The Big Interview

Luno’s Maya Kumar: Regulation is the invisible foundation of innovation

Luno is excited to see the UK taking such a nuanced approach to regulation, she says

Coin Rivet: Tell us about yourself and Luno.

Maya Kumar: I graduated with a BA Hons in Political Science from the University of Nottingham, before going to law school in London and earning a LLB Hons. I’ve worked at the Houses of Parliament and International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, then moved into Finance and Asset Management, working in New York, London and Dublin.

Before joining Luno to manage the UK and Ireland, I founded and grew my own tech startup in the on demand consumer space. I am a cryptocurrency enthusiast and am ready to empower customers and build a more inclusive financial system.

Luno is a leading global cryptocurrency company on a mission to upgrade the world to a better financial system, co-founded by CEO Marcus Swanepoel and CTO Timothy Stranex in 2013. Headquartered in London and operating from three global hubs in South Africa, UK and Singapore, Luno boasts a growing international team of over 250 employees.

With two million customers (wallets) spanning 40 countries, its products and services make it safe and easy for people and businesses to buy, sell, store and learn about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Etherium.

Bubbles happen in many industries, including regulated markets like real estate or stocks. Drops in cryptocurrency prices are often pointed to as a sign that they are a bubble that has now burst. However, price drops have happened since the early days of Bitcoin, but they are more visible now that the price is higher

Coin Rivet: The UK Treasury Committee has labelled Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a “Wild West industry” and called for regulations in order to protect investors. What’s your take on their report?

MK: Regulation is the invisible foundation of innovation. At Luno, we’ve been pro-regulation from day one. Drawing from their experience working with banks and companies like Google, the Luno founders chose to self-regulate. Compliance is built into every part of the platform, from sign-up to spending. So we’re excited to see the UK taking such a nuanced approach to regulation.

The Treasury Committee’s work in collaboration with the FCA and BoE marks noteworthy progress in governance of the industry. Keeping in the forefront, the desire to drive innovation, increase benefits to society, protect against risks and set up a healthy ecosystem for the new technology to thrive sustainably.

We welcome future regulation in the industry and believe it can have a very positive impact. Regulation ultimately brings clarity to businesses and consumers. It helps keep out fraudsters, charlatans and other operators with low concern (or capabilities) to keep customer information and money safe.

Coin Rivet: There are some in the crypto space who would argue that regulations are the establishment’s (banks, governments etc) way of taking control of a sector they currently have no influence over. Do you have any sympathy with this point of view?

MK: Rather than looking at it from a control point of view, at Luno we actively work with a number of banks and financial regulators across multiple jurisdictions to drive regulation in the cryptocurrency field.

Given that Luno was founded by working with bank compliance teams and regulators implementing the world’s first crypto system for a major bank, we understand the importance of this point of view. We believe that together, with banks and regulators, we can all learn from one another and achieve more when we work together and communicate openly.

Coin Rivet: The call for regulation aside, what’s your take on the current state of the cryptocurrencies space? Has the bubble burst?

MK: Bubbles happen in many industries, including regulated markets like real estate or stocks. Drops in cryptocurrency prices are often pointed to as a sign that they are a bubble that has now burst. However, price drops have happened since the early days of Bitcoin, but they are more visible now that the price is higher.

People often see reports of price dips or ‘breaking of bubbles’ as meaning ‘Bitcoin is dead’, this has happened over 200 times now (recorded here) and suggests that these aren’t issues with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, these are issues with irrational market behaviour.

Crypto exchanges “crying out for regulation”, Mistertango

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