Luno Malaysia’s digital AUC surpasses RM1b

The crypto global market capitalisation is estimated to be worth over RM9.1t at present

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic credit: LUNO

LUNO Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the first Securities Commission Malaysia (SC)-approved digital asset exchange in Malaysia, now has more than RM1 billion worth of digital assets under custody (AUCs).

In a statement yesterday, Luno stated that its verified users had also surpassed the half-million mark with 588,994 users as of January 2021, as cryptocurrencies emerged as an alternative asset class with investors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luno Malaysia country manager Aaron Tang (picture) said the influx of new users in the latter parts of 2020 saw its customer grow by over 300% quarter-on-quarter, with RM3.97 billion in total transactions registered during the period.

“Interest in cryptocurrency has been on an uptrend in Malaysia with many investors looking to cryptocurrencies as an alternative store of value or a start to their investing journey,” Tang said.

Globally, the cryptocurrency market has grown over the past 12 months with more digital assets enthusiasts coming on board. They include retail traders and large institutions like Tesla Inc, Master- card Inc and The Bank of New York Mellon Corp that have adopted and are facilitating cryptocurrency use.

The crypto global market capitalisation is estimated to be worth over US$2.2 trillion (RM9.09 trillion) at present, more than double compared to early last year, with bitcoin accounting for half of the total market value.

The SC has approved only four digital assets to be traded in Malaysia namely bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and litecoin, compared to more than 9,000 digital currencies that are available in the global market currently.

Despite limited options in the immediate term, Tang believes the local crypto market would continue to grow, backed by Luno Malaysia’s solid growth in less than two years since the company relaunched in Malaysia in 2019.

“When we relaunched in Malaysia in 2019, our aim was not only to provide Malaysians with a safe and convenient platform to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies, but also to educate them about this exciting technology,” Tang said.

The past 12 months had hastened the adoption of cryptocurrency globally. While a lot of the attention has been given to institutional adoption, global retail involvement, including in Malaysia, has been growing at a tremendous pace, too, he added.

Luno’s digital AUM consists of four approved cryptocurrencies with bitcoin accounting for 62% of the total, ethereum (23%), ripple (10%) and litecoin (5%).

Bitcoin currently trades at about RM281,486 and has risen by 737% over the past year, while ethereum’s value has skyrocketed by 1,089% to RM10,379 over the same period.

Litecoin is up by 234.56% compared to last year, while ripple is up 729% year-on-year (YoY).

Tang said Luno has reached seven million customers globally representing growth of more than 300% YoY in the number of app instals with over RM34 billion transacted. He said crypto assets have become more attractive to investors amid inflation concerns as a result of increased fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Bitcoin’s price spike in 2020 was accelerated by its growth in global adoption as the number of global cryptocurrency users surpassed 100 million in the third quarter of 2020, Tang added.

“Since Luno’s acquisition by Digital Currency Group in September 2020, Luno has seen the number of active global users increase by 167%, while the number of app instals has increased by 119%.

“As of Jan 25, 2021, the average Luno user held over US$7,000 in their wallet, up 56% from Dec 30, 2020,” the UK-based company noted.

Luno South-East Asia GM David Low said the group aims to make cryptocurrency accessible to more than one billion people within the next decade.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for digital currencies and at Luno, our mission is not only to help educate people about cryptocurrencies and how to use them today, but in the long run, leverage the power of this technology to upgrade the world to a better financial system.

“We want to make cryptocurrencies accessible in a secure and compliant way to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they are located,” he noted.

In 2021, Luno expects to continue experiencing exponential growth and remain on track to reaching its goal of one billion global customers by 2030, Low said.