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Bitcoin Startup BitX Announces Rebrand As European Focus Emerges


Bitcoin exchange startup BitX has unveiled a new brand, as it shifts its focus toward expansion into the European market. Now known as Luno, the move marks the latest step from the startup as it transitions toward building market share worldwide.

Luno is a bitcoin exchange and wallet service, which was set up in 2013 to meet the growing demand for bitcoin transactions. Allowing consumers to interact with the digital currency through a user-friendly interface, it reduces the traditional complexities of handling digital currencies, as bitcoin becomes increasingly more mainstream.

Built around an app, the service aims to revolutionize the handling of bitcoin. But while other companies are retreating from bitcoin to reflect a broader focus on blockchain technology, Luno is rapidly heading in the other direction.

Marc Swanepoel, Luno’s CEO, said the rebrand reflected a growing commitment from the company to tackle the challenges and opportunities of bitcoin handling with a more consumer-friendly focus.

“I think some companies rebranded because they wanted to move into blockchain,” Swanepoel said. “We are totally the opposite: our website and products, we're very focused on bitcoin ... We'd like to say that we're digital currency agnostic in theory, but in practice, we can't see any digital currency compete with bitcoin. We're firm believers of bitcoin as a protocol.”

Alongside the rebrand, the company announced it has begun sandbox testing under the oversight of the Financial Conduct Authority, with a view to taking further steps into U.K. and European markets.

The sandbox testing phase will see the exchange focus on transfers from GBP to bitcoin, ahead of a wider rollout that could bring the service to the phones and tablets of users right across Europe.

The announcement comes at the turn of an important year for bitcoin, and for the blockchain more generally. As more companies, government, banks and research projects increasingly experiment with practical uses for blockchain technology, startups like Luno look set to remain at the forefront of this newly emerging market.