South Africa | 2022

Digital currency adoption in South Africa in 2022



of South Africans own digital currency

How many digital currencies owners are in South Africa?

It is estimated that over 5.8 million people, 9.44% of South Africa’s total population, currently own digital currency.

South African digital currencies ownership demographics

Breaking down digital currency ownership by income, 77% of South African digital currency owners have an annual income of R450,000 and less. This suggests that digital currencies are largely owned by low to middle income South Africans.

A large majority of South African digital currency owners are in the 18-44 age group (83%). Only 7% of them are 55 and above. This suggests that digital currencies are largely owned by South African millennials.

South African digital currency owners are likely to be highly educated, 46% of them hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Graph showing the percentage of people owning digital currencies by education level

Main findings

From our survey conducted, we see a staggering 86% of South African adults have heard of digital currencies. This has risen across our data findings by a significant 20 percentage points in 2022 – from 66% in 2021.

People are increasingly seeing digital currency as a safe asset and alternative to national currencies, with more than 46% of digital currencies owners having more than ZAR10,000 in digital currencies assets. A significant number of digital currencies owners (12%) also have more than ZAR100,000 in digital currency.

Bitcoin remains the popular choice for digital currencies owners in South Africa, with more than 79% of digital currencies owner respondents possessing Bitcoin. Ethereum follows closely in second place with the digital currency’s wide application cases, followed by Tether (USDT), Ripple (XRP) and other Altcoins.

Digital currency purchase attitudes

Majority of South African digital currency owners (52%) are already using digital currency for purchases, suggesting that digital currency is increasingly becoming a mainstream form of payment.

Around 40% of digital currencies spenders are spending more than ZAR10,000 of digital currency for purchases monthly, with a significant amount (12%) being large spenders of more than ZAR100,000 monthly.

Survey results show that digital currency payment services are eagerly anticipated across the retail industry. South African respondents showed interest in all the major categories ranging from Entertainment, E-commerce and Luxury Retail, etc.

Future Outlook

Digital currency is gaining the attention it deserves. 2021 was the year that digital currency was in the spotlight as major institutions, celebrities and public figures all jumped on the digital currencies bandwagon. Bitcoin and other digital currencies also broke through all-time highs.

Majority of South African survey respondents (63%) are seeking to increase their holdings of digital currency over the next year.

Majority of non-digital-currencies respondents (68%) cited a lack of knowledge, presenting strong potential for increasing digital currency adoption with proper channelized education and awareness.

Additionally, greater adoption of digital currency payment options across merchants can also have a network effect on more rapid adoption of digital currency in the populace, given that 23.9% of respondents cited not owning digital currency as their current merchants do not accept it.

Given increasing digital currency adoption in today’s world, businesses would benefit by integrating digital currency payment into their payment ecosystem. In fact, 81% of South African digital currencies respondents agree that businesses would stand to benefit from adopting digital currency payments.

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