update 14 October 2021

Luno Full Review – Upgrading the World to a Better Financial System

The crypto is definitely upon us. To say the least, Bitcoin has more than 100 million owners, 400 000 daily users, 200 million Bitcoin wallets, and over 53 million traders. Cryptocurrencies have also emerged to have the highest trading volume compared to fiat currencies. 

However, despite the widespread usability of cryptos, mainstream adoption is still a challenge, especially in developing countries in Africa and South Asia due to a lack of supporting infrastructure. Most crypto exchanges and other products are mostly focused in Europe and the US, leaving other continents behind in the crypto revolution. 

Luno exchange seeks to change this narrative by providing a fast and safe route to cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, XRP, USDC, and more without geographical limitations. The exchange has a wide international reach extending from the UK, South Africa, West Africa, Asia to Australia. Read on to find out more about this non-discriminatory crypto exchange. 

Luno Exchange Overview

Luno is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers custodial wallet services and payment services. The exchange allows you to seamlessly buy, store and manage cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, etc., in a single platform. 

The platform currently has over 6 million active users across 40 countries worldwide. The company is based in London, UK but has regional hubs in Cape Town and Singapore. According to the CoinMarketCap website, it has processed over $67 million in transactions in writing.

Luno operates as an independent subsidiary of Digital Currency Group. Its mission is to upgrade the world to the crypto-financial system by educating individuals worldwide on cryptocurrencies and how to trade them. 

Thanks to Luno’s instant buy/sell feature, users can effortlessly buy cryptos with their local supported currency or leverage the Luno Exchange to trade over 25 cryptos to fiat pairs. Luno also features a built-in custodial BTC Savings wallet that allows users to earn interest on their bitcoins held in a separate wallet. 

Luno claims that 95% of users’ crypto is stored in “deep freeze” multisignature wallets protected by various encryption layers, thus pretty safe. Several regulators regulate the exchange in the countries they operate, such as the Malaysia Securities Commission (MSC) for the Malaysian operations.

Short Background and Team of Luno Exchange

Established in 2013, Luno is among the earliest entrants in the crypto space. The company started in Cape Town, South Africa, as BitX by Timothy Stranex and Marcus Swanepoel. Before launching Luno, Stranex worked with Google as a software engineer on Switzerland’s Google Maps team. 

Swanepoel has a rich banking experience with a background in consumer banking, private equity, and investment. He had worked with Standard Chartered, 3i, and Morgan Stanley before starting Luno (BitX) 

In 2016, BitX rebranded to Luno, opening offices in Singapore and London, where its headquarters. The platform raised over $13.8 million in global funding led by Naspers Group in the first round and Balderton Capital in the second round.  

Luno boasts of the world’s most international cryptocurrency team, with team members from diverse finance, engineering, and industry backgrounds. The team members speak multiple languages and have successful track records working at leading global companies, including Barclays, Google, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, and Ernst & Young. 

Luno Products

Luno offers several crypto products to its users, all under a single platform. The products include a crypto trading platform, a crypto brokerage service, a Bitcoin wallet, and an API designed for businesses. Luno’s dashboard is relatively intuitive and allows users to instantly buy or sell cryptos, access account reports, account settings, and more. 

Trading Platform

Luno provides its users with a Bitcoin to fiat trading platform. The trading platform supports five currencies which are: Indonesia Rupiah (IDR), Euro (EUR), South African Rand (ZAR), Nigerian Naira (NGN), and Malaysian Ringgit (MYR).

The trading platform comes with several handy features, including advanced cryptocurrency charting, Bitcoin price updates, API access for automated crypto trading, as well as several market indicators and reporting features that offer you an in-depth view of your portfolio. 

On Luno’s trading platform, you can trade between any of the supported pairs, including BTC/XRP, BTC/LTC, BTC/ETH, and BTC/fiat pairs (listed above). The user-friendly trading platform allows you to trade Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with ease. 

Luno Brokerage Service (LBS)

Luno brokerage service offers an instant and straightforward way of buying and selling Bitcoin and Ethereum at the quoted exchange rate. You can directly buy or sell your coins and pay a premium fee, which is quite low using the services. The fee varies between countries and depends on the purchase amount. 

Luno Crypto & Bitcoin Wallets

Luno offers a custodial Bitcoin mobile wallet available for Android and iOS. While you don’t have full control over your Bitcoin, the wallet is a great place to store your coins, which earn interest with time. Besides, it’s safe since 95% of users’ funds are stored in offline storage. 

The other crypto wallet allows you to store and transact Ethereum and other supported cryptos and fiat via email, phone number, QR code, or blockchain address. 

Business Services

Luno has also developed crypto solutions for businesses allowing them to trade, transact and store cryptos securely. Luno Business allows companies to send and receive crypto payments, integrate APIs for automation plus securely store crypto funds under their custody. The service is ideal for crypto startups, miners, financial companies and trading firms, etc.  

Luno Supported Currencies (Fiat and Crypto) and Payment Methods

Luno supports the trade of the five cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Litecoin (LTC). The supported fiat currencies are Zambian Kwacha (ZMW), Polish Złoty (PLN), Ugandan Shilling (UGX), British Pound (GBP), Euro (EUR), Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Nigerian Naira (NGN) South African Rand (ZAR). 

Some of the payment methods supported by the platform include Paystack (NGN), GT Bank transfer (NGN), EFT (ZAR), Cash deposit penalty (ZAR), iDeal (EUR) Debit / Credit card (EUR), SEPA (EUR) Bank transfer (IDR and NGN) Interbank Giro / IBFT (MYR) Card deposit (NGN) Sofort (EUR) Flutterwave (NGN). 

Different payment methods attract different fees. However, unlike most crypto exchanges such as Binance, which charge hefty fees on credit or debit card deposits of up to 5%, Luno doesn’t charge deposit fees when depositing Euros using a debit or credit card.  

Luno Fees

Luno charges four different categories of fees for its services: deposit fees (for some payment methods), transaction fees (for takers), withdrawal fees, and fees for sending or receiving Bitcoin from your Luno account/ other Bitcoin addresses. Here is Luno’s detailed fee structure. 

Transaction fees

Luno’s transaction fees are based on the taker/maker fee plan. The makers aren’t charged transaction fees on the platform, while makers are charged between 0.25% based on the traded currency. 

The platform also offers transaction fees discounts if a user hits AU$350,000 trading volume in 30 days i.e. 0.1% taker fee for < $350,000 and 0.09%-0.03% for over $350,000+ 30 day trade volume. 

Deposit Fees

Deposit fees depend on the payment method and country. Users in Europe and Malaysia aren’t charged deposit fees, while deposit fees apply to South Africa, Indonesia, and Nigeria. 

Cryptocurrency deposits are free, but users pay for the blockchain fees. Bank transfers are free or $1.30 for deposits under $50. PayID is free or $1.30 for deposits under $50. 

Withdrawal Fees

Most withdrawals are free. However, withdrawals via bank transfers are free or $1.30 for withdrawals under $50. 

Limits

Luno imposes limits on deposits and maximum purchase size. However, there are no limits on the number of transactions that can be done. The minimum instant trade purchase is $1, while the maximum purchase size is $30 000. 

The deposit limits are based on users’ accounts verification level as below: 

Level 0 (email verification) – can’t deposit/withdraw fiat at all.

Level 1 (phone verification) – can deposit/withdraw up to 1000 Euros in total. 

Level 2 (ID verification) – can deposit/withdraw up to 5000 Euros per month.

Level 3 (proof of residence) – can deposit/withdraw up to 100,000 Euros per month.

Available Countries 

Luno has an excellent international outreach present in almost every continent except America. While it’s not available across the globe, it’s available in the following countries. 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, and Zambia.  

Regulation

Luno is a registered business in the UK (Reg No. 10388856). Luno claims to support progressive regulation of the crypto markets and works with regulators. Based on its operations and the implemented crypto regulations, Luno is either regulated or not. 

For instance, Luno Malaysian operations are regulated by the Securities Commission Malaysia according to the law. In contrast, its operations in Uganda are not regulated since the country is yet to implement crypto regulations. Nonetheless, the exchange is regulatory compliant.  

Is Luno Safe?

Despite its hybrid regulation model, Luno seems to be a safe crypto exchange. The exchange provides several verification levels designed for different users. 

To verify their accounts and begin trading, users need to confirm their emails or mobile numbers and submit additional information such as ID and residence proof. There are different tiers of account verification providing flexibility and convenience to users. 

In addition to account verification, Luno has implemented robust security features, including AML/CFT measures involving a tiered KYC approach to protect users’ funds. The platform stores 95% of users’ funds in cold wallets and employs multi-signature wallets to unlock hot wallets for withdrawals meaning that funds are relatively safe. 

Other security features on the platform include frequent financial and security audits, users’ private keys encrypted and stored in the deep freeze in a bank vault, 2-Factor identification, and the use of a password generator. The exchange is, therefore, safe for your everyday crypto needs.    

Customer Service

Luno’s customer service can be easily accessed. You can email support to submit a request or query, or you can use the help center consisting of FAQs to resolve any issue you may be experiencing. 

Luno Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple and straightforward to use 
  • Easy crypto transfers 
  • Relatively safe 
  • Suitable for businesses accepting crypto as means of payment 
  • Best for developing countries 
  • Ideal for sending email payments involving both crypto and fiat 

Cons

  • Custodial wallets 
  • Lacks advanced options such as margin trading 
  • Not available in North America 
  • Few cryptos supported
  • Low liquidity 
  • Not fully regulated  
  • Not suitable for seasoned traders

Conclusion

Developing and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa are often overlooked by most crypto exchanges that lockout users from such countries. However, in a real sense, these countries have an enormous opportunity for crypto and are instrumental in contributing to mainstream crypto adoption. 

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Luno has found its niche in developing markets, and it’s making crypto not seem like rocket science and more available to the average user. The platform allows for ease of conversion and usage of crypto in the real economy. Overall, it’s a great exchange to buy, store and exchange cryptocurrencies without complexities synonymous with most crypto exchanges.  

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