Luno, formerly BitX, is a cryptocurrency exchange known for its high fees on transactions and trading. Re-branded recently (in 2017), Luno started as BitX back in 2013. BitX had no regulation however Luno has acquired a FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) license, given in the UK. They are operating in London, and are slowly expanding their operations into Europe as well.
The online reviews of Luno show a mixed response. In this review we will try to separate the black from the white and focus on presenting facts about this cryptocurrency exchange.
BitX started in 2013 by Marcus Swanepoel who was the co-founder and CEO of the company. They raised a huge amount from venture capital firms led by Naspers, Digital Currency Group and later followed by Venturra in 2015. So far they have earned around $14 million in four rounds of funding. In 2017, when they found the need to change, they re-branded BitX to Luno.
They offer mobile applications for both iOS and Android, and also have API bots that are equipped with automatic trading features. Luno kicked off with a fresh approach and plenty of enthusiasm, but eventually the enthusiasm slowed, with users complaining frequently on the network. Luno is only a Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange, meaning you will not find any other cryptocurrencies on the platform. You can however, purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum by using government issued fiat currencies. Luno is fully operational in many countries including – UK, Nigeria, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa etc. In total they span over almost 40 countries.
They also offer wallet services to their users, who can utilize a Luno wallet to store both Bitcoin and Ethereum, but for security reasons, we always advise against storing your coins on exchange platforms and instead have them in a cold wallet offline. As Luno is fairly new in game, it has not been hacked so far, but that does not mean the website is completely secure or bulletproof, it just means it hasn’t been hit yet.
ADVANTAGES OF LUNO
Luno is not blessed with having the best online reviews from its users, but there still are many upsides and advantages that this website boasts. Some of them are –
- Luno has a dedicated mobile app, both for iOS and Android users. Many cryptocurrency exchanges do not have applications yet, some of the oldest exchanges operate only on web, so they are ahead of the game in this aspect.
- Luno Exchange has an innovative API for automatic trading.
- They have high security features, including 2FA (two factor authentication) for their users.
- The interface of their exchange and wallet, is both – easy to understand and user-friendly in nature. Newbies to the cryptocurrency market can get around it easily. There are no complex charts and graphs congesting the screen like many other trading websites.
- Unlike many exchanges that only accept their local fiat currencies, Luno has a multipurpose platform. It accepts a wide range of fiat currency, including EUR, ZAR, IDR, MYR and NGN.
- Luno has an instant buy/sell feature, which allows investors to get the price they intended to. However, there is a limit of minimum and maximum Bitcoins that you can buy. The limit varies according to the currency and payment method that you are using.
BENEFITS OF USING LUNO
- Luno has a strict way of verifying accounts, which ensures that each account is safe. They not only need to submit their government issued ID, but also take selfies with their IDs to prove the authenticity. Along with your ID, you are also required to send in a proof of address. The main reasons this is so strict is to adhere to anti-money laundering policies.
- Luno stores a part of the crypto-assets in deep-freeze storage (offline), meaning that the cryptocurrency is safe from online hacks or attacks. Only a small amount is kept in a hot-wallet, to maintain the liquidity.
- Registering for a new account on Luno takes a matter of seconds. The entire process is smooth and easy to follow. To get the account verified, a lot of time might be required, but to create a basic account is as simple as signing up on a social media platform.
- Luno is known for its simple interface design. The user-friendly interface makes it easy even for a first-timer to purchase cryptocurrency. The learning curve is very small and takes no time to get through.
DISADVANTAGES OF LUNO
Luno has its fair share of downsides too, and it gets scrutinized and criticized fairly regularly in online forums and social media. Let us have a look at the loopholes in Luno.com –
- The biggest downside is the high fees. Luno charges its users almost 1% in fees, which is 4 times more than the standard 0.25% charged by most exchanges like Bittrex, Binance etc. These high charges have lead people to criticize Luno on many public forums and give it a bad rating. So despite the high fees, some of the feedback online may be unjust.
- Another problem with Luno is that it only has Bitcoin and Ethereum for the time being. To buy any other cryptocurrency, you will have to create an account on another exchange that support the coins you want. Only supporting BTC and ETH does limit users. On the flip side of this however, is that this exchange could be seen in a similar way to localbitcoin, where people can use it to cash out of their positions quickly, ie – the instant transactions.
- Luno does not support mobile wallets like PayPal, Neteller etc. Therefore the only way users can buy Bitcoins is through bank transfers. Even Credit cards and debit cards are not accepted on the Luno exchange, again limiting the users.
UNDERLYING PROBLEMS WITH LUNO
- Users have an option to register at Luno using their social media account, which can be dangerous. Considering how unsafe Facebook and other social media accounts can be, and how easily they can be hacked, Luno should not allow users to link their cryptocurrency wallets with their social media. In our opinion exchanges should promote security before anything else and with this feature, it surely detracts from the security of the site.
- Luno also has a disadvantage in the countries it is available in, not as many as some of its competitors.
- The customer support team of Luno has a lot of room for improvement. Whenever a user files a complaint, they always redirect them towards the FAQ section. After that, if the user again files a complaint, a ticket is raised on the users behalf, which then takes days to come to fruition. The customer care certainly needs mre attention paid to it by the owners of Luno.
REACH AND REGULATION
Luno has no support in many countries because of compliance issues. Its reach is limited to some 40-45 countries, which may sound like a lot but it is limited compared to other exchanges. When it comes to regulation, it has certification from FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), which is a definite positive but that does not give it a universal accreditation to operate.
Users have the option to enable 2FA (two factor authentication) on their devices, and also has mobile applications both for Android and iOS.
Luno is a fairly new player in the world of cryptocurrencies and crypto-exchanges. It has stiff competition with exchanges like – Bittrex, Binance, Coinbase, GDAX, Kraken etc. When we look at its market positioning, we are comparing it to these competitors to give us an idea of user favourability.
Luno manages to pull a decent number of views regularly. So far, the number of views it has garnered in last three months is 12 million, which isn’t bad but when compared with GDAX (137.2 million) and Kraken (84.9 million) it still has some way to go to fully compete. A reason for the views being lower could be its limited geography reach (40 countries) and the fact that it only offers bitcoin and ethereum.
When we discuss traffic by countries (data taken from similarweb.com), Luno manages to get maximum views from South Africa (66%), which is a huge portion of its viewers. South Africa is followed by Malaysia (7.8%), Nigeria (7.2%), Indonesia (2.6%) and United States of America (2.2%).
Social media has great influence on how popular a platform is. Luno, one of the few online crypto-exchanges that allows users to sign-up and register using their social media accounts, does not perform well on social media analytics. As per data from similarweb.com, Luno only manages to pull 3.7% of traffic from social media. YouTube (39.5%) being the top player, followed by Facebook (32.3%), WhatsApp Web (9%), Quora (7.9%) and finally Twitter (4.1%). The most interesting name here is ‘Quora’, which is one of the most popular question-answer platforms on web.
SIGNING UP ON LUNO
Signing up on Luno for a new account is fairly easy. As we’ve mentioned you can even sign-up using Google or Facebook accounts, it is that simple! Registration typically takes a couple of minutes. You just need to provide a valid email ID, along with a strong password. The verification code will reach your email in seconds, simply input that into the field required. That’s all.
However, to verify your account to start trading on a bigger level, using larger volumes, you will need to get hard-verification done. For that, you need to submit government issued ID, along with your selfie ‘holding the same ID you submitted’. Not only this, you also need to submit your proof of address as a part of your verification documents.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES SUPPORTED BY LUNO
Luno only supports two cryptocurrencies, the two most popular and top of the market cap table – Bitcoin and Ethereum. It has no other cryptocurrency on-board. This is one of the major reasons why Luno reviews are not always positive on the web.
FEES STRUCTURE, DEPOSITS AND WITHDRAWALS
The Luno fee structure is one of the most debated topics online. On most of the cryptocurrency exchange-review forums and portals, Luno’s high fees is discussed. Luno charges almost 1% on both buy and sell orders, which is too high. Considering the fact that most of the big exchanges like – Bittrex, Binance and even Poloniex charge between 0.1% and 0.25% in fees.
HitBTC on the other hand rewards the buyers with 0.01% of rebates as well. Luno is the only one with fees this high fees and additional charges on different payment methods. If you are using PayU in Nigeria, you might be charged 1.5% of the deposit amount. Although deposits on Luno are generally free, third-parties will charge you if you choose to utilize their services. For withdrawal however, Luno charges fees according to the currency. If you are withdrawing EUR (Euro), you will have to pay 0.3 EUR as withdrawal.
For IDR the fees is 6500 IDR and for NGN you have to pay 200 NGN as withdrawal fees. This is not actually too bad or at least could be a lot worse. These high withdrawal fees and 1% charges on buying/selling crypto-currency have made people dislike Luno. Most investors prefer to move to exchanges that have lower fees, more options and crypto-assets available, as well as increased flexibility.
Customer care of Luno is regularly bashed on social media websites, online discussion forums and especially Reddit. They do answer a lot of queries in their FAQ section, but that alone is not enough. Often the FAQs will not answer the issue in hand, despite this the user will always be pointed to the FAQ section. They do not have any live-chat options, which leaves them only with a ‘ticketing-platform’, where users can raise tickets for their complaints. It takes days for Luno customer care executives to respond and resolve the issues. This ia a major reason why their customer support needs a lot of improvement.
Luno.comFormerly known as Bitx, Luno is a bitcoin exchange and wallet provider, they only offer bitcoin trading and ethereum trading. Launched in 2013, Luno’s reach is massive, currently serving traders in over 42 countries. It has a lot of similarities as Coinbase, however only sticking to bitcoin reduces its draw for traders however the fact that they cover so many countries is a selling point. For more analysis, read my in-depth review.
- User-friendly interfaceFast and easy account creationMobile appCons
- Only allows BTC tradingLimited features in Europe.High trading fees.No customer support.
Luno has a clean and eye-pleasing user interface, but when you are operating as a cryptocurrency exchange, moving around millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, you need a lot more than just a clean interface. They need to work on their support, and reduce the fees they charge users.
Moreover, if they can bring some more cryptocurrencies onto their platform, it would be great for the users who want to invest in ICOs, altcoins and other crypto-assets. They must also look into providing an option of credit card and debit card deposits to their users, this will increase their user-base for sure. With these changes implemented, Luno has a lot of scope to expand in future.