South Africa Sees Bitcoin Surge
Last week saw a regional surge in the price of Bitcoin in South Africa as the weakening currency of the country - the rand - prompted many who were able to, to invest in the digital currency and get rid of their own one.
The rand saw a rapid devaluation last week in the light of an internal scandal where Pravin Gordhan, the finance minister, was charged with fraud offenses amid a power struggle that he's having with the president, Jacob Zuma, himself facing allegations of corruption and allowing himself to be influenced by outside interests. Without getting too deep into the weeds on the exact issues in South Africa, these scandals coming to a head last night have collapsed the rand and prompted insiders to start comparing the country to Venezuela and other failed states.
Naturally, this uncertainty has led investors to try to dump off their rands and invest in US dollars - and also Bitcoin - in an attempt to maintain their savings. In the case of Bitcoin, the prices has surged five percent, from $629 - already higher than the global average - to almost $672 just over the course of last week.
The crisis shows that whenever currencies devalue around the world, then Bitcoin is more and more becoming something of a life raft that investors will grab onto during their time of need.
South Africa is not Venezuela yet - not by a long way - but if the current situation continues, who knows what may happen.