Luno to open office in Kuala Lumpur by 1Q of 2018
Luno

The setting up of the local operation is part of the firm’s effort to facilitate the bitcoin and ethereum markets

By AFIQ AZIZ

Luno has confirmed plans to set up an office in Kuala Lumpur, as the digital coin exchange seeks to capitalise on the skyrocketing interest in cryptocurrencies in the country.

The UK-based company, one of the earliest bitcoin exchanges in the world, expects the Malaysian office will materialise in the first three months of this year, and it is already seeking candidates to head the office, the company told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

The setting up of the local operation is part of the firm’s effort to facilitate the bitcoin and ethereum markets.

Werner van Rooyen

Werner van Rooyen (Source: Luno)

Luno head of marketing and communications Werner van Rooyen said the move into Malaysia is significant as Luno plans to strengthen and multiply the deposit and withdrawal mechanisms.

“We are planning to formally launch the Luno Business accounts later in the year. Proximity to our banking partners and the local regulators like Bank Negara Malaysia will help us provide better services to the local market,” he said in an email to TMR.

In November last year, TMR reported based on industry sources that Luno plans to open an office in Malaysia. Luno, one of the biggest and globally recognised cryptocurrency exchanges, already has offices in Singapore and South Africa.

Luno currently trades the two most popular cryptocurrencies — bitcoin and ethereum. Malaysia was selected based on Luno’s internal analysis on the acceptance towards cryptocurrencies.

The company said Malaysia has a very active customer base, a fast-growing market and a higher interest in the company’s products.

He said among the activities performed by the locals include checking price, setting price alerts and buying or selling digital currency.

Based on search engine query, Luno is among the top currency platforms being sought after by users.

Luno’s website yesterday showed that the platform traded 130 bitcoins with the highest price quoted at RM78,450, with an estimated value of RM9.7 million, while another exchange, Coindance.com, recorded a transaction value of RM10.2 million from Jan 6, 2018, until yesterday.

Besides bitcoin and ethereum, the locals are also attracted to other digital coins like ripple and litecoin. Bitcoin soared to a 1,700% high last year as investors bet on the digital token rise.

Van Rooyen said the company is also interviewing candidates for its Malaysian branch.

“We are hiring fast all around the world. This includes country manager and operations lead positions in Malaysia,” he said.

While worries that cryptocurrencies are susceptible to criminal-related activities, Van Rooyen stressed that Luno has always emphasised on regulatory compliance and consumer protection.

“We have always had strict know-your-customer, antimoney laundering and anti-terror financing measures in place, to mitigate risks and respond to threats and suspicious activities,” he said.