The fourth annual No Cash Day, a digital payment awareness initiative started by Italian lobbying group Cashless Way, took place in Rome on 27th June, with this year's event placing a special emphasis on bitcoin and its related technologies.
No Cash Day found Cashless Way organising the second of two discussions on bitcoin that took place in Italy's House of Parliament this June, with the most recent including notable community members such as Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley and Italian parliament member Sergio Boccadutri, who also served as the event's promoter.
Boccadutri has been increasingly active in the bitcoin space, even seeking to regulate bitcoin under existing Italian law earlier this year.
At the event, Boccadutri discussed how Italy is falling victim to a growing "epayment divide", citing statistics that suggest 86% of payments in Italy are still conducted in cash. By comparison, he said consumers in the UK and France conduct only 45% and 44% of payments with fiat currency, respectively.
Due to bitcoin's potential to help bridge this gap, Boccadutri used the event to call for parlimanet to conduct a public fact-finding survey about bitcoin and the companies in its ecosystem.
However, Boccadutri was far from the only notable speaker.
Consult Hyperion's Dave Birch spoke at the event, using his talk to address how digital currencies represent a "tectonic shift" in how payments will be delivered.
Alberto Naef, head of global marketing at major European bank Unicredit Group, and Piero Crivellaro, vice president of public policy in southern Europe for MasterCard, were also on hand to address the crowd.
Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Robocoin was there, too, to celebrate what it called the launch of the country's "first bitcoin ATM", located at Luiss EnLabs, a leading Italian incubator housed inside Termini Station. Robocoin does not consider other competing one-way bitcoin ATM offerings as bitcoin ATMs, claiming the units lack the characteristic functionalities of traditional ATMs.
Following the launch, a spokesperson for Robocoin told CoinDesk that Kelley "extolled bitcoin's virtues" at parliament, while outlining the anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) capabilities of the company's technology.
For an up-close look at the first meeting between Italian lawmakers and members of the local bitcoin community, view our full coverage.
Images courtesy of Cashless Way and Robocoin