About me

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Hmn, so you really want to find out more about me? Weird, but I suppose an ‘About me’ page is just the place for that…

World map

I was born and raised in small-town in South Africa — a life I look back to with immense pride and joy and one I am in no hurry to return to. After high school, I got a degree in Marketing and Business Management at the University of Pretoria.

The next few years I got my first taste of intense traveling: backpacking around Europe, hitch-hiking and riding chicken buses up the east African coast and eventually, I ended up in Asia, where I called Taiwan home for a few years. There, I studied Chinese, taught English and had the opportunity to extensively travel the region.

I spent a subsequent year as a Marketing Assistant at The Smithsonian Associates in Washington D.C., and another two years as the Marketing Manager of a Chinese-Canadian design firm in Chengdu, China.

I spent the next seven years in the wonderful city of Cape Town. I headed to the Mother City, without clear plans; maybe do some networking and research, maybe complete an MBA at UCT, or maybe just drop anchor for a few months before moving on, who knows? After a week of networking over Twitter, coffees and beer (and after the third beer with the person who became my next employer), I decided to pursue career opportunities in my native South Africa instead.

It was a blast.

First, I held the position of Head of Marketing at the fast-growing online payments startup called PayFast for nearly four years. I joined as the fourth employee and oversaw an incredible period of growth (at last count they employed over 70). I’ve always been very passionate about finance, payments and technology. In 2013 I got involved in Bitcoin in my personal, curious capacity and in 2015 I joined a pioneering Bitcoin and cryptocurrency company: Luno (formerly known as BitX).

I was one of the first handful of employees at the firm and in a few short and crazy years, we grew to a staff of hundreds with offices and operations on multiple continents. We were the first (and still largest) Bitcoin provider in Africa and we’re leading the market in many, many other countries. I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands dirty, build great things, travel and help grow our footprint across the world, including Great Britain, Singapore, Nigeria, Malaysia and Indonesia (where I spent two months in Jakarta to help scale our operations there).

I kept my life and mind occupied with multiple side projects and experiments, mostly related to finance, Bitcoin, charitable causes, and my favourite “free three”: mountains, ocean and the sun. I’m obsessed with the modern-day struggle of centralisation of power, (lack of) digital privacy, technology, music, travel, politics, long-distance running and home-brewed beer (in no particular order).

In 2018 I said goodbye to South Africa again. I’m currently spending two (or three) years to travel around the world, do research, write, work on side projects, and scout out a new place to call home. (Update: it’s probably going to be Mexico City).

You can follow me on Twitter @werneravr, but since I’m enjoying rewirement, I’m taking a break from social media, too, so rather just send me a message.

About me

Werner van Rooyen

Formerly Business Development and Marketing at the fast-moving Bitcoin Exchange, Luno (South Africa, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Europe). Currently travelling and doing research on a round-the-world trip.