Can be a bank
Bitcoin has won the right to operate as a bank thanks to a deal with French financial firms Aqoba and Credit Mutuel.
The exchange is one of many that swaps bitcoins, computer generated cash, for real world currencies. Thanks to the change of status it means that bitcoins has protection on balances held at the exchange. Bitcoins first appeared in 2009 and since then it has become a very widely used alternative payments system. One bitcoin is currently worth about £8 ($13).
Under European laws, the deal means Bitcoin-Central becomes a Payment Services Provider (PSP) that has an International Bank ID number. This puts it on an equal footing with other payment networks such as PayPal and WorldPay. As a PSP it will be able to issue debit cards, carry out real-time transfers to other banks and accept transfers.
The move could convince many organisations and businesses to start accepting bitcoins as payment.