DCG Crypto Exchange Luno Leaves Singapore After 35% Job Cuts

Luno has asked Singapore-based users to withdraw their crypto and fiat currencies from the platform before June 19

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Najmi Arif/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks

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Digital Currency Group’s crypto exchange Luno is winding down services in Singapore, one of its key markets.

The move is part of a regular reassessment of its “global strategy and presence,” Luno said in a blog post. The London-headquartered firm informed Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority that it no longer wants a permit to operate in the city-state.

“… It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly. It’s always been our mission to put the power of crypto in everyone’s hands. This is still true,” Luno said.

“As a key financial hub in the region and an innovator in financial technology, Singapore has the potential to lead the way in using crypto to build a fair and robust financial system. We can’t wait to watch its journey and are proud to have been a part of it.”

Luno was granted in-principle approval from financial regulators in Singapore in April 2022, allowing it to offer crypto-related services to local investors. “Our operations in other regions are not impacted by this decision,” Luno said.

The firm advised customers to withdraw their cryptocurrency and Singapore dollars from Luno wallets by June 19.

Several crypto companies including Coinbase and Binance have either applied or have signaled intent to apply for licenses to operate in Singapore, a region initially considered crypto-friendly. 

But Singapore has taken a tougher stance on the digital asset industry after a series of high-profile crypto failures associated with the city-state. Its financial watchdog also mulled limiting retail participation in crypto and placing rules on the use of leverage.

In contrast, Hong Kong is gearing up to become a digital asset hub despite mainland China’s prohibitive attitude to the industry.

Luno, founded in 2013, has previously counted regional Singapore and Cape Town as regional hubs. While it’s now leaving Singapore, the exchange is expanding services in South Africa.

Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG) acquired Luno in Sept. 2020. DCG, which also owns Grayscale, CoinDesk, Genesis and Foundry, participated in Luno’s 2014 seed round.

DCG was at the center of a crisis earlier this year when crypto broker Genesis froze customer withdrawals, filing for bankruptcy in January. The crypto conglomerate recently halted dividend payments to preserve liquidity and reported an annual loss of $1.1 billion last year.

Luno downsized in the same month, reducing the size of its overall team by 35% due to “an incredibly tough year for the broader tech industry” and the crypto market.


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