One of the biggest crypto exchange platforms in Africa, Luno, is looking to break into the US market. Founded in 2013, the UK-based exchange company originally focused on brooding crypto adoption in developing markets, is seeking to expand into the biggest global market for cryptos before the end of the year.
Mauris Reitz, the company’s General Manager (Africa) disclosed this in an interview with Bloomberg, adding that the company is working hard to navigate the complex legal terrain peculiar to all fifty states in the US before establishing its presence. With a powerful presence already in Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, and some parts of Connecticut, USA, the Series B company will look to join the list of unicorns over the next few years after securing significant footprints in the US.
Back in Africa, it had struggled for dominance with Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange platform, and has received enormous patronage from Nigerians and South Africans who formed over 40% of the total two million new users it gained in 2021.
With Kenya, Nigeria, and Togo sitting at the 5th, 6th and 9th position on the top ten list of global crypto adoption, part of Luno’s mission is already being achieved. But a lot more has to be done, first, to drive crypto awareness deeper and wider across Africa and encourage informed investment, secured by sufficiently available government oversight.
With the backing of top global investors like Digital Currency Group and Naspers Ltd, Luno is looking to increase its $10 billion valuations and attract more credibility, and venture into ETF trading both in Africa and the US.
But ETFs, which are separate securities created to track and mimic the price of an asset like Bitcoin, without being exposed to the risk of holding the asset, has become a bone of contention in the US.
The US Security and Exchange Commission is still grappling with the pressure to carve out laws for a now multi-trillion dollar crypto industry and has slowed down its pace to avoid costly hasty mistakes. Part of this decision can be seen in its recent rejection of Skybridge and Bitwise ETF applications, especially in the light of the current stock market work-week dilemma, which requires ETF trading to shut down at the end of the weekday and may not be suitable for a 24/7 crypto market.
The situation is similar in South Africa and Luno is patiently waiting to see the outcome of regulatory efforts before doing so.
It remains to be seen how well Luno can snatch a few percent market dominance from Coinbase and Binance. It would have to strap on tight for longer to do so.