Crypto-currency platform Luno has expanded to the Italian market.
Having already successfully launched in Europe at the end of 2017, the Naspers-backed Luno says it is continuing its international expansion.
With over 2.5 million customers (wallets), across 40 countries, the official launch in Italy comes at a time when the country's appetite for crypto-currency is growing.
Luno (formerly BitX) is a Bitcoin company headquartered in London, with operations in SA, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, the UK and 35 other European countries.
The company was founded in 2013 and the exchange was set up by Timothy Stranex and CEO Marcus Swanepoel, a former investment banker.
Stranex is a BSc graduate from the University of Cape Town, who began his career as a software engineer at Google in Switzerland. He worked on Google Maps during his four years at the company, while also completing an MSc in theoretical physics from the University of Zurich.
A South African company was one of the earliest clients. The company established its operations in Cape Town to accommodate the client, and quickly grew from there. Luno and PayFast facilitated one of the first crypto-currency integrations into a payment processor in the world.
Research recently conducted by Luno found that over one in 10 Italians (14%) own a crypto-currency and over-two fifths (42%) are interested in buying the digital currency.
With Bitcoin holding 73% of the market in Italy, Ethereum (28%) and Ripple with 21%, Italian millennials are most familiar with the digital currency sphere, says Luno.
It adds that almost two-thirds (62%) of the age-group (18-34) say they are acquainted with crypto-currency, in particular with Dash, which proved to be the most popular among 18-24s.
To continue highlighting the importance of future crypto use within the financial landscape, Luno has partnered with Cointelegraph Italia and will host lectures in more than 15 universities across all regions of the country.
The tour will travel across all regions of the country, including Roma Luiss, Roma Sapienza and Bocconi. The lectures are set to address a need for more information on crypto-currency, something nearly a third (28%) of Italians are looking for, the company says.
Maria Woncisz, country manager of Italy at Luno, says: "With Italy boasting a healthy appetite for crypto-currency and the desire to learn more about the digital currency landscape, launching in Italy was the natural next step as part of our global expansion."
The company has raised over $13 million in funding since launch in 2013 and is backed by global tech giant, Naspers Group, which led Luno's Series A round, and Balderton Capital, which led the Series B round, among others.