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Altcoin galore on SA's crypto-currency exchanges

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Altcoins are the alternative crypto-currencies launched after the success of Bitcoin.

One week after a new crypto-currency platform, BitFund, entered the South African market, another South African-based exchange, Coindirect, has expanded its offering to include an integrated trading exchange for over 40 altcoins.

Altcoins are the alternative crypto-currencies launched after the success of Bitcoin. Many altcoins are trying to target any perceived limitations that Bitcoin has and come up with newer versions with competitive advantages. There are currently hundreds of altcoins.

Experts predict the total crypto-currency market value could reach $1 trillion by the end of 2018, which is why crypto-currencies are believed to be an attractive alternative investment option by many.

Coindirect was founded by Balfour Investments late in 2017, and currently has over 25 000 registrations and over 5 000 active traders.

It says crypto-currency ownership is expected to double in Europe and the US, with the ING International survey revealing that 25% of 14 825 study participants plan to invest in crypto-currencies, and 35% believe Bitcoin is the future of online spending.

It adds that this advanced exchange has completed Coindirect’s three-prong offering, along with its wallet and local peer-to-peer marketplaces.

First of many

According to Coindirect, the free wallet feature is a quick and convenient coin convert option, while the marketplace proffers a 0% fee on buying or selling Bitcoin.

"We’ve always aimed to simplify user journeys within the crypto-currency space and this newly launched exchange means our customers are able to go to Coindirect for whatever their crypto-currency needs may be," says Jesse Hemson-Struthers, CEO of Coindirect.

"The full-service platform offers everything from converting fiat currency to Bitcoin, to doing daily altcoin trading."

The company says the newly-launched exchange will feature a real-time order book, trade history and advanced charting functionality.

It adds that the platform gives users the best possible price by aggregating the optimal price for the same coin off multiple exchanges. A streamlined user experience for desktop and mobile simplifies the process and the exchange also comes with an application programming interface.

"We’ve undergone a complete rebrand and the exchange launch is the first of many updates to come," says Stephen Young, chief product officer of Coindirect.

"New features will be announced via the newly-formed Telegram group, where the community is able to get an inside track on platform updates and company news. Ultimately, we aim to provide a simplified, one-stop destination for buying, selling, sending, receiving, converting and now trading over 40 altcoins."

Other alternatives

Only last week, BitFund announced its presence in SA, saying it has developed the "first diversified, safe and flexible crypto-currency investment platform in SA, giving investors exposure to index portfolios of more than 20 of the largest crypto-currencies".

Last month, AltcoinTrader, one SA’s leading crypto-currency exchanges, added another crypto-currency to its basket of coins, which currently stands at 13 coins, including the latest addition of Cardano.

AltcoinTrader says many exchanges in Africa and some global exchange brands only have two to three coins on their portfolio. AltcoinTrader has 13 currently and plans to increase the number of coins as the exchange progresses.

Among the other prominent names in SA’s crypto-currency market is Luno, which enables users to buy, store and learn about digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Leadership of US-based crypto-currency marketplace Paxful recently visited SA looking to expand its business on the African continent, taking on the likes of Luno. LocalBitcoins, BitKan and Bitsquare are also forces to reckon with in the market.

Although competition is heating up in the local crypto-currency market, Attila Bernariusz, chief operating officer of Coindirect, says there is no competitor in SA or Africa with an end-to-end crypto offering under one roof like Coindirect.

"Our product offering caters for novice traders to professional and semi-professional traders with direct banking integration. Our peer-to-peer marketplace caters for markets with poor banking integration where traders buy or sell directly from one another," says Bernariusz.

However, he points out that Coindirect’s market capitalisation is currently low, as is evident by the order book.

"Active marketing of the exchange is scheduled to commence by the end of July, while beta testing continues over the next couple of weeks."

Commenting on the South African crypto-currency market, Alan Robertson, co-founder of the crypto-currency mining hosting facility, YOU#, says some of the biggest players in SA are the likes of Luno and AltcoinTrader.

"There is definitely new space in this market provided the newcomers provide new criteria of bringing good products as well as earning the trust of South Africans who are excited by crypto-currencies but are quite cautious about the crypto-currencies given the many well-publicised failures."

When choosing crypto-currency exchanges, Robertson urges: "It’s always easy to think that biggest is best but oftentimes, if this is always the case, companies like Luno would never have been able to grow. People have to understand the product first and know who is behind it."

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