Johannesburg - South Africa could soon see a new cryptocurrency app to be launched by the deVere Group, amid “soaring global demand” and in defiance of financial traditionalists.
The company, renowned as a hotel firm, is expected to make its second major fintech investment with the app being available “in a matter of weeks”.
The deVere Group, which also acts as an independent international financial consultancy with a base in Durban, is expected to ride the cryptocurrency wave with an app that will allow users to store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum.
Founder and CEO of the deVere Group Nigel Green said that 2017 saw the dawn of the financial technology and cryptocurrencies era.
“Nothing has captured the imagination in this new fintech age quite like cryptocurrencies, specifically bitcoin. No one was really talking about it back in 2016. But those who invested in bitcoin before the beginning of last year have enjoyed an impressive price increase,” Green said.
“To meet the soaring cryptocurrency global demand, we’re launching deVere Crypto, a pioneering cryptocurrency app, available for Apple and Android,” he added.
When the app is released, it will compete against other apps and services already being used by South Africans.
One of the most popular includes Luno, which allows for locals to trade in bitcoin and ethereum.
The Luno app is also used to make purchases using the cryptocurrencies through QR code payments, most recently during a trial held by retailer, Pick n Pay, where customers were able to use bitcoin to pay for items.
Another popular international platform used by South Africans is Bitfinex, which since 2014 has become the world’s biggest trading platform for bitcoin.
Bitfinex also allows users to trade across numerous cryptocurrencies as well as participate in ICOs.
This past week spelled bad news for cryptocurrencies across the world, as values of almost all slumped amid global regulation.
Bloomberg reported bitcoin to have plunged as much as 20%, spurring a January selloff in cryptocurrencies, after South Korea’s finance minister repeated that the country may ban trading in one of the world’s most active markets.
Bitcoin was down to its lowest level since late December - about R122 119 - on Friday at 13:00.
Rival cryptocurrencies also plunged, with ripple, the third biggest cryptocurrency by market cap slumped as much as 33% to R19.61 at the same price on Friday.
Meanwhile the second biggest cryptocurrency by market value, ethereum recovered mildly from the week’s news from a low of R13 145, peaking at R14 680 on Friday.