Bitcoin, the popular virtual currency, has gained a bank-like status in France, which allows it to facilitate more transfers and issue debit cards.
The online currency Bitcoin moved one step closer to the real world on Dec. 7 by becoming a registered payment services provider (PSP) in Europe. In doing so, it joins the ranks of other online payment services like PayPal and Worldpay.
Through a deal with Credit Mutuel Bank and the investment firm Aqoba in France, Bitcoin-Central now has an international bank ID number, meaning it can send and receive transfers directly with other banks, as well as issue debit cards.
"The more we see governments and banks being willing to deal with Bitcoin, the more comfortable a lot of organisations are going to be making the step forward themselves." Vitalik Buterin, editor of Bitcoin Magazine
Bitcoin, a digital currency made infamous for its use in underground websites like The Silk Road, has recently gained acceptance by mainstream websites. The currency can be swapped for U.S. dollars at exchange houses like Mt. Gox.
Bitcoin briefly surpassed the value of gold on Nov. 29, with the value of a single bitcoin reaching $1,242 to a single ounce of gold's $1,241.98. Bitcoin's value hovered around $1,000 during the first week of December 2013 before dropping to just under $900 upon news that Chinese company Baidu would no longer accept Bitcoin payments.
"There's nothing wrong with people freely exchanging value, we don't hurt anybody, we're not forcing anyone to use Bitcoin, we simply want to see our dream and the future of money become a reality." Bitcoin staffer under the alias "davout"
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