Two month back the founder of BitInstant gave an approximate timeline for the launch of BitCoin Debit card, but the European Bitcoin exchange has beat it to the punch.
Paymium, the company that operates the Bitcoin-Central exchange, has been licensed as a payments services provider through a partnership with French financial institutions Aqoba and Credit Mutuel Arkéa.
This means that Bitcoin-Central exchange can operate as a bank albeit without being able to issue debt money, Paymium chief technical officer David Francois said in a post on the Bitcoin Talk forum.
According to Bitcoin-Central, it’s the first exchange of the digital currency to be licensed to operate as a bank and function within the framework of European regulations. Customers will now have funds held under their name — rather than that of the exchange — at Credit Mutuel and insured by the Garantie des dépôts, the French analog of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Soon, users of the service will be able to order debit cards that can use Bitcoins and Euros for purchases and cash withdrawals.
Bitcoin is described as an open-source digital currency without a central authority that owns or controls it.
It was created by an unknown person using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 and also has physical coins and notes.
Payments are made to Bitcoin addresses and fees for transactions are optional and the currency also has inflation-control built into it.
Abbreviated as BTC, the currency is accepted by online traders of services and products, such as Bitcoinstore and blogging provider WordPress recently announced in November its customers could pay in Bitcoins for upgrades.