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From Bitcoin bus ads to one billion users: The plan for Luno in Asia-Pacific

By Jesse Coghlan
February 17, 2022 0

With such a huge landscape of cryptocurrency exchanges available, and more being created every day, Luno is one that would stand out for Australians.

Luno is one of the older exchanges. First established in 2013, and the first of such in Africa, many would recognise the famous bus stop advertisements plastered around capital cities that helped raise awareness of Bitcoin to the Australian masses.

Picture of a Luno advertisement on a payphone which reads "If you're seeing bitcoin on a sign, it's time to buy". Below is a handdrawn sketch of a bitcoin.
Source: Luno Facebook

To understand more about Luno, and what plans it has for Australia this year, CryptoVista spoke with David Low, General Manager for APAC at Luno.

“Australia is a key market for us”, Low said. “Luno has ambitious plans to make crypto accessible to everyday Aussies by offering an app that makes it really simple and safe to buy, store and learn about crypto.”

Luno’s General Manager, APAC, David Low.

“Research we ran last year into the financial habits of Australians showed that over half (54 per cent) of Aussies are worried about not having enough money to retire comfortably.

“As a result, they are increasingly looking to crypto over more traditional assets to fulfil their financial goals. Our data shows that 15 per cent of Australians turned to crypto over the last two years, so we believe that the cryptocurrency market will continue to attract more new users this year.

Related: IRCI report: In Australia, crypto has “hit the mainstream”

“We are seeing crypto use at a tipping point into mainstream adoption, and crucial to that is making it as accessible as possible to everyone,” Low added.

“A key challenge for many Australians when they begin their journey into crypto is access to credible and easy to understand information regarding cryptocurrency. Luno provides just that – lots of information and educational advice to get people started safely. We have lots of plans to expand our financial literacy initiatives to reach a much wider audience in Australia.”

With Luno being a global company, headquartered in Singapore and hosted at eight other locations, we asked Low what plans there were for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region he was responsible for.

“Our plans in APAC are equally ambitious, as they are globally,” he said.

“We want to acquire at least one million more customers in the region by the end of 2022. For context, Luno currently has almost 10 million customers across all markets, but we’re looking at hitting 100 million by 2025 and one billion users by 2030.

“To achieve that, we aim to localise Luno’s product and services to meet the unique needs of each market. Content and education initiatives will similarly be localised and enhanced to the language of each market to continue making us as accessible as we can be.

“To increase accessibility, we plan to integrate and enable more deposit options. That includes introducing credit cards and partnering with E-wallets to enable their users to buy crypto in Luno. We are also looking to partner with a well known Australian brand and e-commerce businesses to distribute crypto and reward their users with crypto.”

Luno has five cryptocurrencies available on its platform in Australia, a conservative number in comparison to the hundreds offered by other exchanges. We asked Low if there are plans to add more, and if he had any expectations on if the current market volatility would continue.

“Adding new coins is something we will be looking at this year,” he said. “We know it’s something our customers often ask, so we’re keen to address this whilst ensuring that our app continues to be the most safe, secure and straightforward available.

“It is imperative that investors understand that cryptocurrency prices are subject to the laws of supply and demand, or in other words, any number of reasons have the potential to affect prices in the short term,” he remarked on the current price volatility.

“Due to the nascent nature of the industry, where demands are growing aggressively, speculative investing is unavoidable.

Cryptocurrency is still proving its use case, whilst everyone is trying to figure out the prospects of these crypto assets within the broader financial landscape, which leads to there being wild swings in prices whenever there are developments within the industry.

“My advice to investors is to do their own research and evaluate their risk appetite before investing in cryptocurrency. Additionally, investors can consult with a licensed financial planner for detailed financial advice on whether cryptocurrency is a good investment option for them.”

With the market volatility comes further crackdowns by governments with the interest to protect consumers, usually by more stringent advertising standards aimed at warning investors of potential losses.

We asked Low what his thoughts were on the potential tightening regulations on the industry, and how Luno is prepared to respond in Australia and through Asia.

“Regulation continues to be very high on our agenda in 2022,” he said.

“We have seen a lot of positive development in the regulatory landscape in Australia. For example in October last year, the Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre released its much-awaited recommendations for how cryptocurrency should be regulated. The 168-page final report boils down to 12 recommendations aimed at striking the right balance between creating legitimacy without stifling innovation.

“This was a huge step in the right direction and Luno was pleased to be part of the consultation process; we have always been pro-regulation, with investor protection as the most important aspects of our business.

See also: “Out of the shadows” — Australian Treasurer proposes new crypto regulations

“As the Government of Australia starts looking into regulating the crypto industry, we wish to support good regulations by providing input to the appropriate regulatory body through the right channels. As such, one of our key ambitions for 2022 is to be regulated under the right regulatory framework and body to ensure that Luno’s business remains compliant in Australia.

Regulation is, in our view, critical to the continued success of the cryptocurrency ecosystem; it lifts global and local standards, sets barriers to entry for operators and provides consumer protection.

“We are always willing to work closely with governments and regulators to ensure a robust regulatory framework is in place and that Luno is setting the standard in terms of compliance and consumer protection.

“It’s important that we recognise that any form of regulation is borne out of a basis to protect crypto investors. Generally, in developed markets such as Australia, financial regulators usually take a proactive approach in ensuring that investors’ interests are looked after. Regulation in crypto also legitimises the nascent industry, and in the long run will enable sustainable growth.”

Finally, CryptoVista asked Low where the idea for those famous bus stop advertisements came from, and how successful they were with that campaign.

“The Idea was borne out of our intention to reach Australians in all walks of life and become a familiar and trusted brand and the most trusted crypto gateway for Australians,” he replied.

“The response to our adverts was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope to continue fostering trust with Australians through our education programmes in 2022.”


Jesse Coghlan

Journo for CryptoVista - reporting on all things crypto, NFT, blockchain, metaverse, and DeFi.

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