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In a land of difficult and costly Fiat money, top university begins crypto and blockchain course

In a nation which is subject to capital controls and is home to a population which has been transferring its money out of the country to avoid massive inflation, it is interesting that a blockchain technology and digital currency course is about to become available at one of its main universities.

The nation is South Africa, and the University of Cape Town is the educational establishment.

The university is now preparing to begin a 6-week course on blockchain technology and digital currency which commences on November 1, with enrolment being possible from October 26 this year.

The course will cost approximately $660 (US) and is being offered via online tuition which makes it available to absolutely anyone in any region of the world, and an official certificate will be issued by the University of Cape Town on completion of the course.

Areas covered during the modular course are

South Africa has quite a history when it comes to the difficulties of using Fiat currency, which is what makes this particularly pertinent.

Interestingly, although the Financial Rand which was a precursor to today’s capital controls in South Africa ceased to exist some 26 years ago, many attempts by the government at stemming the flow of money in and out of the country.

Today, South Africa’s capital controls are locally referred to as “exchange controls”, although the system has since 1995 moved towards surveillance which involves recording and reporting to the authorities of foreign currency transactions rather than control.
This effectively means that if a company or individual wants to make a transfer outside of South Africa or receive funds from an overseas account, the customer must justify to the bank why this transfer is being made and what it is for.

Capital controls have been in place in South Africa in various guises on an uninterrupted basis since the outbreak of World War II, when Great Britain and its dominions implemented the Sterling area, and are a bugbear toward modern business as the country is a highly advanced, diversified economy with very good quality businesses which operate internationally, yet settling transactions is extremely expensive and very difficult.

It is therefore interesting that this blockchain and digital asset course is being offered by a university that is based in a nation whose Fiat currency is not only inflationary, but also subject to draconian rules on capital inflows and outflows.

Although it is available to a global audience, it is likely that many South African investors could look toward completing this type of course as the country’s entrepreneurial population is very interested in cryptocurrency.

During the South African Budget Speech earlier in 2020, National Treasury proposed a complete overhaul of the exchange control systems. This aimed to modernise and reduce some of the burdensome and unnecessary administrative approval processes by implementing a new capital flow management system.

This involved a shift from exchange controls to capital flow management measures to regulate cross border capital flows, a more modern, transparent and risk-based approvals framework, stronger measures to fight illegitimate financial cross-border flows and tax evasion and the strengthening of cooperation between the Financial Intelligence Centre, Reserve Bank, South African Revenue Service, and other law enforcement agencies as well as enhancing cross-border reporting requirements.

That may sound as though it is a new means of keeping customers safe, but in reality it simply makes an already expensive cross border fiat currency transaction even more bureaucratic and expensive.

Many South African businesses and individuals hold fiat currency in US Dollars or Euros in North American or European bank accounts, purely because there is a bearish sentiment toward the Rand, and many are afraid of rampant inflation which has taken place before and is a stumbling block for the domestic economy.

These factors, along with a highly energetic and well organized domestic investor base, are why cryptocurrency is of great interest in South Africa. Many introducing brokers trade cryptocurrency on behalf of their clients who trust them far more than they trust the central bank.

With interest rates at an extremely high level and such restrictive policies toward the Rand, cryptocurrency and its associated blockchain functionality such as smart contracts is a boon.

Additionally, with a good quality, regulated cryptocurrency venue such as CoinMetro, small to medium sized businesses can operate a business account where treasury is handled in cryptocurrency which makes the entire process of doing business in a nation with high interest rates and FX conversion rates extremely easy and cost competitive against other local firms.

As the public embrace bona fide courses such as this from one of South Africa’s major education establishments, cryptocurrency rapidly becomes the mainstream and this is clearly the aim of academia and those who seek to pave the way forward for tomorrow’s efficient, global and versatile decentralized financial ecosystem.

Go figure… literally!