The Blockchain Academy hosted its first event, in a series of events aimed at beginners to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, on the 28 June 2018 at the Bandwidth Barn, in partnership with Luno. Luno is South Africa’s first cryptocurrency exchange and has almost 2 million users across the world.

Sonya Kuhnel, Managing Director and Nasreen Saunders, consultant at the academy presented the basics of getting started with bitcoin. The majority of the attendees indicated that they did not have any bitcoin so the presenters explained how to start from the very beginning: how to open a bitcoin wallet, how to get your identity verified and what the different verification levels mean, how a typical cryptocurrency exchange works and how to place orders on the exchange. Many beginners to trading have no idea how the transaction fees on these exchanges work, so Sonya broke down the fee structure which include maker, taker, withdrawal and receiving bitcoin fees. Nasreen discussed how to secure a wallet with two-factor authentication so that an extra layer of security exists and that your wallet is not vulnerable to being hacked or being accessed by an un-authorised party. She described various different types of wallets such as hardware, software, mobile, paper and brain wallets and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Sonya explored some of the merchants that currently accept bitcoin such as local company, Takealot. Takealot started accepting bitcoin as payment for any of its products in 2014 when PayFast, a payment processing company, partnered with Luno to allow all its merchants to accept bitcoin payments on their websites. Sonya also explained how companies such as US-based BitPay and Coinbase enable merchants to accept bitcoin by providing merchants services such as plugins, libraries and API’s. She also explained that over 100 000 merchants accept bitcoin globally as a form of payment with only a few in South Africa.

Luno kindly provided each attendee with a promo code to access R20 worth of free bitcoin, which attendees could access once they had set up their Luno wallets.

The presenters ended the evening off with a Question and Answer session where the attendees could ask any questions they had.