Bitcoin startup BitX has officially rebranded as Luno, a transition that finds the firm shifting focus to the European market.
For the startup, which was founded in 2013, CEO Marc Swanepoel said the new name isn't about shifting away from bitcoin. Rather, he says it's about creating a brand that's both easily digestible and that doesn't bring to mind the connotation that the firm is only an exchange service.
"I think some companies rebranded because they wanted to move into blockchain," he said. "We are totally the opposite: our website and products, we're very focused on bitcoin."
Swanepoel told CoinDesk:
"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."
The shift follows a number of smaller moves that could help the company continue to support its mission.
Luno also revealed today that it has been accepted into a government sandbox supervised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Swanepoel said the move is intended to serve as a "stepping stone" that will enable it to extend its bitcoin wallet, exchange and enterprise services into European markets.
Luno is now testing how its services can be used to transfer value between GBP and bitcoin within the sandbox, according to the CEO.
Swanepoel added that the service is also set to expand through a partnership with bitcoin processing startup Simplex, which will help Luno launch services in Canada and Europe soon.
The announcement comes at a time when many bitcoin startups are rebranding amid increased enterprise interest in the technology. For example, bitcoin exchange itBit has rebranded as Paxos and Latin American wallet service BitPagos changed its name to Ripio.
To date, Luno has raised more than $4m in funding.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Luno.
Images via Luno