Pan-African financial services giant Old Mutual has released the 2018 Savings and Investment Monitorsurvey for South Africa. The report indicates 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.
South Africans also expressed 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.
Cryptocurrency Awareness Levels
Regarding cryptocurrency awareness, 60% of South Africans told the survey that they had no inkling of their existence while the percentage of those who demonstrated a high level of cryptocurrency knowledge was 4%. Those whose awareness of cryptocurrencies was low was 17%, while 19% heard about them only recently.
The Old Mutual survey comes in the wake of data obtained from Google Trends showing 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.
In May, 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.
“Of the survey respondents who do not own or who have never owned cryptocurrency, almost 50% said they plan to invest in an aspect of cryptocurrency or crypto mining in 2018,” Newshable reported at the time.
Not Currencies But ‘Cyber-Tokens’
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.
The deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Francois Groepe, seemed to side with SARS in May, as he stated that the central bank did not view cryptocurrencies as currencies due to the fact that they supposedly did not meet the requirements of money. Instead, Groepe clarified, the SARB would refer to them as cyber-tokens.