Breaking New Ground: South Africa Gets Its First Bitcoin Atm

South Africa, whose citizens are increasingly interested in investing and trading in cryptocurrencies, is to have its first functional bitcoin Automated Teller Machine (ATM), following up on Zimbabwe and Djibouti.

The country has the most sophisticated financial services sector in Africa and has been the front-runner in cryptocurrency taxation on the continent. This is in stark contrast to Zimbabwe which has banned banks form dealing in cryptocurrency payments and transactions.

In 2004, South Africa got its first ever bitcoin ATM at Kyalami in Johannesburg but reports say it was closed as there was no significant user interest in it.

The latest attempt is by Northwood Spar, whose general manager, George Neophytou, is optimistic that the timing is just right now. South Africa has also become a hub for digital ventures and innovators, with Zimbabwe’s crypto exchange platform saying it will open a new office there as it expands into Africa.

Neophytou said:

“It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream.”

According to a report, there is an estimated “200 000 to 300 000 people in South Africa involved in cryptocurrencies” as of the end of 2017.

The new bitcoin cash machine for South Africa will allow trade and purchases of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which is the most popular virtual currency. reported this week that about 47% of South Africans plan to invest in cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency mining.

According to those spearheading it, the ATM will “take away much of the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies” breakthrough onto the mainstream as trade, investment and payment options.

A website which tracks crypto ATMs across the world mentions Djibouti and Zimbabwe as the other African countries that have bitcoin cash machines. The website says there are about 3042 bitcoin ATMs in about 68 countries across the world, highlighting that these are run by about 424 operators.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified: March 4, 2021 5:09 PM

Tawanda Karombo

Tawanda Karombo is a tech and finance journalist focusing on Sub Saharan Africa and other regions. He has over 10 years experience specializing in ICT, telecoms, tech-finance, business and economic reporting and can be contacted directly on