South African-founded cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been acquired by Digital Currency Group (DCG), a global business that builds, buys, and invests in blockchain companies.
Luno is South Africa’s’ largest cryptocurrency exchange, and it now has five million customers spanning over 40 countries, along with 400 employees based in London, Singapore, and South Africa.
Digital Currency Group is based in New York and owns a wide portfolio of cryptocurrency companies – including CoinDesk, Genesis, Foundry, and Grayscale Investments.
Its founder and CEO is Bitcoin investor and entrepreneur Barry Silbert, who ranks among the wealthiest businesspeople in the cryptocurrency industry in the world.
“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,” Silbert said.
“Luno is a high growth, global business and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions.”
DCG will make a substantial commitment to expand Luno globally following this acquisition. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The group first invested in Luno in its seed round in 2013.
Luno was also backed by global tech giant Naspers Group and Rand Merchant Investments, which it said have sold their stakes in Luno to DCG.
Luno to continue under Swanepoel
DCG said it enables its subsidiaries to operate as independent companies, providing leadership, partnership, and investment capital to help scale businesses.
This means the Luno leadership team will remain intact and co-founder and CEO Marcus Swanepoel will lead acquisition efforts in his role as CEO.
“The past seven years has been an incredibly exciting journey for Luno – helping millions of our customers get access to crypto for the first time,” Swanepoel said.
“DCG has been an integral part of the Luno story during 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 one billion people to a better financial system by 2030,” Swanepoel said.
Luno maintains key regional offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, and Jakarta and said it will continue to focus on the existing geographies where it operates across Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
The cryptocurrency exchange has developed an aggressive road map for future growth and ultimately aims to compete with financial services firms globally.