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SA crypto startup expands into Australia

Luno, a local cryptocurrency exchange company, with over a reported five million customers in over 40 countries across the world, has announced the expansion of its platform to customers in Australia. 

Luno claims to have hit a new record with five-million customers utilising its platform within three and a half months 

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Marius Reitz, Luno’s GM for Africa, says that key factors in the decision to enter the Australian market also included the young age of the population as well as disposable income. 

“Our African expansion is moving steadily forward and we recently launched in Zambia and Uganda. Luno is on an expansion drive and the Australian crypto landscape ticked many of the boxes on our checklist,” he says. 

Among some of these reasons for the crypto exchange company expanding its reach into Australia include; a supportive fintech environment along with growing cryptocurrency awareness and adoption in the country. This announcement comes shortly after Luno revealed it would also be available in the United Kingdom. 

Reports indicate that Australia has had a ”five-fold” increase in the number of fintech companies over a period of the past five years. In addition, almost 60% of the digitally active adults in the country are considered ‘fintech adopters. Although there are crypto exchanges operating in Australia, Luno claims that these companies tend to be “quite complex and serve a niche of tech-savvy traders.”

“We identified an opportunity due to the relative complexity of their cryptocurrency landscape. Luno’s platform is a simple, easy, and safe way for average and starter crypto investors to buy crypto – new customers can go through our digital KYC (know your customer) process and complete their first transaction within a few minutes. We have a distinct focus on helping our customers to learn more about the future of money and cryptocurrencies,” explains Reitz. 

The rise of cryptocurrency in Australia 

Since May, Australians can buy Bitcoin at 3,500 Australia Post offices across the country to add to the 1,500 retail outlets in the Blueshyft payment network, at 1,200 newsagents and online payment options to buy Bitcoin. 

Another arrangement between Coca-Cola and Centrapay has facilitated the deployment of 2,000 Bitcoin-ready Coca-Cola vending machines in Australia and New Zealand. 

Reitz comments that Australians display positive sentiments towards cryptocurrency. 

“Australia’s Independent Reserve Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) estimates that at the current rate of adoption, more than 50% of Australians under 34 will own crypto in the next five years. A third of regular investors spend $100 – $500 per month on crypto.”

Meanwhile, the regulatory environment is a further optimistic indicator to the adoption and customer growth of crypto in Australia.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has run a proof-of-concept for a wholesale central bank digital currency while the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the country’s financial intelligence agency and anti-money laundering regulator, has been regulating the crypto industry since April 2018.

“We believe that regulation is an important catalyst for broader cryptocurrency adoption. Luno welcomes regulation as it will provide consumers and professional service providers, such as banks and auditing firms, with the comfort that the company they are dealing with is held to defined regulatory standards,” says Reitz. 

Luno is offering an incentive to South African customers with connections in Australia and the UK. 

When a friend or family member opens a Luno account and buys Bitcoin, both the South African customer and the new customer in Australia/UK will receive Bitcoin to the value of AU$20 or £10 – around R240.

Read more: Luno partners with Genesis to help customers earn interest on their crypto holdings
Read more: Impact of the proposed FICA amendments on crypto asset service providers
Read more: SA Crypto startup partners with one of the world’s largest exchanges

 Featured image: Marius Reitz, General Manager for Africa at Luno (Supplied)

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