How Kgothatso uses bitcoin in South Africa instead of a bank account

Kgothatso lives in Pretoria, South Africa where he studied computer science. He sees many opportunities for people in Africa to use bitcoin for their day-to-day spending and personal savings.

“Bitcoin lets me go about my daily life without the need for a bank account. It also opens up the gig economy to more young people.”

“I use bitcoin for everything in my daily life”

Kgothatso has been using bitcoin for his day-to-day expenses since 2021. “From rent and electricity to airtime and groceries, I pay for it all with bitcoin,” he explained. “And if I want to buy something with Apple Pay, I can use a prepaid debit card that I’ve purchased with bitcoin.”

At times, Kgothatso lends bitcoin to friends and family. “When they need to repay me, I get them to buy an Azteco bitcoin voucher from one of the many spaza shops,” he adds. “They can pay for the voucher by cash, so they don't even need a bank account to get bitcoin.”

“Bitcoin encourages me to be disciplined with my spending”

Using bitcoin for everyday expenses has changed Kgothatso’s spending habits. He now saves in advance for major purchases and is not tempted to take out expensive loans.

“The cost of a car loan has increased significantly in recent months,” explains Kgothatso. “Interest rates are rising and inflation is reducing the value of people’s salaries. It’s a good habit to save for things in advance. It also makes you appreciate them more.”

“Gig workers in South Africa prefer getting paid in bitcoin”

South Africa is home to many “gig workers” providing online services to firms all over the world. In the past, those workers have been paid through PayPal but that excluded people who didn’t have a bank account or identity paperwork.

“Many young people couldn’t take part in the gig economy because they didn’t have a bank account,” says Kgothatso. “Now they can get paid with bitcoin. And then they can use that bitcoin to buy their daily groceries at supermarkets like Pick n Pay.”