Meet Africa’s Blockchain Startups: Luno


Luno (formerly known as BitX) is a bitcoin startup that aims to empower individuals through the safe and easy use of bitcoin for payments and as an investment. Founded in 2013, the Singapore-based company is a global bitcoin wallet provider and exchange. It has a strong presence in select African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa where it operates as a bitcoin exchange.

Taking Bitcoin “To The Moon”

Luno AppPreviously operating as BitX, the company rebranded its operations in January to Luno as it looks to expand into new markets and offer new products. The name Luno means ‘the moon’ and reflects the shared sense of excitement that the company and its customer base have about this innovative new industry.

CEO Marcus Swanepoel said in a press release to VentureBurn: “Our new brand and product offerings are better aligned with this vision and will help drive our mission of bringing Bitcoin to everyone, everywhere.”

Customers can now access the new services via the Luno mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android systems, or by signing up on the company website. The app, which serves as a bitcoin wallet is very functional and easy to navigate. Sending bitcoins to a recipient’s phone number, email or address is fast and cheap. When transferring funds to another bitcoin address you are charged a standard small fee that goes to maintaining the bitcoin network.

In addition, you can purchase bitcoins on the Luno exchange by transferring money to your Luno account via bank transfer or using a credit card. Once you have converted your fiat currency to bitcoin you can spend it online or store it as an investment. The Luno bitcoin API allows you to integrate your payment systems with bitcoin as well as build custom applications as a merchant.

Also, trading bitcoins on the platform is made simple because you can automatically track trade orders once you submit them. You can also track the price of bitcoin against selected currencies, on the app, which is updated in real time. Apart from giving customers a unique user experience, the Luno platform is also quite safe, utilising some of the most sophisticated security systems.

“We believe that decentralised digital currencies like Bitcoin will fundamentally change how the world views and uses money. Cheaper, faster and safer transactions; more privacy and financial freedom; a significantly better user experience; and ultimately, more equality by giving everyone in the world access to the same financial system,” Swanepoel stated.

Future Expansion

While the startup remains committed to its cryptocurrency base in African and East Asian markets, it is looking to gain a foothold in Europe. The company was selected by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to participate in a supervised “fintech sandbox” to test how its “fast and low-cost offsetting network” protocol can be used to move the pound into other currencies by using bitcoin as means of settlement. Luno has also now up operations in London and plans to grow its brand in the UK.

Tags : lunosouth africa
Wellington Ayugi

The author Wellington Ayugi

Wellington Ayugi is a Nairobi-based freelance writer who is passionate about personal finance, micro-finance & new developments in financial technology.