September 14, 2021

Bitcoin, a valuable asset to differentiate one's investment portfolio

Interview with Christian Miccoli - Co-founder of Conio.

Conio, IAG portfolio, is the first fintech in Italy to develop a bitcoin wallet accessible and manageable through a mobile app. Founded in 2015, the fintech has experienced unprecedented growth: from March 2020 to May 2021, the number of active customers on the platform has grown by over 1000%, and today it has over 270,000 customers.

In this interview, we'll get to know this reality better thanks to co-founder Cristian Miccoli, a pioneer of online banking in Italy, who after his experience in McKinsey, where he promoted the first direct banking projects in Italy, went on to Rasbank, CEO of Ing Direct and since 2008 CEO of Che Banca!, to become its president a few years later.

What is Conio and how was it born?

Conio is the platform that makes Bitcoin easy and accessible to everyone. The idea was born precisely from this need: in 2015, even more than today, it was difficult for a user to approach the world of crypto and we wanted to be in this sense a facilitator.

The start-up was founded in San Francisco and has also grown thanks to big Italian financial realities, such as Poste Italiane, Banca Sella and Banca Generali, who believed in the project by funding it directly. 

You have decided to develop an innovative business in Italy on a controversial but growing trend (crypto), what are the difficulties and opportunities of our market for these initiatives?

Certainly, the crypto sector is still in development, especially in Italy, and this means that there are barriers to information and trust on the part of the end user. Moreover, the regulatory framework is not yet clear from several points of view, first the taxation. But the fact that this market is young also represents an opportunity, especially for us who were among the first Italian companies to become part of it. We have, in fact, the burden and the honour of educating the end user and the institutions, as well as the possibility to expand our business further, in a fast-growing sector.

What are the strengths of your application?

The first strength of our app is its ease of use. In fact, the design of our app earned us a patent in the US and an award in San Francisco in 2018. Then of course security, a focal point when it comes to fintech. Our multi-sign custody system, in addition to being a guarantee of security when accessing the wallet and during transactions, allows customers to recover their Bitcoins in any condition: even if they lose their key or if Conio for any reason should cease to exist.

What is your relationship with traditional financial institutions?

Financial institutions are increasingly recognizing the importance of cryptocurrencies, and digital assets in general, to themselves and their customers. Conio, through its B2B division, is working alongside these institutions to provide them with a secure and easy-to-implement technology that will allow them to quickly enter this market. As I said some realities have believed so strongly in this sector that they have invested in Conio's capital stock.

What are your plans and what do you think will be the future of bitcoin?

Conio is first a technology company, so we are constantly working on research and development of new technologies related to the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We want to grow in number of customers but especially in terms of services offered to them and to our B2B partners.

I believe that Bitcoin will continue to be, in the short term, an excellent store of value and a valid asset with which to differentiate one's investment portfolio. I don't exclude, then, that the increasing diffusion and participation of large companies and financial institutions will allow Bitcoin to become a real means of payment.