Net1 said on Thursday its technology would be used to facilitate purchases on the largest bitcoin exchange in the EU.

After declining earlier in the week, Net1’s JSE-listed shares closed 14.2% higher at R151 on Thursday in light trading.

The company’s Masterpayment business has been made a payment service provider for Luxembourg-based Bitstamp, a global digital currency exchange for investors to trade bitcoin, litecoin, ether and ripple coins. Fonded in 2011, Bitstamp is one of the oldest bitcoin exchanges.

Bitstamp said in a statement that Masterpayment would process all credit-and debit-card purchases made on the platform, which accepts Visa and Mastercard transactions. “Not only does this mean faster and more convenient transactions for our customers, we have also been able to slash our [transaction] fees to 5%,” it said.

Bitstamp recently added cryptocurrency token ether to its trading platform, while it also announced a partnership with Swissquote to offer bitcoin trading on the online bank’s platform. “Partnerships with providers like Masterpayment allow Bitstamp to continue to meet the demands of a growing customer base as the industry becomes more mainstream,” it said on Thursday.

Masterpayment MD Christian Mangold said the company was “laying the foundation for a long-term partnership in the field of cryptocurrencies”.

Net1, which has a primary listing on the Nasdaq exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE, bought Masterpayment in 2016. Earlier in November, Net1 said its virtual-card technology would be used in India for “one of the world’s largest virtual-card programmes”.

Net1 said One MobiKwik Systems, an Indian mobile payments firm, had launched the virtual-card scheme in partnership with Visa and Mumbai-headquartered IDFC Bank, using its proprietary virtual-card technology.

In its home market, Net1 remains at the centre of a scandal relating to the distribution of social grants. A recent analysis of the group’s financial statements suggests that Net1 subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services may have understated earnings derived from the distribution contract, and that it may have failed to offer details of other Net1 subsidiaries that profited from the contract.



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