when it comes to acceptance in Africa, crytocurrencies have managed to achieve quite a milestone in the continent.
One of such milestone is the Bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM).
Statistically, from a publication by Bitcoin Atm Rader , shows that the number of Bitcoin Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the United States alone, now stands at 1,966, positioned throughout 43 different states and districts across the country.
In all, there are 4,112 Bitcoin ATMs across the globe as of January, 2019, with Africa boasting of, about a handful of such ATMs.
According to Wikipedia, “a Bitcoin ATM is a kiosk that allows a person to purchase Bitcoin by using cash or debit card. Some Bitcoin ATMs offer bi-directional functionality enabling both the purchase of Bitcoin as well as the sale of Bitcoin for cash. In some cases, Bitcoin ATM providers require users to have an existing account to transact on the machine.”
“There are two main types of Bitcoin machines: cash kiosks and ATMs. Both types are connected to the Internet, allowing for cash or debit card payment, respectively, in exchange for bitcoins given as a paper receipt or by moving money to a public key on the blockchain. Bitcoin cash kiosks look like traditional ATMs, but do not connect to a bank account and instead connect the user directly to a Bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin-enabled ATMs are traditional ATMs and connect to a bank account to allow for a cashless purchase of bitcoin.”
So where are these ATMs located in Africa?
In total, there are reportedly nine Bitcoin ATMs in Africa.
South Africa stands out as the leader of all African countries when it comes to bitcoin adoption.
It is home to five cryptocurrency ATMs that are situated in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit and Cape Town. On Average, these ATMs can dispense between a minimum to a maximum of 100 to 1 Million South African rands (ZAR). Most ATMs require identity verification if you are buying more than 5,000 rands.
Nonetheless, none of these ATMs dispenses cash as they operate only fiat-to-crypto. Another discouraging factor about using the ATMs is its high charges ranging from 8 to 14 percent.
Kenya’s first Bitcoin ATM which was installed in 2018, in Nairobi, the country’s capital, is operated by the BitClub Network.
It is a fiat-to-crypto only ATM and a minimum of 500 Kenyan Shillings worth of bitcoin and litecoin can be purchased using the machine.
The Kampala Post Office hosts Uganda’s only Bitcoin ATM, which is run by KIPYA Bit2Big, a local Blockchain company.
Bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether are the only crypto’s that can be purchased from this ATM.
Golix, is the first ever cryptocurrency exchange in Zimbabwe and one of the biggest in Africa.
Golix runs a bitcoin ATM in its office in Harare. Its machine allows buying and selling of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and litecoin.
Somewhat surprisingly, there is also a Bitcoin ATM in the East African country of Djibouti.
The Bitcoin ATM which is located at Appart Hôtel Moulk, is operated by, Group DOS. They plan to introduce two more Bitcoin ATMs in Djibouti.
Chief Executive Officer of Group DOS, Mr. Eleyeh Issa, who confirmed this to BitcoinAfrica.io, added that two new Bitcoin ATMs will be set up in the coming weeks, one at the airport and one at a shopping mall.
Despite the fact that the use of Bitcoin ATMs in Africa may come with high charges, which makes them less appealing to investors, the fact that aids some other investors who want to get started with their first bitcoin investment can not be overemphasized.