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Luno taps into Africa’s ongoing flirtation with cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency company Luno, founded in South Africa in 2013 by Marcus Swanepoel and Timothy Stranex, said this week it now reaches eight million customers (e-wallets), with 30% of its customer base in South Africa - and rising interest in Nigeria.

In February this year ITWeb reported that the company, along with other cryptocurrency firms, halted deposits in naira after the Nigerian government moved to restrict operators in the country.

The report included a statement from the company: “Nigeria’s regulators have taken a pragmatic and forward-looking approach to crypto-currency in the past and we’re confident this issue can be resolved quickly, so Nigeria can continue to play a central role in the growth of crypto-currency.”

Luno’s leadership attributes the company’s growth to general ongoing interest in cryptocurrencies and what it describes as the simplicity of its online and mobile platforms, as well as its proactive engagement with regulators and banks regarding secure access to cryptocurrencies.

While much of the focus elsewhere has been on investment, speculation, and trading, in Africa the utility of cryptocurrencies is attractive says Marius Reitz, GM for Africa at Luno.

“About 30% of Luno’s customer base is in South Africa and we have added over 300,000 new wallets in the country over the past three months. We were the first company to enable South Africans and Nigerians to buy crypto with their local currency, which made access safe and easy. Although we operate in over 40 countries, Luno views Africa as one of- if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies due to its particular combination of economics and demographics,” said Reitz.

The company is targeting a billion customers by 2030.

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