Crypto exchange owned by embattled conglomerate Digital Currency Group loses top global exec

DCG, Luno’s parent company, has been grappling with the ongoing fallout from last year’s plunge in token prices and the collapse of FTX.
Rafael Henrique | Sopa Images | Lightrocket via Getty Images

Vijay Ayyar, a senior executive at cryptocurrency exchange Luno and one of its earliest employees, is leaving the company.

Ayyar, who is Luno’s vice president of corporate development and international, resigned from the firm after seven years working there, he told CNBC Tuesday.

It comes after the company, which is owned by Digital Currency Group, announced the closure of its operation in Singapore, where Ayyar is based.

Ayyar said the move was not related to Luno’s decision to exit Singapore, however, and that he quit to join another company in the crypto and Web3 space. Ayyar did not disclose which company he is joining next.

“I’ll be leaving Luno after 7 years at the company,” Ayyar said in a WhatsApp message. “Given the time I’d spent at Luno, just seemed like it was time for another challenge.”

A Luno spokesperson confirmed Ayyar’s decision Tuesday.

“Vijay will be leaving after seven years,” the spokesperson said. “His role is a global one and isn’t tied to anything related to our Singapore closure. He’s leaving to pursue a new opportunity in the industry.”

Ayyar held a number of roles at Luno over the years. He was most recently tasked with building out the firm’s business-facing services, pitching Luno accounts to funds, fintech companies, and businesses wanting to use crypto.

Before that, Ayyar led Luno’s partnership efforts globally and helped the exchange launch in over 40 markets across Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the U.S.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities at Luno, Ayyar also serves as something of a crypto market guru, providing frequent commentary to the press on moves in markets.

His departure comes as Luno undergoes a major restructuring effort to contend with the lull in crypto markets. Luno laid off 35% of its workforce in January, joining a host of other crypto exchanges that have cut jobs.

The company also lost its co-founder and chief technology officer, Timothy Stranex, in December.

In March, Luno announced its CEO Marcus Swanepoel was stepping down and would be replaced with Chief Operating Officer James Lanigan.

The company hired Canaccord Genuity, the investment bank, to court outside investors for the first time since it was taken over by DCG in 2020.

DCG, Luno’s parent company, has been grappling with the ongoing fallout from last year’s plunge in token prices, and the collapse of FTX, the controversial exchange whose failure in November sparked a series of bankruptcies in the industry.

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