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Luno co-founder: Crypto is the antidote to Africa's currency woes

Luno's Marcus Swanepoel says crypto-currencies will solve issues associated with existing fiat currencies such as exorbitant interest rates and high levels of fraud.
Read time 1min 40sec
Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder and CEO of Luno.
Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder and CEO of Luno.

Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder and CEO of global crypto company Luno, says crypto-currencies will be an important part of Africa’s future, solving many of the issues associated with existing fiat currencies.

He was speaking at AfricaCom’s AfriTech Centre Stage today in Cape Town.

He had a clear message for the conference audience: Crypto-currencies are alive and well, and can help solve the fundamental problems of the existing monetary system, which in many parts of Africa is not fit for purpose.

“We tend to hear about the perceived issues with crypto, and although these stories make headlines, they also make us forget the problems which have beset the traditional financial systems in Africa," said Swanepoel.

“Africans using traditional currencies are often faced with high transaction costs, inflation and currency devaluation, exorbitant interest rates and high levels of fraud.”

In addition, accessing the existing system is still extremely restrictive, despite the fact that many have a mobile phone and conduct other elements of their lives online, he said.

This has led to a lack of financial inclusion and huge unbanked deposits, hampering economic growth and financial freedom throughout the continent.

Crypto will change lives

Luno has over three million wallets in 40 countries worldwide.

Swanepoel said crypto-currencies have only been in general circulation for five to 10 years, so the concept is still nascent.

“It will take time for the full benefits of crypto-currencies to be seen, but through forward thinking and proactive regulation, countries across Africa can set themselves up for future growth and success.

“Markets which are prepared to see the potential and work with the crypto-currency industry will very quickly move ahead of jurisdictions which refuse to change. Crypto-currencies will be life-changing for many millions of people in Africa,” he concluded.

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