Digital Currency Group acquires cryptocurrency exchange Luno
Digital Currency Group (DCG), a global enterprise that builds, buys, and invests in blockchain companies has acquired Luno, a London-based cryptocurrency exchange with extensive operations in Nigeria, South Africa, and other emerging markets.
The acquisition which terms were not disclosed will enable Luno to extend its global footprints, both in geographies where Luno currently operates and in new markets. With regional hubs in Singapore and Cape Town, South Africa, Luno has grown significantly in recent years, with nearly 400 employees and more than five million global customers spanning over 40 countries.
In Africa, the company saw more than 550,000 new users on its platform in Q2 2020 and contributes the largest share of cryptocurrency trading volume on the continent across non-P2P exchanges. Luno has marked significant territory as an exchange in several countries that have the highest percentage of cryptocurrency ownership, including South Africa (third-highest of its citizens owning digital currencies), Nigeria (fifth-highest), Indonesia (sixth-highest), and Malaysia (tenth-highest).
“We are proud to have supported Luno as an early investor, and we recognize a shared commitment to building mission-driven companies that can help transform traditional financial services and improve economic freedom for people all over the world,” DCG Founder and CEO Barry Silbert said. “Luno is a high growth, global business and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions.”
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As an investment firm, DCG has invested in over 160 blockchain companies around the world. In addition to its venture portfolio, DCG is the parent company of several wholly-owned subsidiaries, including Grayscale Investments (the world’s largest digital currency asset manager), Genesis (a leading digital asset prime brokerage), CoinDesk (the preeminent media and events company in the industry), and the recently-launched Foundry, which provides institutional expertise, capital, and market intelligence to bitcoin miners and manufacturers.
Prior to the acquisition, DCG had first invested in Luno in 2014 in its seed round in August 2014. Following the acquisition, the Luno leadership team will remain entirely intact and Marcus Swanepoel, the co-founder of Luno will lead acquisition efforts in his role as CEO.
“The past seven years have been an incredibly exciting journey for Luno – helping millions of our customers get access to crypto for the first time,” said Swanepoel. “DCG has been an integral part of the Luno story during all of this time, and we’ve been fully aligned on our vision and culture since day one. Having the full backing of DCG just as we’re experiencing such a pivotal moment of growth in the industry is not just an exciting and important milestone for Luno, but more importantly, it will significantly accelerate our ability to reach our goal to help upgrade 1 billion people to a better financial system by 2030.”
Founded in 2013, Luno has been backed by global tech giant the Naspers Group and Balderton Capital amongst others. The company believes that the legacy system was built for a non-digital age, ignoring the needs of modern individuals and adding unnecessary inefficiencies and gatekeepers. The world now has access to new technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum that will fundamentally change how the world views and uses money. Like communication evolving from landlines to mobile phones, money is finally catching up with other information revolutions.
“We have been extremely impressed with Marcus and the Luno team since we made our initial investment,” added Silbert. “Marcus understands our culture and appreciates how well Luno fits into the DCG family. He is a focused, high integrity leader, and exactly the kind of person we want running one of our companies at this critical moment when the crypto industry is at an inflection point.”
Luno maintains regional offices in Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, Jakarta, and Johannesburg, and will continue to focus on the existing geographies where it operates across Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Luno team has also developed an aggressive road map for future growth and will ultimately compete with financial services firms globally. Luno is actively hiring for positions all over the world.