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Crypto Analysis:::2022-02-04T17:03:24

Crypto companies from South Africa target the US

Africa's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Luno, is looking to gain a foothold in the U.S. legal field to try to expand its client base with one of the world's largest digital asset investor groups.

Owned by conglomerate Digital Currency Group Inc., the Luno exchange is evaluating regulatory regimes in all American states to ensure its implementation during 2022, said Marius Reitz, the company's general manager for Africa.

Crypto companies from South Africa target the US

"It is more complex than launching in an individual market because of the different states and different regulations within each of these states, so there's lots of moving parts," Reitz said. "But it is a company focus for us for 2022."

A number of fast-growing cryptocurrency exchange brands such as FTX and Binance are also entering the U.S. market. Many of them cooperate as much as possible with legislators, create insurance funds for their clients, trying to legitimize the sector. According to CB Insights, the world's largest economy hosts more than half of the world's crypto unicorns (A unicorn is a privately held startup that has reached a valuation of at least $1 billion).

A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that about 16% of Americans have invested, traded or used cryptocurrencies.

Digital Currency Group was the first investor in Luno and later fully acquired it in 2020. Just a year later, the company reached a $10 billion valuation, also thanks to the raising of about $700 million in a deal led by SoftBank Group Corp.

Luno's other early supporters included Cape Town technology investor Naspers Ltd. is the largest listed company in Africa.

Luno, founded in 2013, has 9 million users so far, spanning Asia to Africa. The exchange currently offers trading in tokens including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, and may soon add new coins selected from the top 10 most liquid cryptocurrencies in the world, Reitz claims.

"A lot of the operation time goes into security and custody," he said.

Until 2021, the spread of cryptocurrencies in Africa was concentrated in Nigeria and South Africa, where almost a fifth of the population owns some form of digital assets. This compares with the global average of just over 10% (according to recent Finbold data). Luno has also expanded into East Africa, Reitz said. So, it already has users in Uganda.

South Africa is waiting for the green light

Reitz also said that the entire industry, including Luno, is waiting for new rules in the crypto market, which, according to him, are "inevitable" and should help protect consumer rights. For example, the changes should allow platforms, including Luno, to attract institutional investors that are currently out of the market.

Rules may also make it possible to list more complex products. Reitz said that in a year or two, he expects offerings such as cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (crypto-ETFs), which allow investors to hold a basket of coins without having to buy them.

South African stock exchange operator JSE Ltd. previously rejected attempts to list ETFs, citing the lack of a regulatory framework in the country, but the company expects to expand legislation in this area.

"We have got all these asset managers sitting on the sidelines wanting to launch their own crypto products, but they're not able to do so," Reitz said. "As soon as we see regulation, you'll see a flurry of crypto products being offered to investors in South Africa."

On Friday, February 4, bitcoin is rising despite the fact that the S&P 500 is expected to go down a bit amid strong employment data.

Analyst InstaForex
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