BusinessDay

Luno app installs rise 60% in one month as crypto customers hit 7m

London-based cryptocurrency exchange, Luno said app installs rose 60 percent in January 2021 the same month the price of bitcoin went over the roof. The company also reaped an additional one million users to take its customers tally to a whopping 7 million in just seven weeks of reaching 6 million.

The growth in mobile app installs represents a 300 percent growth year-on-year when compared to January 2020. Unsurprisingly, the company said it has seen exponential growth in the cryptocurrency business in 2021 as prices of the top cryptocurrencies – five of which plus a stablecoin are listed on Luno – continue to replace previous all-time highs at record speed.

The price of bitcoin as of Wednesday morning, April 14, was $64,615, the most it has ever recorded. Ethereum also set a new record at $2,389, while Ripple’s XRP is less than $2 away from canceling an all-time high set in 2018. Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash are both experiencing wild growth swings at $276 and $819 respectively.

Africa contributed the most customers in 2020 to the global cryptocurrency exchange. Luno’s customer base grew by 2.3 million to 4.7 million between January 2020 and January 2021. App installs across the continent also rose by 271 percent alongside trading volume which grew over 12x from $555 million to $7 billion.

Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and co-founder of Luno says generally the cryptocurrency market has seen tremendous adoption in the past seven years. While the media has focused mainly on institutional investors trooping to the market, retail adoption has also increased at a fanatical pace.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the need for digital currencies, and here at Luno, our mission is not only to help educate people about cryptocurrencies and how to use them today but in the long run leverage the power of this technology to upgrade the world to a better financial system,” Swanepoel said.

Luno’s growth has also been aided by the acquisition in September 2020 by Digital Currency Group (DCG). Since then, the company has seen the number of active users grow by 167 percent, whilst the number of app installs has increased 119 percent. By 25 January, the average Luno user held over $7,000 in their wallet, up 56 percent from 30 December 2020. Luno was ranked in the top six cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide in the latest CryptoCompare Exchange Benchmark, whilst also receiving the top tier AA rating.

“We want to make cryptocurrencies accessible in a secure and compliant way to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they are located. In 2021, we expect to continue this exponential growth, on track to reaching our goal of 1 billion customers by 2030,“ Swanepoel said.

Founded in 2013 by Marcus Swanepoel, a former investment banker, and Timothy Stranex, Luno has embarked on an expansion mission establishing a presence in Malaysia and other markets in the emerging world. Today the company is headquartered in London and has nearly 400 employees across offices in London, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Singapore with customers in 40 countries globally, with over 10 percent growth in staff numbers since March 2020.

It wouldn’t have chosen a better time to push into new markets as more institutional investors declare their loyalty to bitcoin as a store of value. The likes of Tesla are investing in Bitcoin, US Bank BNY Mellon setting up a Crypto Unit, and Mastercard accepting crypto payments.

Often classified as digital gold, bitcoin has become more attractive to investors amidst inflation concerns as a result of increased fiscal and monetary stimulus.

The 2020 spike bitcoin experienced was also accelerated by its growth in global adoption as the number of global cryptocurrency users surpassed 100 million in Q3 2020.

Over the last few years, infrastructure in parts of the world that could not previously support the crypto market has improved substantially. Luno has played an essential role in these developments, particularly in major African economies and Asia-Pacific, where it has enabled efficient markets for customers to trade crypto in a safe and secure way through local currency. In 2020 alone, Luno provided 1.1 million Asians access to the crypto markets, growing its Asian customer base by 300,000.

“Luno has seen phenomenal growth over the past 12 months and is one of the fastest-growing companies in the DCG family. We are proud to be part of this success and will continue to make significant investments to support Luno’s commitment to driving global economic and social change through the transformation of traditional financial services,” Barry Silbert, CEO, Digital Currency Group said.

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