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DCG's Luno Exits Singapore, Withdraws License Application

Luno is exiting Singapore and withdrawing its license despite being granted in-principle approval last year.

Image: Andrew Teoh, Unsplash / Blockhead

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Crypto platform Luno is exiting Singapore in two months' time and is withdrawing its license application despite holding in-principle approval (IPA).

In a website post titled "Thank you, Singapore," Luno stated that from 20 June 2023, its services will no longer be available in the city-state.

Luno said the decision came from a "regular evaluation of our global strategy and presence" and still described Singapore as having "the potential to lead the way in using crypto to build a fair and robust financial system."

"We can’t wait to watch its journey and are proud to have been a part of it," the exchange said of the city-state.

Local customers will need to withdraw all their cryptocurrency by 19 June 2023, as their accounts will be closed on 20 June 2023, the announcement said.

Any remaining funds will be sold at the prevailing market price to the Singapore dollar, with Luno's existing instant transaction fees of 0.75% still applying.

License no more

According to Luno's statement, the exchange will be withdrawing its application for a crypto license with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

"As a result of this decision, we have also informed the Monetary Authority of Singapore of our intention to withdraw our license application," Luno stated.

In April 2022, Luno was granted an IPA from MAS under the Payment Services Act (PSA), to provide Digital Payment Token (DPT) services in Singapore.

"This milestone marks Luno as the first global retail-focused cryptocurrency platform in Singapore to obtain IPA from the MAS, which will enable the accessibility of cryptocurrency in a well-regulated environment that safeguards the interest of consumers," Luno said at the time.

Malaysia still safe

Although Luno is withdrawing from Singapore, the exchange reassured its customers that the decision will not affect the Little Red Dot's neighbour Malaysia.

"This decision does not impact our Malaysian operation and our services remain fully available in Malaysia," Luno said in a separate update.

"This decision 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."

In January, Luno announced that Malaysia customer funds are safe despite widespread layoffs impacting the exchange.

"Luno’s firm commitment to maintaining a secure platform and meeting its regulatory and financial crime compliance obligations remains," Luno country manager Aaron Tang told Blockhead at the time.

Read more: Luno Malaysia Says Customer Funds Safe

"We are also confident that the changes announced will not have any impact on the services received by Luno Malaysia’s customers."

DCG woes

Luno was acquired by the Digital Currency Group (DCG) in 2020. DCG itself has been facing turmoil since the collapse of FTX.

Most recently, Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss demanded the removal of DCG CEO Barry Silbert, accusing him of “bad faith stalling tactics" and claiming that DCG owes Gemini a total of US$1.675 billion.

Read more: Gemini's Winklevoss Demands Sacking of DCG Chief

Genesis, another company under the DCG umbrella and Gemini's lending partner revealed that it was exposed to FTX by at least US$175 million, via its derivatives trading business.

Amid DCG's turmoil, Luno announced a slew of layoffs in January 2023, cutting its global headcount by 35%.

Read more: DCG's Luno Slashes Headcount as Liquidity Crisis Deepens

In an internal memo shared with employees, Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel said that it had been an "incredibly tough year" for the crypto markets which has affected Luno's "overall growth and revenue numbers."

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