One of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, Bitstamp, has been awarded a licence to operate as a fully regulated payment institution in Luxembourg.
Bitstamp boasted it made it the first fully licensed bitcoin exchange in Europe, amid hopes it will increase the exchanges legitimacy and boost trading volumes.
The licence comes into effect on 1 July after a two-year application process that ran tests on Bitstamp’s security and customer protection systems.
“We have put a lot of time and resources into the regulatory process with the goal of ensuring customers feel more confident in using Bitstamp’s exchange across the European Union,” said Nejc Kodric, co-founder and chief executive of Bitstamp.
News of Bitstamp’s licence coincided with the launch of bitcoin-to-euro trading on the exchange. Bitstamp is currently the world’s fourth-largest bitcoin exchange by bitcoin-to-dollar trade volume.
The exchange drew headlines in early 2015, when it lost $5m (£3.4m) worth of bitcoin in a suspected cyber attack.
Bitcoin companies have been working to improve their regulatory credentials. Earlier this month blockchain based Circle UK became an electronic money institution registered under the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
The price of bitcoin, which is notoriously volatile, reached a four-month high this month, trading on Bitstamp last night at $466 per bitcoin.