Bitcoin to rand – price calculator and chart


The price of Bitcoin is measured in a currency like US Dollar (USD) or South African rand (ZAR) . Here’s a quick Bitcoin to rand price calculator and graph.


This price is set on Bitcoin exchanges all over the world by consumers buying and selling it. Since each Bitcoin exchange operates independently, the market of buyers and sellers will set the price independently on that exchange. In its simplest form, the price of Bitcoin is simply the price that people are willing to pay for it at a given point in time, the middle-point between supply and demand. If buyers think that the price of Bitcoin is too high (the price that sellers want for it), then sellers would be forced to lower their price if they want to make a sale. If buyers are willing to pay a higher price for it, sellers will sell it at a higher price.

Explain it to me like I’m six

Imagine we live in a world with only one type of apple and that these apples, for this demo, all of the exact same quality. In this world, we have a farmer, Sally, who takes her ripe apples to a marketplace to exchange them for money.


Now, if there is only one farmer and there is a big demand for apples (for some reason, everyone wants them right now), she can keep charging a higher and higher price. She’ll say “Hey, I’m selling apples” and a buyer will come over and say “Hey, I’d like to buy an apple!” and they will start trading.

If Sally asks a price less than what the buyer is willing to pay, she’ll make an instant sale. She can keep increasing the price until some point at which the buyer says, “Hey, this is too expensive, I’m not interested in buying any more”.

Luckily we don’t live in a world with just one apple seller, so the other thing you’re likely to see is competition from all the other sellers.

Now we have thousands of people who want apples, and hundreds of apple farmers, all eager to make some money. These farmers will also come to the marketplace with their apples and set up shop next to Sally. They will soon see that by selling their apples a little cheaper, they can get more buyers to buy from them (up to a point, because they still have costs in getting their apples to the market). Through competition and the forces of supply and demand, the price of apples from all the different farmers should soon stabilise.

This is how you get the price of apples.

Bitcoin markets

Getting the price of Bitcoin in South African rand, works exactly the same way.

In the real world, we simply have many traders with Bitcoin, which they either mined or (more likely) purchased at some stage in the past. These traders go to a Bitcoin exchange and they say “Hey, I’d like to sell my Bitcoin” and buyers at the same exchange will say, “Hey, I’d like to buy some Bitcoin”.

Since Bitcoin markets are open to tens or hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers,  this means that there is healthy competition and a fair market-derived exchange rate.

Introducing arbitrage

You will see that the price of Bitcoin on one exchange might be slightly different than the price on another exchange (and the enterprising reader may want to gain from this price difference).

This is the equivalent of when you have two or more apple marketplaces in the same city: maybe the price of apples will be slightly lower at the one and a little higher at the other. Over time, people will buy the apples at the cheaper market (and maybe even sell them at the more expensive market) and the prices should adjust again.

If we have a marketplace in the south of the country but they only gr apples in the north, there should theoretically be cheaper apples available in the north. And farmers like making money more than they like apples.

Our fictional farmers will make a plan to buy as many cheap apples in the north and sell them down in the south. This will go on until the apples sold by other farmers in the south become cheaper, in line with their prices or more and more farmers also go and buy those cheap northern apples.

If enough farmers go from the south to the north to buy the cheap apples, the merchants in the north will soon start increasing their price, until some sort of equilibrium has been found.

This process of buying something on one market and selling on another at a higher price is called arbitrage.

Price difference in Bitcoin to rand than Bitcoin to dollar (to rand)

I often get asked why Bitcoin is more “expensive” in South Africa (or in South African rand) than it is on US dollar exchanges.


Let me try to explain it in simple round numbers, with no hidden fees, for simplicity sake. Let’s assume:

  • Bitcoin is trading at $100 USD for 1 BTC on a foreign exchange
  • South African banks say that you need to pay R10 ZAR to get $1 USD

It means that, with all other things being equal, the price of one Bitcoin should be R1000 in South Africa (since R1000 ZAR = $100 USD = 1 BTC). But, why then does it trade at R1090 ZAR per Bitcoin on the South African exchange and $100 on the foreign exchange?

The answer is actually that it’s not more expensive, it’s simply the two points where the South African traders and the US traders agreed on a price on the respective exchanges. Like our farmers who traveled north, Bitcoin traders from South Africa can try to buy the “cheap” Bitcoin on other exchanges, and sell it for a quick profit.

Before you get too excited, remember that the farmers who traveled north probably had other costs involved in bringing the cheaper apples to the south. They had to hire trucks, pay for petrol, and pay for tolls and storage to get the apples to the south.

There are also costs involved in buying and transferring financial products. If a trader wanted to buy one Bitcoin (1 BTC) on an international exchange (with a price of $100) and sell it on a South African exchange, the following would happen (I’ll highlight costs in bold):

  • The trader would take R1000 to their bank to buy US dollars.
  • The bank will say “Thanks! Our listed exchange rate is R10 for $1 USD, with a currency conversion fee of 2.5% and a R25 international sending fee
  • The trader will give R1000, the teller will subtract the 2.5% conversion fee (R25) and the R25 sending fee so only R950 will be left to be converted into $95 USD.
  • The 95 USD will arrive on the international exchange (after three to five days — during which time the price of Bitcoin and the price of dollar might have changed, meaning the arbitrageur is taking exposure risk during this time, something that can also cost them money if the exchange rate changes against their favour)
  • With banks being banks, the exchange’s receiving bank will charge an international receiving fee of $2.50
  • The trader, left with only $92.50, will then proceed to buy Bitcoin
  • Since the price of 1 BTC = $100 USD, they end up with 0.925 BTC
  • Bitcoin exchanges make money when people trade, so they will charge the trader 0.5% (0.004625 BTC) in trading fees

Now, with 0.920375 BTC the trader sends his Bitcoin from the overseas exchange to the South African exchange. (As mentioned, international bank transfers take a few days, but let’s assume the prices stayed the same during this time). There is a fee involved in sending Bitcoin, mostly dependent on how busy the Bitcoin network is, but for now, let’s assume a fee of zero.

Finally then:

  • The trader sells his 0.920375 BTC at a rate of R1095 and ends up with R1007.80 ( 0.920375*1095 = 1,007.8)

So, for all the risk and effort, the trader would have made a measly R7.80 profit on the R1000 they sent in this transaction (instead of the R90 he thought he would have made). Lastly, when they withdraw their R1007.80 to their bank account, there is probably a bank withdrawal fee of R10, destroying their profit altogether.

Note: all these numbers are for demonstration only. In the real world, currencies fluctuate, currency trading fees are between 1.5% and 3.5%, international sending fees charged by banks fall usually around R250, the receiving fees are around $20, bitcoin trading fees vary between 0% and 1% and so on. In short, it’s much more complicated than just looking at the sticker price.

In summary

So, in summary:

  1. To convert Bitcoin to rand (or rand to Bitcoin), you’re probably better off buying from a local Bitcoin exchange like Luno, than to try and buy it on the “cheap” elsewhere;
  2. To get the exchange rate of Bitcoin to rand, use the Luno Price page;
  3. The price of Bitcoin  –on any exchange and in any currency– is determined by the complete market of buyers and sellers.

I hope this was useful? Please send me a message if I missed anything!


About the author

Werner van Rooyen

Formerly Business Development and Marketing at Luno (where we went from eight nerds in a tiny office to hundreds of people spread over three continents) and before that Marketing at PayFast. Currently investing, paragliding, and doing research, mostly in Mexico.


  • Hi, yeah, the above is all bunk , to justify a 5% commission on each transaction by vested interests.

    We are after all a click of the button society. It is not 10 000 bc, we no longer barter for kisses. Its barriers to entry und the market maker gets some. You want und need to get paid for a service. Arbitrage is a modern myth when everybody that has the know-how charges the same. Collusion. Just say it.

    Great site! keep it going!

    • Hey Carl, thanks for reading! Just to clarify two points:

      1. I’m not defending the “vested interests” for charging as much as 5% to move money from ZAR to USD; I’m simply explaining that because there are costs involved in getting from one currency to another, the exchange rate that you see at the bank isn’t the one that you get. But it all ultimately boils down to Econ 101: supply and demand.

      2. Arbitrage is most prevalent where there are market-inefficiencies and there are more inefficiencies in new, misunderstood and lower-volume markets, such as Bitcoin. Over time, the arbitrage opportunity should get lower and lower (as it does in most established markets), but arbitrage exists in almost all markets.

      Banking/forex collusion? For sure. In Bitcoin markets? I’m not convinced :-)

    • That’s great to hear, Claudene!

      For now, despite the technical nature of getting it, I suggest sending Bitcoin (which you can buy on Luno>) to Poloniex and buying Ether there.

      As with all cryptocurrencies and new platforms: start slowly and rather buy a consistent amount each week/month (regardless of the price moving up or down).

      Thanks again for the kind words!

  • Let’s spitball here for a bit. At the current bitcoin value. How much would I need to invest in a Bitcoin mining system (Let’s use Hashflare) in order to get a return of R50000.00 per month? About 500k?

    • Hah, the answer is “it depends”, especially with variables such as Bitcoin’s value that may go up/down or even a fork in the road. I suggest reading this piece on calculating mining profitability.

      The cost and time delay of importing mining equipment, paired with the relatively high electricity cost in South Africa (assuming you’re here), makes for an expensive mining outfit. You can consider mining other altcoins with cheaper gear and hope the coins go up in value in future, or just mine Bitcoin (but likely at a loss) and still learn a tonne.

      Since I don’t mine, it might be better to chat with the guys in the #mining channel of the Bitcoin South Africa Slack:

  • I think there might be a typo in this sentence (or my math is bad):

    “Let’s say Bitcoin is trading at $100 USD on a foreign exchange and the South African bank says that $1 USD costs R100 it means that, with all other things being equal, the price of one Bitcoin should be R1000 in South Africa. ”

    $100 USD and $1 USD costs R100 = R10 000, not R1000
    (I assume the $1 should cost R10, not R100)

  • Just joined Luno and did my first small purchase in Rand. If I want to use USD to by Bitcoin do I need to open another account overseas?

    • Hey Zach – that’s right, yeah. Luno doesn’t support USD, but other currencies (you’ll need to live in one of the supported countries with a bank account in that country).

      If you have USD (and want to use it to buy Bitcoin), you will need to sign up with an exchange that supports USD.

  • I am a South African based in Johannesburg and would like to buy or invest R1000 in Bitcoins currency in ETORO. Do you think this is a good idea?

    • Hey Bunang, since eToro doesn’t support ZAR deposits, you’ll have to make a payment with your credit card. I’ve found that the banks charge between 3 and 6% in fees on these transactions and then once you have Bitcoin on eToro, you can’t withdraw it (you can only sell it on their platform).

      Instead, I’d suggest that you sign up with Luno, deposit R1000 from your SA bank account and use it to buy Bitcoin that way. You’ll be able to sell it in future (for ZAR) or send it to another Bitcoin wallet. Hope this helps!

  • Very useful for me. Showed me actual costs in buying bitcoin in dollars. Would tell me more if I want to use Luno locally to buy,what will be costs involved

    • Hey Thomas – You can see the Luno fees here. In short, for trading on Luno Exchange: ZAR deposits are free, ZAR withdrawals cost R8.50 (the banks charge that), trading between ZAR and BTC on the exchange costs a max of 1% and a minimum of 0%.

      • Hi
        Would the costs be the same using capital bank? And I would like to buy 1 bitcoin! But can only invest 1st???

        • Hey James; do you mean Capitec bank? Note that there is no fee for incoming deposit from any local South African rand bank account. You simply make a deposit (I recommend starting small: just a few hundred rand) and once the deposit shows on Luno you can convert it to Bitcoin. I wouldn’t start with one WHOLE Bitcoin (it’s currently R65,000). Remember, you can just buy a small fraction.

  • If a bank in Johanessburg demands a payment of $100usd and upon receiving the $100usd demand more money saying it wasn’t enough that their money is worth more than the usd . They want $15 to $20usd more. Is this practice legal in Johanessburg?

    • Hey Gene, there are fee involved with SWIFT (international/cross-border bank-to-bank) payments. Usually the receiving bank (or the sending bank, or both) will charge a fee between 15 and 20 USD, no matter how much you send. So, if you need to settle an invoice of $100 and you only send $100, they’ll deduct $20 (or request a payment for the difference). It’s not a South African thing, it’s a SWIFT thing. The fee codes you might see on your transfer advice or invoice are BEN (beneficiary pays), OUR (sender pays) or SHA (fee shared between sender and beneficiary).

      More info on US bank charges on NerdWallet.

  • Hi. Once you have an investment in Bitcoins can they be exchanged in another currency other than the original one that purchased the Bitcoins originally?

  • Can a third party deposit Rands in my Bitcoin account and earn bitcoins? and is it reversible by same third party?

    • Hey Bruce,

      To answer your two questions: First: yes, Bitcoin can be converted into other digital currencies (such as Ether or Litecoin) or local currencies (such as US dollars and Euro). You will need to have a verified account with a platform that supports those currencies.
      Secondly: no, we only allow bank deposits/withdrawals from/to your own bank, in your local currency, in your own name. Bank deposits, in South Africa, aren’t reversible by the sender, only by the recipient.

    • Hey Bradly, if you have a South African bank account (and South African citizen or resident) you can sign up for a free account with Luno. You can then deposit your Bitcoin to Luno and sell it for rand. You can then withdraw the rand to your South African bank account. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Werner
    Does it mean that the Luno exchange in SA could have a complete different trend than for example a USA exchange? If not, what is the link (and how) between the different exchanges to then follow the same trend.

    Thanks for all of the very usefull information

    • Hey Fanie, that’s 100% correct, yes. The price in South Africa, for instance, could move up while it moves down in another place. This does, in fact, happen sometime. It could be due to something external (political event in South Africa, making people worried to hold their local currency and they want to buy Bitcoin instead, which should push the price up here, but not elsewhere). Often, though, the price trend is in tandem, due to arbitrageurs that sell their Bitcoin on the “expensive” platform (wherever in the world it may be) and buying some on the “cheap” platform.

  • Hi There
    I live in SA with a foreign passport and work permit, but my citizenship is not on the supported countries of Luno. Can i still register to buy bitcoin through Luno?

  • Hi Van
    If I start with an R1000
    What am I looking at in the next 6 months at the current pace of Bit coin.
    Just your feel on this

    • Expect volatility. The price goes up, the price goes down. Past performance isn’t indicative of future results :-) Nobody can predict the future price (if they tell you they can, they’re lying). Be aware of the risks, start small and learn as much as you can. Cheers!

  • please can you send me or let me know what the estimate is for buy /sell on Lumo
    I just made a transaction from Bitcoin R1477.00 to ether and I only had R 1434.00 worth of ether.

    Thank you in advance


  • Hi. How does luno calculate the price of bitcoin? Is it based on a 7 day average, because bitcoin does not always reflect the current price or trend so it hard to keep up how they calculate their current price.

  • Good day sir,I want to send $198 to buy Bitclub Network memberships, so how much in South Africa currency when paying today.

  • I have R200k to invest in Bitcoin and its a big chunk of my savings but I’m feeling positive about the coming momine as far as Bitcoin is concerned.. What would you do if it was your money?

    • Erm, I’d invest it responsibly ;-)

      If R200,000 is a small part of your investable assets, say 1 – 2%, go ahead (but something tells me you wouldn’t ask someone online for that kind of advice if you had ten million rand lying around to invest). Invest slowly, responsibly, consistently and over a longer time range.

      Please see my graphic on this article for the relationship between how much you can/should invest versus the amount of time you can/should spend on understanding that investment or asset class.

      All the best!

  • Thanks Mr.werner for educating it a good idea for me as a starter to invest my R10000. With bitcoins?.and how much interest I get every month?is my interests paid in my FNB account? Please educate me. Lastly where can I invest best

    • No, it’s a bad idea. I can’t stress this enough: only invest in high-risk things (like Bitcoin) if you are okay to lose all your money. And learn as much as you can about things you want to invest in (if you don’t know that it doesn’t pay interest, you definitely need to read more before you buy any Bitcoin). Start with the basics, instead: pay off all debt, build savings in an interest-bearing account, invest in some low-cost shares and ETFs, invest in your retirement annuity and if you have something left over, take 1-2% of that money to consider riskier things like Bitcoin. But in your case, I’d say no, don’t do it until you know more about what you’re doing.

    • Hey Thokozani,
      Please note that Bitclub is a scam — you will probably lose all your money. Please be careful. You can get a free Bitcoin wallet and address by signing up at Luno. But do some research… and get away from Bitclub.
      Cheers! Werner

  • Hi Werner,
    If I am interested in buying cryptocurrency as a South African
    which one would you advise to be the best. I am a novice and has limited knowledge but would like to put some funds at work here. There is also a lot of nay sayers on cryptocurrency should one listen to them? I read about automated crypto trading is that something I can use with peace of mind?

    • Hey, Jainni!

      Note that when you buy an asset like Bitcoin, gold or US dollars, you’re not really “putting funds at work”, but rather you’re speculating that the price of those assets will go up against the currency with which you bought them: South African rand. So, you invest in companies (that hopefully pay a dividend), but you speculate with Bitcoin.

      With that in mind, I tend to find myself on the naysayers’ side. You certainly should consider putting some money into speculative assets, but certainly not more than you can afford to lose. I created this graphic some time ago, if you’re wondering how much to put in:
      Money & time

      If you read enough, you’ll learn that the majority of automated crypto trading systems are scams (if a platform can magically make money by just trading, why would they give that away — certainly they will just magically trade more and more money for themselves out of thin air). Same for the majority of Bitcoin mining outfits.

      Rather, go to Luno, get verified, make a small EFT deposit, buy a small amount of Bitcoin, see how it works and take it from there ;-)

      All the best,

    • Hey Thabiso, easiest is to head to Luno and sign up. Note that digital currencies are risky assets, don’t spend more than a small amount as you’re learning about it (and make sure you have other basic things in place, like other savings and safer investments).

    • Don’t get involved in Bitcoin mining until you have at least a black belt in crypto. 99.99% of them are complete scams. Start by learning the basics about what Bitcoin is, how it works (including mining) and so on.

  • Hi… I would like to know if there are any indicators on how to trade on luno as it is difficult to figure out where the support or resistance prices are because of the prices not being consistent with the dollar based exchanges… Thanks.

    • Hey Moe,

      CryptoWatch ( is a pretty good place to analyse things, look at trend lines etc. The market for digital currencies (especially rand to crypto) is tiny compared to other markets, so volatility or activity in one place won’t necessarily mean the same thing will happen on Luno.


    • 99% of websites that offer “autotrading” is a scam. Get a free account on Luno, learn how Bitcoin works (and why autotrading is a scam) and buy a small amount (only as much as you can afford to completely lose).

  • Hi it sandile here I just joined luno through a trader just want to know is it good to trade bitcoin via a trader or just go on my own and is it advisable to put R1000 from the start

    • If you’re trading through a third party “trader” and not directly at Luno, you’re probably getting/going to get scammed. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose. My advice is to look at how much money you have already saved and invested (in high-interest savings accounts/ETFs/shares/real estate/other assets etc.) and take 1-2% of that total amount to spend on high-risk things like Bitcoin. If you have zero other investments, consider starting with less risky things.

  • Hello Werner van Rooyen I received a Facebook friend request , and this person claims to be a lady which am not , she introduced me to Luno , and instructed me to download Luno app to get started with trading . She asked me to screen shot of each and every step when downloading , now I started not trust her I think she is a scammer

    • She’s probably a scammer (I don’t know why else a stranger will tell you to download an app or open an account). Scammers try to get innocent people to open bank accounts and bitcoin accounts (in the name of the innocent person) and then over time they build trust or promise you lots of money or investment help or something and then they try to steal the money in your bank/bitcoin account. Be careful and never share screen shots or sensitive information with anybody (if they have your ID number, address, phone number, and name, they can try to apply for credit and other loans using your details).

    • Hey Clara — I’m sadly unable to review each and every company, but the majority of things that promise you high returns are scams. Sadly, it’s very difficult to report these scammers, since they operate online (probably from another country) so there is very little that the police can do. As always, use common sense and use a reputable platform like Luno to buy your Bitcoin and don’t fall for crazy investment promises. Best, Werner

  • Your honest opinion is it worth buying R3,000 of Bitcoin and buying when it’s low and selling when it’s high I know nothing about this but want to get into it. I live in South Africa

    • My honest opinion is to zoom out and look at all your investments (excluding real estate if you own/are paying off your house). I think it’s responsible to have the majority of investments, say 60%, in tax-advantaged investment accounts like a retirement annuity and TFSA (in South Africa). Then the 38% of the rest in low-cost broad-market index funds (ETFs). The other 2% I would consider putting in high risk things like Bitcoin.

      By those numbers, one should have around R147,000 invested in “safer” investments (RA + TFSA + investment account) to spend 2% (R3,000) in the higher risk category. If not, I’d consider looking at getting those regular “boring” investments first. I would only then think about buying a small amount, say R500, to see what buying/selling fees there might be, how it works, what the price does over time, (etc.) and not to think of it as an investment, but as speculation. If it goes up, amazing, if it goes to zero, well, you learned something and didn’t lose all of your investment portfolio.

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