Bitcoin may soon be responsible for lighting up the streets of South Africa.
Yes, because Invirohub, a South African smart meter developer, has integrated bitcoin payments into its smart meters. These meters allow consumers to “to up” an electricity allowance.
Each meter will have a specific wallet address and 3G SIM card for connectivity. Once a user puts a deposit on the address their account will be credited at the current exchange rate.
Months ago South Africa’s Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank, was said to be testing bitcoin payment systems and more recent news of Johannesburg and Cape Town first BTMs almost being ready came out just last week.
Bitcoin has the potential to change Africa, and many people are making efforts to make this happen. Examples include BitPesa in Kenya for remittance payments and Kipochi for mobile wallets are trying to spread adoption on the continent.
For people in Zimbabwe, it is said that Bitcoin would actually be a good way to avoid the country’s hyperinflation.
Bitcoins usability in prepaid systems like these meters exhibit Bitcoins ease of use value. Topping-up your cell phone, paying at vending machines or paying for laundry means no more going somewhere to buy phone credit, carrying coins or having someone come and collect those coins.
Invirohub is owned by Bidvest, “an international services, trading and distribution company, listed on the JSE, South Africa and operating on five continents.”