Naspers-backed crypto platform Luno starts African hiring spree

Alpine Mining co-founder and CEO Ludovic Thomas works at company's main cryptocurrency mining site in Gondo. (Fabrice Coffrini, AFP)
Alpine Mining co-founder and CEO Ludovic Thomas works at company's main cryptocurrency mining site in Gondo. (Fabrice Coffrini, AFP)

Naspers-backed [JSE:NPN] cryptocurrency platform Luno is planning to increase its workforce by almost 60% to expand its South African headquarters as Bitcoin once again breaches $10 000.

The Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange will hire 150 new employees by the end of the year to boost its software-development team, taking its headcount to more than 400 across seven offices in Africa, Europe and Asia, according to Luno’s general manager for Africa, Marius Reitz. The company is seeking business clients as well as individual investors and will add more cryptocurrencies to its portfolio.

Most of the new hires will be based in Johannesburg, Reitz said in an interview in the city, with some being made responsible for security and compliance. The main new Asian market is Malaysia.

Luno was founded six years ago and now has 2.7 million users. The closely held company is one of dozens of cryptocurrency platforms that have sprung up around the world in response to soaring demand for the likes of Bitcoin, which this month hit the highest level since March 2018. Meanwhile the South African rand is among the world’s most volatile currencies and has weakened more than 40% since 2013.

Luno attracted $3m  (R43m) in funding in 2015, led by Cape Town-based technology investor Naspers, Africa’s biggest company. The exchange will consider new rounds of investment and strategic partnerships to further its expansion plans, Reitz said.

Naspers, Balderton Capital UK LLP, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings Ltd., Venturra Capital and Digital Currency Group all own minority stakes of less than 20%.

Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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