Luno logo in monochromatic blue background

Digital Currency Group’s Luno exchange cuts off Singaporean users

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Luno, a Digital Currency Group-owned exchange founded in South Africa, is ceasing its operations in Singapore.

Luno announced this week that its services would no longer be available in Singapore from June 20. The exchange has been serving Singaporeans since November 2019, when it re-launched its services after securing banking partnerships. It launched in Singapore in 2016 but was forced to cease operations after failing to find a banking partner for its fiat operations.

The exit from Singapore will not impact the exchange’s services in neighboring Malaysia and across Asia.

“This decision was made as part of a regular evaluation of our global strategy and presence. This does not impact our operations in other regions across the world…[it] allows us to focus even more on providing customers with a great crypto experience in Malaysia, where we will continue to ensure Malaysians get secure and easy access,” the exchange said.

Users are advised to withdraw their assets by June 19. The exchange will automatically sell all digital assets held on the platform after this deadline at the prevailing market price for Singaporean dollars. The sale will incur a 0.75% charge. Luno will charge users a monthly dormant account fee for the time it holds their SGD.

The move comes just a year since Luno obtained in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). At the time, it claimed to be the first retail-focused global exchange to receive this approval.

However, a lot has changed since then, including the MAS’ stance toward digital assets. In the past year, many of the collapsed digital asset giants were based in or had a vast user base from Singapore.

One of the biggest casualties was Three Arrows Capital (3AC), the Singaporean hedge fund whose collapse brought down other industry giants. FTX’s collapse also greatly affected the country’s digital asset ambitions, as only South Korea, Japan, and Russia had more users. Temasek, the state-owned investment firm, had invested $275 million in the exchange as well.

This shakeup in the past year has made Singapore wary of digital assets. MAS has since then cracked down on retail investing in digital assets, which it described as “highly hazardous” last August. Ravi Menon, the MAS managing director, has also made clear the central bank’s stand is “yes to digital asset innovation, no to cryptocurrency speculation.”

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