A pedestrian walks past a bitcoin currency poster at the entrance of an electronics retailer in central Tokyo, Japan. Reports on Friday said Tokyo-based Coincheck, one of Japan’s largest bitcoin exchanges, had suspended all withdrawals and trading in cryptocurrencies. Picture: EPA/African news Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Bitcoin revolution has taken South Africa and several other African countries by storm with over 500 companies accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

Money has evolved over generations - the forms of money we use now are different from what our ancestors used.

But many people are still sceptical about this evolution or transition from one form of currency to another and are still reluctant to trade in bitcoin after reports of investment losses due to dealing with illegal traders and having little knowledge about cryptocurrencies in general.

Business school, Red & Yellow said from this year it would accept the “next wave of financial currency” because it is the “obvious route”.

“The world is changing rapidly, as are our students and it’s our responsibility to ensure we are serving their future-focused needs.”

“The reality is that bitcoin is here to stay and with many youngsters having made a good return on their investment in cryptocurrencies, they now want to use this digital cash to invest in their education, as future leaders,” said Rob Stokes, chairperson of Red & Yellow.

Stokes said cryptocurrencies, and bitcoin in particular, had an important role to play in the world ahead.

“We need to ensure that our students have a solid understanding of that future. Furthermore, there are a number of South Africans who have done well with their bitcoin investments and now want to translate that success to an investment in their education. Those are exactly the types of forward-thinking students we have always attracted and we want more of them.”

Professor John Simpson, former head of management studies at UCT and now leader of the faculty at Red & Yellow, agreed that not only would the move make the institution’s offerings “more accessible” to the public but it will also “set us apart on an international scale, regardless of the market”.

According to Stokes, the school’s objective is to have each student own a bitcoin this year, thus joining tens of thousands of others that are trading in the cryptocurrency.

A Bitclub network, recently started in South Africa, has now grown to countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia where it has a large number of members.

The founder of Achievers’ Club - which is part of the Bitclub network - Hanna Pinza, said there was a potenmtial maximum of 21 million bitcoins in global supply.

“So it is largely a demand-supply driven market. Whereas in 2015 one could buy a bitcoin for the value of R3 000. Two-and-a-half years later it’s valued at about R150000,” she said.

People join the bitcoin revolution in three ways:

* They buy through a credible legal exchange. They buy to hold and resell at higher prices at an opportune time. This is recommended for short-term and long-term investors.

* They invest in mining. The machines are kept in countries such as Iceland and Russia, but investors can buy as many mining farms as they wish.

* They use it as an online or offline a form payment.

Weekend Argus