Luno Review

Luno is a cryptocurrency exchange and a payment service provider with a market capitalisation of $3.7 million. The fintech company provides users with an easy-to-use, inexpensive and secure digital platform to buy, sell and store Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Founded in 2013 by Marcus Swanepoel  and Timothy Strannex , the London-based exchange has found a niche in emerging markets, serving over 3 million users across Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. In September 2020, Luno was acquired by Digital Currency Group which is a New York-based venture capital company, focusing on the digital currency market.

How Luno started?

Originally named BitX, Luno started in South Africa as a digital platform for Bitcoin trading. The idea was to provide traders in Africa with an opportunity to trade the cryptocurrency market with their mobile phones and make the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency trading on the continent a reality.

The founders set about building safe, straightforward tools to buy, sell and store Bitcoin; firstly for a major multi-national bank and then made the exchange available to the broader African market via the BitX app. In 2014, Luno expanded its operations to Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria.

Today, Luno also supports Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. The fintech company has already processed more than a billion dollars in transactions, by more than two million people in 40 countries.

Is Luno regulated?

No, Luno is not regulated by a top-tier authority.

The fintech company notes in its website that since its launch in 2013, “We’ve taken a proactive approach to ensuring the safety of our customers and the industry and have conducted ourselves as if we were regulated. We apply robust AML and CFT controls that, wherever possible, are based upon the laws and regulations that apply to the financial services industry.”

Read more: Key components of Luno’s AML and CTF framework

Is Luno available to forex traders in South Africa?

Yes, Luno is available to forex traders in South Africa.

Luno has regional offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

Is Luno legit?

Yes, Luno is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange offering clients a safe and secure platform to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies. In September 2020, Luno was acquired by the Digital Currency Group (DCG) which is a New York-based venture capital company, focusing on the digital currency market.

Previously known as BitX, Luno was founded in 2013 and has earned a solid reputation as a secure and legally-compliant cryptocurrency exchange. Luno has its headquarters in London and regional offices in the United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Australia.

Is Luno a good cryptocurrency exchange?

Yes, Luno is a reliable and trusted cryptocurrency exchange and payment service provider. This is despite the fact that the exchange is not currently regulated.

Luno is rated highly in terms of easy-to-use interface, industry-leading security, deep liquidity, low transaction fees and its interest-earning Bitcoin Wallet.

Easy-to-use interface

Ease of use is a key benefit of the service Luno provides. Luno has developed a state-of-the-art API (application programming interface) which is available for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Luno’s API provides you with an efficient and seamless way to integrate into the exchange platform, allowing you to build custom applications, manage your account, make trades and retrieve market data.

The Luno API give you the ability to:

Industry-leading security

Luno makes the security of its exchange platform a high priority. To date, the Luno exchange has never suffered a major hack.

The following features safeguard your Luno account:

Deep freeze storage  The majority of customer crypto funds are kept in deep freeze storage. These are multi-signature wallets with private keys stored in different bank vaults. No single person ever has access to more than one key.   Spending any crypto coins from deep freeze storage requires a coordinated effort with multiple layers of encryption and security checks. Wallet backups are also stored in encrypted form.  
Hot walletLuno maintains a multi-signature hot wallet to facilitate instant crypto coin withdrawals. Luno controls one of the keys and the other is held by the multi-signature custodian leader BitGo.   Splitting control of the keys between two companies makes the wallet much more secure because an attacker would have to compromise both the Luno and BitGo systems in order to steal the keys.  
PasswordsPasswords are stored in hashed form. Nobody other than yourself ever has access to your password. Luno makes sure that users use a strong password when they sign up with Luno account.  
Two-factor authentication (2FA)  Two-factor authentication (2FA) is supported to provide another level of authentication and ensure complete peace of mind. With 2FA enabled, you will add an extra layer of protection to your account: a one-time code that can only be generated on your smartphone.  
Site, service and staff  All web services and communication happens over SSL-secured (https) channels. Wallets are stored using PGP encryption. No individual has direct access to customer Bitcoin funds and regular auditing – both financial and security auditing – ensures that funds are always safe and fully accounted for.   All Luno employees must pass a background check, receive security training and are required to adhere to the company security policy.   All personally identifiable information, such as ID numbers, names and identity document scans, are encrypted and securely stored. Access to this information is logged and strictly controlled on a need-to-know basis.  

Deep liquidity

Liquidity is driven by Luno’s low fees, high volume and many active traders. Luno’s deep liquidity ensures the tightest spreads so that your crypto trades are executed as close as possible to the price you want, maximising your profits.

A market with deep liquidity is characterised by the presence of willing buyers and sellers in an on-going competitive environment. This market will have a high probability of facilitating the next trade at a price close to or the same as the last price.

Low transaction fees

Luno’s fees are among the lowest in the industry. Luno uses a maker-taker fee schedule with volume incentives based on your activity in the past 30 days.

The cryptocurrency exchange has thoroughly reviewed its fees and in October 2020, reduced taker fees for all its exchange customers.

The highest fees that any Luno trader will pay per trade will be 0.10% while the lowest is 0.03%. This is on par with Binance and well below Coinbase’s fee. Makers continue to pay zero fees across the board.

In addition, Luno has introduced an updated tiering structure for taker fees which makes it easier for you to get rewarded the more you trade.

Luno fees comparison

Luno0.03% to 0.10% per trade  
Binance0.02% to 0.10% per trade  
Coinbase0.50% per trade  

Interest-earning Bitcoin Wallet

Luno offers a interest-earning custodial Bitcoin Wallet for iOS and Android which can be paired to your Luno account. A custodial crypto wallet means you’re not in control over your digital coins, meaning your coins are under Luno’s control and you don’t have access to the private keys.

From October 2020, users of the Luno cryptocurrency exchange could start earning passive income on their crypto holdings through Luno’s new Savings Wallet. Users can earn up to 7.6% income on their crypto savings; with no fixed terms, no hidden fees and unlimited deposits and withdrawals.

Luno Savings is available for Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDC. You can transfer your Bitcoin or altcoins from your Savings Wallet into your normal Luno account at any time. Interest is calculated on the first of every month.

Did you know?

Custodial wallets are not as secure as non-custodial wallets but they are popular because they are more convenient to use and they don’t require as much responsibility.

Is Luno safe to use?

Yes, Luno is safe to use. It’s a well-established cryptocurrency exchange with a solid reputation for being legally compliant and security conscious. Luno will keep your cryptocurrency protected but it is your responsibility to protect your wallet from being accessed by intruders.

Luno cannot do anything for you if your sign-in details are stolen and used to steal Bitcoin or altcoins out of your Bitcoin Wallet.

What products does Luno offer?

Luno ExchangeProfessional, easy-to-use cryptocurrency trading platform. Buy and sell with ease, store and send securely, and save and earn up to 7.6% interest in crypto.   Deposit, withdraw and trade 24/7 on the Luno mobile app for Android and iOS and enjoy all the exchange features anytime, wherever you are.  
Luno Bitcoin WalletFor cryptocurrency conversion, storage and consumer payments; buy Bitcoin or supported altcoins, then securely store it in your Luno Wallet or send it to your contacts.   Sign up for your free Luno Wallet on the web, iOS or Android and follow the easy steps to set up your profile.   Luno’s Bitcoin Wallet is a first-class cryptocurrency wallet. It’s secure, inexpensive and very easy to manage. The addition of Luno’s Savings Wallet is hugely popular and an excellent savings tool for users.  
Luno EnterprisesBuild custom applications or integrate payments with Luno’s powerful cryptocurrency API.   Luno provides three officially supported SDKs for easy integration, available in Go, Python and PHP.   Create wallets and addresses for multiple cryptocurrencies and retrieve balances and wallet events.   Low latency streams via websockets and access an identical view of the server’s order book.   Accept crypto payments seamlessly via our Merchant API and BIP70 Payment Protocol Support.  

What awards has Luno received recently?

In 2018, Luno was named the United Kingdom’s fastest growing startup in the Tech 5 competition. Luno joined the ranks of highly successful startups such as Deliveroo, TransferWise, Lyst, Delivery Hero, Cabify, Onfido and iZettle.

Luno also came second to Emma (mattress business in Germany) in the Tech5 competition to find the fastest-growing companies in Europe’s six hottest startup ecosystems; UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden. Luno recorded a 12369% growth in the UK.

How does the Luno exchange work?

Luno is a cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform that connects Bitcoin and Ethereum buyers with sellers. It works in the same way as other exchanges where you can trade stocks, commodities, forex and indices. Luno is not a broker, and it does not buy or sell cryptocurrency. It is simply a platform to connect buyers and sellers.

Luno follows the popular maker/taker fee model which involves no fees for market makers and a nominal fee for market takers. Basically, makers are the traders that create orders and wait for them to be filled, while takers are the ones that fill someone else’s orders. Market makers are the liquidity providers.

Take orders and bids

On one side of Luno exchange, there is a seller. The seller has Bitcoin (BTC) and is interested in selling it for local fiat currency such as USD, EUR or ZAR (South African Rand).

The seller goes to the Luno exchange and makes a BTC deposit. They create an order to sell their BTC for a specific ask price. This is known as the maker order.

On the other side of the exchange, there is a buyer. The buyer goes to the Luno exchange and makes a deposit in a local currency. The buyer then does one of two things:

  1. Matches the existing order, known as a taker order; willing to pay the amount the seller asked
  2. Creates a new order, called a bid; only willing to pay X-amount to buy 1 BTC

A new order that doesn’t match with another order is known as a maker order. In this case, the market hasn’t met as the buyer and seller don’t agree on the price. The seller may want too much for the BTC or the buyer wants to pay too little.

Supply and demand

Based on supply and demand, buyers and sellers will go to the Luno exchange and create their orders at prices that are higher or lower than previous orders. But eventually, the market is met; meaning a buyer and a seller agrees on a price and cryptocurrency/fiat is exchanged.

When the buyer and the seller finally get want they want, that specific order is closed. Previous orders remain open until another buyer and seller comes along and the market is met.

Luno provides a platform where buyers and sellers meet and orders are opened and closed. Luno charges a small fee per trade.

Does Luno have a mobile app?

Yes, Luno has an easy-to-use mobile app that allows customers to connect with traders who are buying and selling Bitcoin and Ethereum. You can deposit, withdraw and trade 24/7 on Luno’s app, available for iOS and Android. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

How to open an account with Luno

To open and set up a Luno account and Bitcoin wallet, first download the Luno app. Available from PlayStore.

  1. Click on Sign Up
  2. Enter your email address and create a password
  3. Select your country of residents
  4. Tick “I’m not a robot” button
  5. Select the Sign Up button at the bottom of the page
  6. Luno will send an email to verify your registration

How to verify your identity on the Luno app

Luno needs to verify your identity in order to upgrade your account to Level 2 and increase your monthly/daily limits. This allows you to deposit or withdraw money from your account up to R50 000 per month.

  1. Log into Luno when you’ve created your account
  2. Click on Verify Now
  3. Click on Settings
  4. Fill in your personal details; name, surname and mobile phone number
  5. Click on Verify to submit the required documents

Documents required

  • a high-quality photo of your identity book or passport
  • supporting documents not older than 3 months, including a utility bill, mortgage statement or bank statement with your physical address

Luno deposits and withdrawals

How to deposit money into a Luno account

  1. Open the Luno app and sign in
  2. Select Wallets from the menu
  3. Choose your local currency wallet
  4. Select Deposit
  5. Choose the method with which you’d like to top-up your wallet
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts from there

How to add money to your Luno wallet using your credit or debit card

  1. From the Menu, select Wallets and then the Deposit option on your local currency wallet
  2. Select the Add debit card or credit card
  3. Enter your debit or credit card details
  4. Once complete, select the Add Card button
  5. You will be taken directly to the Enter Amount screen where you can continue to make your deposit
  6. Enter the desired amount you would like to deposit and then click Submit
  7. Proceed to the Confirm Amount screen and then select Confirm
  8. You may be redirected to your card issuer’s 3D-Secure screen where you will be prompted to enter the One Time Password (OTP) supplied to you by your card issuer
  9. You’ll be taken to a confirmation screen to let you know that your deposit was successful

Things to know about depositing money into a Luno account

Deposits must be made using a bank account that belongs to the same person who owns the Luno wallet, i.e. the bank account must be in your name.

Do not deposit money using a friend or family member’s bank account.

If you wish to use a company bank account to make deposits from Luno, please apply for a company account at Luno.

Enter the correct reference number in the payment reference field (if applicable).

It can take up to two business days for your money to show in your Luno wallet under certain circumstances.

Note:

Cross-border/international deposits aren’t allowed. Deposits should come from a bank account registered in the same country that you verified your Luno account in. Cross-border deposits will be reversed back to the depositor and those reversals may incur a reversal fee.

How to send and receive cryptocurrency in your Luno Bitcoin wallet

How to add a Luno Bitcoin Wallet

Luno provides you with a Bitcoin Wallet when you sign up with Luno. You need to add a Wallet for each coin that Luno supports and you want to trade. For example, you need a BTC wallet for Bitcoin and an ETH wallet for Ethereum. A BTC wallet cannot receive ETH and vice versa.

The new cryptocurrency will be added to your list of available wallets. You’ll be able to send, receive, buy and sell from your newly-created wallet. Price charts for the individual crypto coins will be added to your home screen for each wallet.

Crypto coins that Luno supports

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • XRP (the Ripple network’s native cryptocurrency)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • USD Coin (USDC)

Add Luno wallets

  1. Select Wallets in the menu
  2. Select Add a wallet
  3. Choose the crypto you’d like to add
  4. Select Create Wallet

How to send cryptocurrency from your Luno account?

Once you have cryptocurrency in your Luno wallet, you can easily send coins to other people. For increased security, the option to send cryptocurrency is disabled by default. Remember, crypto sends can’t be reversed and you won’t get your money back if you send to a scam or wrong address.

You can enable Send by selecting the button in the app or navigating to Profile>> Security>>enable it from Send cryptocurrency

There are three ways to send cryptocurrencies using Luno:

  1. Send to a wallet address
  2. Send to someone’s email address or mobile number (Bitcoin only)
  3. Scan a QR code

How long does it take for money to arrive in another account from a Luno Wallet?

Once you’ve enabled the option to send crypto, there’s a waiting period for it to be activated. This is an extra security measure that gives you time to undo your action and protects your money against fraudulent activity.

It usually takes 24 hours to activate, but in some of our supported countries, it takes up to 14 days. The date at which your send option will be activated is displayed to you in the app. You’ll also receive an email notification as soon as it’s activated for you.

How to send cryptocurrency from Luno to a wallet address, email address or mobile number

Once your crypto Send option is activated, you can easily send cryptocurrency from your Luno Bitcoin wallet to a wallet address, email address or mobile number.

Note:

You can only send Bitcoin to someone’s email address or mobile number (or their Bitcoin address). For all other crypto sends, you can only send to someone’s wallet address.

  1. Sign in to your Luno account
  2. Select Wallets from the menu
  3. Select the cryptocurrency wallet you want to send from
  4. Select Send
  5. Enter the wallet address, email or mobile number to which you want to send
  6. Enter the amount you want to send
  7. Enter a note if you want to and select Next
  8. Review the transaction, enter your PIN or two-factor authentication code and select Confirm

How to send cryptocurrency by scanning a QR Code

This is a convenient way to pay using your Luno wallet, without the need to enter the recipient’s wallet address. It’s ideal when sending from a mobile device using the Luno app.

  1. Sign in to your Luno account
  2. Select Wallets from the menu
  3. Select the cryptocurrency wallet you want to send to send from
  4. Select Send and then the  QR code icon top right
  5. Scan the recipient’s QR code
  6. Enter the amount you want to send
  7. Review the details and confirm the transaction

Luno fees and commissions

Maker fee0.00%
Taker fee0.10%
Withdrawal fee0.00035

Luno follows a maker/taker fee model for its exchange platform. This fee model promotes the liquidity at Luno exchange, as the people creating new orders on the exchange are rewarded by not having to pay any trading fees.

  1. Traders who place trades – in local fiat currency or Bitcoin – on the market are called Makers; they pay a 0% fee when their orders are matched.
  • Traders who match an existing order on the market are known as Takers and pay a 1% fee when their orders are matched.

Read more: Luno fee structure

Luno withdrawal fees

Luno only charges you the network fee for withdrawals. These are the fees that miners receive to confirm transactions. Only charging network fees puts Luno at a competitive advantage.

Cryptocurrency withdrawal fees are usually fixed on exchanges, regardless of the amount of cryptocurrency units withdrawn). The fee varies from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency. The global industry average withdrawal fee ranges from 0.0005 to 0.0006 BTC when you withdraw BTC.

Does Luno offer trading discounts of fees?

Yes, Luno offers trading fee discounts to its customers who have managed to reach a certain trading volume over the preceding 30 calendar days.

There are 8 different tiers and if you reach the highest tier, you only pay 0.03% in taker fees. However, the highest tier (Tier 8) requires you to trade more than USD 20.75 million during the preceding 30 day period.

Does Luno offer bonuses and rewards?

Yes, Luno does offer rewards for trading as well as rewards for referring family or friends to their site.

Refer a friendLuno’s referral programme rewards customers with Bitcoin for referring their friends and family to Luno, who then sign up and open a Luno account. Terms and conditions apply.  
LunoRewardsVIP members receive substantial rewards, including: monthly bonus of up to IDR 30 millioncashback for every instant buy/sell and maker/taker trades up to 0.11%free access to trading workshopsfree trading signal botfree weekly market analysis report by Arcane ResearchVIP support via WhatsApp  
Seasonal promotionsLuno periodically runs competitions, giveaways and other promotional campaigns, either run by the team or through a third-party.  

What leverage does Luno offer?

Luno does not offer leverage. It is a cryptocurrency exchange and not a broker. The role of a cryptocurrency exchanges like Luno is to:

  • offer an easy way for users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies
  • create a space for buyers and sellers on our exchange
  • offer a way for users to deposit and withdraw local currency

Who owns Luno?

Luno was acquired by Digital Currency Group (DCG) in October 2020. Founded by Barry Silbert in 2015, DCG is a venture capital firm that invests solely in the digital currency industry.

Digital Currency Group has three subsidiaries: CoinDesk, Genesis Trading (digital currency brokerage) and Grayscale Investments (digital asset management).

The New York-based company has invested in over 150 companies across 30 different countries. It’s investments cover multiple niches of the blockchain industry including security, network infrastructure, exchange, identity and gaming among others. DCG’s portfolio includes major players such as Abra, Coinbase, BitPay, Ripple, Kraken and Brave.

Who is the CEO of Luno?

Marcus Swanepoel is the co-founder and CEO at Luno.

Swanepoel obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Stellenbosch and his postgraduate at the University of Cape Town, both in accounting and finance. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Johannesburg before moving to London, where he joined Morgan Stanley’s Consumer Banking team.

Subsequently Swanepoel moved to 3i plc, one of the world’s largest private equity firms at the time; first as a member of the fundraising team and later in growth capital investing.

Marcus returned to his studies at INSEAD in Singapore and France, obtaining his MBA and CFA charter holder. He left the banking sector in 2013 to pursue his interests in technology development and founded Luno.

Where is Luno’s headquarters based?

London United Kingdom

The cryptocurrency exchange has regional offices in South Africa and Singapore.

Does Luno offer customer support?

Yes, Luno offers customer support via its Help Centre on the Luno app.

In fact, the Luno Help Centre has recently been upgraded and offers a mobile-friendly layout and better UX. You can get answers to your questions via the search feature as well as articles that answer FAQs.

Forex Trading Africa Disclaimer

Trading cryptocurrencies carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. You need to consider your investment objectives and appetite for risk before trading cryptocurrency through an exchange. There is a high likelihood that you could lose some or all of your initial investment so it is recommended you do not invest money in crypto trading that you cannot afford to lose.

Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices or other information contained on this article is provided as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. Forex Trading Africa will not accept liability for any loss of income or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.

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