African financial service giant Old Mutual just released the 2018 Savings and Investment Monitor survey for South Africa. The study shows that 38% of the residents and citizens of Africa’s second-biggest economy who were already aware of the existence of digital assets wished they had put their money in cryptocurrencies.
Old Mutual Limited is a pan-African investment, savings, insurance, and banking group. Established in 1845 in South Africa, it had more than 12 million customers and ZAR1.2 trillion funds under management as of 31 December 2017. It is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and London Stock Exchanges.
The study shows positive sentiment regarding cryptocurrencies in general with 71% of them saying that “you can make a lot of money with them.” However, there are also 43% of South Africans who likened them to pyramid schemes. These might be the result of mainstream media bombarding the nation with negative news about cryptocurrencies.
This survey comes after data obtained from Google Trends shows that based on online searches of Bitcoin, South Africa had the highest level of interest in the world in the flagship cryptocurrency over the past 12 months. Adding to this narrative, a survey conducted by South African tech publication MyBroadband, the MyBroadband 2018 Cryptocurrency Survey, revealed that nearly 50% of those who were not currently in possession of digital assets or had never owned them planned on investing in them this year.
Perhaps due to the popularity of cryptocurrencies in the country and the higher adoption relative to other African countries, the South African Revenue Service late in April demanded that taxpayers declare gains or losses they have made from cryptocurrencies as part of their taxable income.
At the time, SARS indicated that cryptocurrencies were intangible assets, not currencies. In the case of cryptocurrency miners the tax agency directed that mined coins would be treated as ‘trading stock’ until exchanged or sold for cash.