THIS ARTICLE IS NOT FINANCIAL OR LEGAL ADVICE! PLEASE USE THIS INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK!


There seems to be an overall negative attitude towards cryptocurrencies in Namibia, which is unfortunate because a growing number of people are starting to believe that Cryptocurrencies are the future of money. However, the negativity doesn't have to stop anyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon. Luckily there are options!

Does Namibia have a Cryptocurrency Exchange?

As at the time of writing, no, Namibia does not have an exchange where you can buy cryptocurrencies with your hard-earned Namibian dollars.

Is it legal to buy Cryptocurrencies?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer and cannot offer legal advice. The opinion you are about to read is an OPINION and NOT legal advice. I will do my best to update this post if new information becomes available, but do your own research and speak to a lawyer if you require a professional legal opinion!

Currently, you are unable to convert Namibian Dollar (N$) into Bitcoin as no legal mechanism has been created to support this conversion in Namibia. However, when transferring money to South Africa, the Namibian Dollar gets converted to South African Rand (R) immediately upon leaving the borders of Namibia. The Rand is then used to acquire any crypto-currency assets currently available on a registered exchange.

But is this legal? The closest I can come to an answer is from the latest statement from the Bank of Namibia that can be found here. It states:

The Bank does not currently recognise cryptocurrencies as a commodity nor support the trading of cryptocurrencies on any (domestic or international) financial market or currency exchange. The Bank therefore strongly advices the public to refrain from the trading and owning cryptocurrencies on international financial markets and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Again, not a legal opinion, but it seems that the Bank strongly advises against owning and trading cryptocurrencies, but they don't ban it outright. They even go on further to say:

Cryptocurrencies may be used as a payment instrument to pay merchants on the internet for goods and services. The use of unregulated cryptocurrencies may increase liquidity and credit risks within the financial system in the event a counterparty or institution does not hold sufficient cryptocurrency (virtual currency units) to settle an outstanding obligation. In addition, cryptocurrencies cannot be easily sold or exchanged for cash without a substantial loss in value and the absence of a guaranteed settlement procedure exposes users to substantial credit and liquidity risk. 

Here they mention outright that you may use it make payments.

Their statement is from May 2018. It's not that old, but hopefully, they will release more information in the near future that will hopefully iron out any grey areas. 

So where do I buy cryptocurrencies with my Namibian Dollars?

Contrary to popular belief, Namibians are actually able to trade Bitcoin through a South African exchange. Specifically, Altcointrader.co.za serves as a platform where Namibians can purchase cryptocurrencies. You simply:

  1. Go to Altcointrader.co.za
  2. Register for a new account
  3. Complete the KYC Requirements (you will need to submit a copy of ID, proof of residence etc)

What are KYC requirements?

KYC stands for "Know your Client". It is the documents that an exchange requires to identify you. Once you have created your account on Altcointrader, it is extremely important that you start the account KYC verification process. This is needed before you will be able to perform most functions on the website. The verification process involves adherence to FICA financial laws.

After registration, your account is at Level 1. To upgrade to level 2 you need to provide personal data such as ID number, Physical Residence, and other information. Additionally, you will be required to upload a copy of your identification, proof of residence, and a picture of yourself holding your ID and handwritten note. A final requirement is the establishment of a 2-Factor verification process when logins occur. This will require you to download the Google Authenticator App from the Playstore. The App is easy to use and provides another layer of protection for your account.

Once your account and documents have been verified you are ready to trade and make deposits. You will also automatically be upgraded to Level 3 after 1 month of being verified at Level 2. 

How do deposits work?

Depending on which Namibian Bank you are banking with, you can choose which Altcointrader account you want to deposit your investment into. Nedbank, FNB, and Standard Bank are all supported. Carefully follow the instructions on the deposit page, specifically relating to the reference number for your account (NB: mistakes here could result in a financial loss). For information on the deposit fees, visit the deposit fees link from the deposit page.

After transferring the money, your account should be credited within 1-2 hours (but may take as long as a day or two), depending on what time of day and day of the week it is. From here you are ready to start trading.

How do I trade on Altcointrader?

Trading on Altcointrader is convenient and easy to use. Head over to the Home page, which shows the markets on the right-hand side, and the current graph of the coin currently selected (default selected is always Bitcoin). Here you are able to view the estimated value of each coin (in ZAR). When scrolling down you will see buy and sell columns where you can insert how much you want to buy or sell at which price. Below these columns are others that reveal current offers and the price the coins are currently being bought and sold at. Once you insert the amount and price to buy, your order will be placed. Your order will search for sellers at the price you indicated, and acquire the assets as requested. Buy low, sell high.

When you sell your coins the same procedure applies.

NOTE: For every trade there is a fee attached depending on which Exchange you use. Altcointrader’s fee is currently set at 0.375% of the trade value.

How do I get my money back to my Namibian bank account?

During the setup of your account, you will need to specify a bank account where withdrawn funds will be deposited. Take note that any change or insertion of a bank account requires 24hours to be activated. The money you withdraw takes about the same time to return to Namibia as the deposits take.

Good luck, and happy trading!

 
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What about Luno? Why do I have to use Altcointrader? 

 
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Luno doesn't support withdrawing to Namibian accounts. In fact, I don't even think they allow Namibians to have an account at all.

As for Altcointrader, personally it's not one of my favourites, but I know it works. It might be worthwhile trying some of the other exchanges:

 
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I asked Luno about Namibia once and this was the answer I received:

I would like to inform you that we are not operating in Namibia, so if a person is living in the country in which Luno is operating then only he can have a verified account.

In order to the deposit/withdrawal, he can fund his account by using the bank located in the verified country. Like if a customer is Namibian and having verified account from South Africa, then he can deposit/withdraw in the South African bank only, which is in his own name.

Here's a list of countries Luno operates in: https://www.luno.com/en/countries

Has anyone tried withdrawing from Binance to a Namibian account?

 
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