bitcoinbank

First-ever Bitcoin bank opens for business

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The first Bitcoin bank is officially open for business.

As first reported by Betabeat’s Jessica Roy, Paymium’s Bitcoin exchange operation, Bitcoin-Central, has partnered with French bank Credit Mutuel to operate as a bank.

“The move will provide Bitcoin-Central with protections afforded to payment service providers in Europe, including insurance on Bitcoin accounts worth up to 100,000 Euros,” Roy wrote. “In addition to protections provided by the Garantie des dépôts (France’s FDIC), user funds will also be held at Credit Mutuel under their name instead of an online Bitcoin wallet, ostensibly providing accounts with more stringent security.”

Paymium CTO David Francois announced the news on a Bitcoin forum Thursday. Francois explained how the partnership will help further popularize the digital currency, which has often been used to hide illegal activity, and allow people to get a debit card that uses Bitcoin.

“Each account will in a few months get its very own IBAN number, users will be able to use it as any other bank account, have their salaries and pensions sent there and have them automatically converted to Bitcoin if they so wish,” Francois wrote. “Corporations will have an actual financial institution talking with them if they wish to start accepting Bitcoin and be safe from a regulatory point of view.”

News of the Bitcoin bank comes after a year of movements toward legitimacy.

In August, Charlie Shrem, cofounder of Bitcoin transfer service BitInstant, announced plans to create a debit card that functions in all the establishments that accept MasterCard. The debit cards will have your Bitcoin Address on the back and a QR code on the front so you can send coins directly to the card.

In early November, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, a long time fan of the digital currency, hinted that Bitcoins were being considered as a form of payment for Reddit gold in a comment made in the r/bitcoin subreddit. That news was followed by Wordpress.com, a free blogging service built on Wordpress’ open source software, stating that it will accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for features like blog upgrades and custom designs.

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