Ethereum is a cryptocurrency first proposed in 2013 by Vitaly “Vitalik” Dmitriyevich Buternin, a Canadian-Russian programmer, and first went live on 30 July 2015. Vitalik is also a co-founder of popular Bitcoin Magazine.
In this article a short overview of Ethereum will be provided, and list the various ways you can buy Ethereum in South Africa.
What is Ethereum and Ether?
Ethereum is a global, decentralised platform for money and new kinds of applications. The decentralised platform is an open-source blockchain with a native cryptocurrency called Ether. Ether can be described as fuel for the apps on Ethereum’s decentralised network.
Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin, with the unique difference being that Ethereum is programmable, meaning that it can be used for lots of different digital assets, including Bitcoin.
Another difference is that Bitcoin is mainly geared towards sending and receiving cryptocurrency, while Ethereum is geared towards the development of financial services, games and apps with an emphasis on users’ privacy in terms of data and censorship.
Ethereum makes use of nodes which are volunteers’ computers around the world that participate in the Ethereum network in any of three methods. The first is by keeping a shallow-copy of the blockchain. The second is by keeping a full-copy of the blockchain. Third and lastly is by verifying transactions on the network, commonly referred to as mining.
Ultimately, Ethereum is a technology that allows you to write code that controls money, build applications featuring smart contract functionality and send cryptocurrency to anyone for a small fee.
What Can you do with ETH?
Second to Bitcoin, Ethereum is one of the most actively used blockchains of the world, and Ether is one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. ETH, Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency can be used for transactions, as a store of value, as an investment, or for use on Ethereum applications.
According to Ethereum’s developers, Ether can be used to “codify, decentralise, secure and trade just about anything. Meaning you can use Ether for more than just payments. The most traditional way of using ETH is to trade it.
Initial coin offerings or ICOs are a common way to crowdfund projects with cryptocurrencies. Developers can design new coins and issue it with the help of the ERC-20 standard, rather than having to develop a completely new blockchain.
Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Africa allow you to buy and sell ETH with ease. Thereafter you can choose to keep your ETH on the exchange or transfer it to a more secure wallet such as a hardware wallet.
You can also just HODL your Ether. HODL refers to “Holding on for dear life” in the hopes that the cryptocurrency will appreciate in value in the future. Additionally you can explore Ethereum’s various array of decentralised applications, also known as dapps, which are products and services that run on Ethereum.
Exchange or Peer-to-peer?
Ethereum and ETH are not controlled by any government or company making it decentralised and open to everyone to use. Ethereum allows you to move money, or make agreements, directly with someone else without needing to go through intermediary companies. Ether can be purchased on an Exchange or via a peer-to-peer network.
The first method to obtain ETH is by purchasing it from centralised exchanges. Exchanges are businesses that let you buy and sell selected cryptocurrencies and maintain custody over any ETH you buy until you send it to a wallet you control.
South Africa has some of the leading and most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Most cryptocurrency exchanges require some level of Know-You-Customer (KYC) before the user trader can deposit, trade and/or withdraw any cash or cryptocurrency.
ETH can also be purchased via a peer-to-peer network on decentralised exchanges or DEXs. This gives you more control as you are able trade without giving control of your funds to a centralised company.
DEXs are open marketplaces for ETH and other tokens that connect buyers and sellers directly. With DEXs you can buy ETH with other tokens, PayPal or even in-person cash deliveries.
Lastly, ETH can also be purchased on select wallets with a debit/credit card, bank transfer or even Apple Pay.
Where to Buy Ethereum in South Africa
VALR – A leading cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa, allows South Africans to buy ETH from the largest selection of cryptocurrencies available from exchanges in South Africa. Buy ETH on VALR
Luno – Open an Ethereum wallet with Luno, and buy your first Ether for as little as R10. ETH send fees on Luno are dynamic and ETH receive fees are free. Luno has different verification levels and limits your deposits and withdrawals according to these levels. Buy ETH on Luno.
iCE3 – iCE3 allows you to buy and sell Ether along with many other cryptocurrencies on a trusted exchange in South Africa. Buy ETH on iCE3
Best wallets to store keep your Ether safe
Ethereum wallets are applications that let you interact with your Ether. It can be described as an internet banking app that lets you read your balance, send transactions and connect to applications built on the Ethereum network. A wallet is required to send, receive and manage your funds.
With an Ethereum-compatible wallet you have custody of your funds. You can swap wallet providers at any time.
There are four different types of wallets you can make use of:
Hardware wallets (Recommended) – Physical hardware wallets that let you keep your cryptocurrency offline.
Web Wallets – Wallets that let you interact with your cryptocurrency via a web browser.
Desktop applications – Desktop applications that allow you to manage your cryptocurrency via MacOS, Windows or Linux.
Mobile applications – Mobile applications that make your cryptocurrency accessible from anywhere.
Ethereum is a community-built technology that has a native cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH) and supports thousands of applications. Ethereum is great for you should you not have access to financial services, as it has many lending, borrowing and savings products to offer. No longer are you required to provide your personal information to access an application as Ethereum is building an economy based on value and not surveillance.
Investing in digital assets is highly risky and speculative. A qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. CryptoLive makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained on the site. None of the information you read on CryptoLive should be taken as investment advice. Buying and trading cryptocurrencies should be considered a high-risk activity. Please do your own diligence before making any investment decisions. CryptoLive is not accountable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss incurred, alleged or otherwise, in connection to the use or reliance of any content you read on the site.
Get started with just R10
Trade the largest selection of cryptocurrencies available in South Africa by signing up to VALR, and receive a 10% rebate on your trading costs, up to a total of R1,500 using our link. Sign up to VALR
Leigh Williams is the founder at IXA Media (Pty) Ltd., a digital marketing solutions provider and the publisher of CryptoLive.co.za