Luno’s Maya Kumar: ‘Blockchain at its core is about integrity’

“If the chain breaks, there goes the integrity,” opines Luno’s Maya Kumar on a whistlestop visit to Siliconrepublic.com.

“Blockchain is at its core about integrity,” she says evenly.

‘Money has always evolved, from bartering to gold, to cash backed by gold, to centrally issued currency. Today, the way people think and use money is changing fast’
– MAYA KUMAR

She is talking about the current cryptocurrency revolution but crucially the blockchain ledger technology underpinning it, which has a myriad of applications beyond money.

Learning valuable lessons about cryptocurrency

To the frustration of many who see blockchain for more than just the cryptocurrency aspect, the glamour and spills associated with currencies such as bitcoin still steal the limelight.

This is no bad thing because valuable lessons about fluctuations and information security are being gleaned all the time – and if anything is going to arrest anyone’s attention, it is money.

Luno is a digital currency exchange and wallet that allows users to buy, sell and store digital currencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum safely and securely.

The company is currently planning to expand into Ireland, and newly appointed country head, Maya Kumar, will lead the charge.

She has a background in European politics, and global finance and asset management. With a presence in more than 40 countries and a team of more than 100 team members, Luno plans to grow staff further as part of its expansion strategy in Ireland, which Kumar will oversee.

Luno was recently acknowledged as the second-fastest-growing tech company in Europe at the prestigious TNW Awards. Previous winners have included Deliveroo, which has fast become a household name in Ireland and the UK.

Luno head of Ireland Maya Kumar. Image: Luno

Luno head of Ireland, Maya Kumar. Image: Luno

Where does Dublin sit in Luno’s plans for expansion?

Ireland is a key market for us in Europe. It is a world-renowned tech hub with a thriving ecosystem and great talent pool, and therefore would be a place we would be planning to have a presence, namely in Dublin. As the head of Ireland, I am keen to build an engaged community here who are able to speak to us on the ground, developing an open channel of communication between Luno and the Irish population. We want to hear the views of users or prospective users and take on real feedback that can better localise the product for Irish people.

What role does Luno play in bringing clarity to the cryptocurrency and blockchain space?

Luno is a digital currency wallet and exchange that makes it safe and easy to buy, sell, store, use and learn about digital currencies. We therefore bring clarity by making it very easy to learn about digital currencies so people better understand before they buy via our platform, and also by making it very accessible for anyone to buy bitcoin or Ethereum, no matter how technical or financially savvy.

People adopting digital currencies drives network effects; the more people easily buying and deriving value from bitcoin, for example, the more other people in a community will also buy and adopt as it is being viewed across a population, by consensus, as a valuable asset or currency.

The wider the adoption, the more people can then use digital currencies as a medium of exchanging value for goods and services.

What are your thoughts on the future of money? Does blockchain have the potential to make even cash more tangible?

Money has always evolved, from bartering to gold, to cash backed by gold, to centrally issued currency. Today, the way people think and use money is changing fast. The existing financial system was built for a non-digital age, ignoring the needs of the modern individual, and is quickly becoming redundant.

Like communication evolving from landlines to mobile phones, or post to email, we now have a technology – decentralised digital currency (ie controlled by no central authority) – that enables money to catch up with other information revolutions.

Digital currencies are enabling us to reimagine the financial system, leveraging efficient technology to upgrade the world to something better: money that is cheaper, faster and safer; private yet transparent; interoperable and programmable; and with open and equal access for everyone.

Luno is making it safe and easy to upgrade people to this new financial system and we believe currencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum (not necessarily blockchain technology in isolation) is allowing money to catch up with other technology evolutions.

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