Herewith Part II of our feature on the reasons to be positive and hopeful about the South African technology landscape in 2019.
A positive approach to cryptocurrencies
The South African Reserve Bank recently released a document that outlined what cryptocurrencies are, what their potential applications and pitfalls are, how they could be used to enhance the economy going forward, and what sort of legislation is being considered that could regulate it to everyone’s benefit. They’re even asking the general public for their input on how to proceed.
Not many countries are actively evaluating cryptocurrencies, and even fewer are soliciting public comment on them. We are very fortunate that our government is taking steps to ensure that it’s properly investigated, with the aim of intelligently regulating it.
This is important, because cryptocurrencies (think bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin et al) could affect how the channel transacts in the future.
Today, multi-million-rand IT deals happen all the time, but it’s important not to forget that the actual transaction incurs banking fees – usually a small(ish) percentage of the total.
Should a cryptocurrency offer the same function at a lower cost, it would improve profitability for the seller and provide better value to the buyer, forever changing forever how the channel transacts, and boosting profitability.
This isn’t conjecture, either: the technology to do this exists today; it’s just volatile and risky due the absence of user-protecting laws and how young it is.
South Africa is very fortunate to have a forward-looking government that is investigating cryptocurrencies in a smart, measured way, and probing how best to protect its users from its more dangerous qualities with intelligent legislation.
High-tech payment systems
Even without cryptocurrencies offering an alternative payment mechanism, South Africa already has many new ways to pay for things, and that number is growing.
Apps like Zapper, Snapscan, Slide and Yoco all make it possible to pay for goods and services with smartphones. They are linked to the user’s credit card, and payments are made using a variety of high-tech methods, from QR code scanning to NFC swipes to Magnetic Secure Transmissions.
That means till slips can be captured, the amount due shown to the user on the relevant app, and appropriate tips applied and payment made right away. Thanks to this technology, there’s no more waiting or fiddling with a card machine!
These payment apps are growing in popularity, too, and are available at ever-increasing numbers of restaurants, shops, and vendors. They also make it easy for service providers like plumbers and handymen to generate invoices and make and receive payments on the spot.
Payment Apps that are available in South Africa:
- Samsung Pay
These new high-tech payment mechanisms are a business enabler and their local adoption is growing, accelerating economic inclusion across the board. It’s never been easier to be an entrepreneur.
Hope for the future
South Africa’s tech landscape offers a lot of hope for the future. Our fundamentals are sound, we are seeing a lot of innovation, and there’s plenty of room for growth.
Barriers to entry are falling all the time, too. Tech is more inclusive now than it’s ever been, enabling entrepreneurs to really get their teeth into everything the country has to offer.
The news and social media will probably keep spitting out stories to make you sad or mad (or both). Just know that there are also many reasons to be positive and hopeful about the country’s future, too.