Highlighting the Unfortunate Difficulties of Buying Bitcoin in Botswana for South Africans
Bitcoin is legal in Botswana, but that does not mean that it is easy to get a hold of. Those who are interested in purchasing bitcoin must do so from exchanges located outside of the country and in some instances, they actually need to leave the country to make the purchase.
Philonah Shamukuni is a 21-year-old student who is also an affiliate of a global compensation-based bitcoin investment company. She is recognized in the country’s bitcoin community and even organizes meetups for those who are interested in learning more about bitcoin.
Concerning her own bitcoin experiences, she uses the Bitcoin.com wallet for direct BTC purchases. She does so with pre-funded bank cards that are accepted worldwide. However, at some point, Simplex, the third-party provider ceased serving Botswana without providing any explanation. She stated to new.Bitcoin.com,
“One just needed to have enough information on the charges and how to go about their purchase [through in-wallet apps]. As different platforms changed their policies, purchases on wallets using Simplex as a third-party seller were no longer supported and so purchases on the Bitcoin.com wallet ceased. It was a sudden and unexplained change. We had to find other ways to source BTC.”
One such method was through Coinmama, a crypto exchange registered in Slovakia. However, even then, the exchange also started denying access to those in Botswana. Shamukuni stated,
“Different changes were also made and many times accounts were blocked due to unexplained reasons which made it inconvenient to buy Coinmama.”
Another issue that may be making obtaining crypto a challenge is bitcoin pricing in Africa. The lack of crypto means that the price of crypto is quite high. Alkanani Itireleng, the founder of Satoshi Centre, stated
“Recently one company put up a bitcoin ATM, which some complain is a bit expensive.”
She’s nevertheless rather optimistic about the future, predicting:
“I think Botswana is growing in the use of bitcoin and I believe we will still see more bitcoin ATMs and exchanges setting up in the country as the environment is a bit friendly.”
Even with all the troubles, though, it seems that Bitcoin enthusiasts in Botswana have still held strong.