Amid new capital controls in South Africa and Zimbabwe’s recent ban on local trading in foreign fiat currencies, local traders have reportedly seen asking prices of as high as $50,000 per 1 BTC if they attempt to purchase the coin from abroad.
Meanwhile, other commentators on social media this week claimed that bitcoin is allegedly trading at as high as $76,000 in Zimbabwe — a premium of over 600%. As appears to be corroborated by screenshots from P2P site LocalBitcoins.com shared on Twitter, at least a scattering of traders have attempted to pocket colossal gains at an asking rate of $75-76,000:
Screenshot showing purported BTC asking prices on LocalBitcoins.com for Zimbabwe-based traders. Source: @Btcexpertindia, July 1
Commenting on the allegations, Tuur Demeester — founding partner at Adamant Capital — has however argued that :
“Likely this is inflation that is simply not recognized by the government. I'm skeptical of that number as reflecting genuine premium.”
EToro senior market analyst Mati Greenspan agrees, stating:
“Some crypto sites are reporting a 600% bitcoin premium in Zimbabwe.
This massive markup is actually just a reflection of the black market rate for USD held in EcoCash which have just been rendered virtually worthless by the government.”
Zimbabwe — which is again weathering a failing national fiat currency, with an inflation rate approaching 100% this June — has seen a push from the financial sector to establish more regulatory clarity for blockchain technologies.
As of 2017, the country has nonetheless enforced a policy of blanket bitcoin criminalization.
Elsewhere, FXStreet notes the impact of similar geopolitical and economic pressures on bitcoin traders, with Hong Kong-based exchange TideBit also seeing a premium for bitcoin— albeit less steep — against the backdrop of recent national anti-extradition bill protests.
Cointelegraph also reported last week on the reappearance of the notorious “Kimchi Premium” — with fevered demand for the coin in South Korea driving prices well above the global average — in the current bull market.