First Bitcoin exchange set to be launched in US

Virtual currency Bitcoin is getting its first licenced US exchange.

A total of $106 million (£70 million) in funding has been approved by the New York Stock Exchange, as well as other banks and venture capital firms, for a start-up set to launch the first licensed US bitcoin exchange.

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Spanish bank BBVA, along with USAA bank, the investment arm of Japanese telecom NTT DoCoMo, and former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, are just some of the company's high-profile backers.

Coinbase believes this will increase Bitcoin’s overall security, and the prices of the world’s first virtual currency will be monitored live.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency without a central government support, which is why its value changes fast and drastically.

The bankruptcy of Mt.Gox exchange that happened last year was a huge blow for investors, who lost approximately half a billion dollars.

The current value of Bitcoin is close to $240 (£160) per coin, but it has previously been as high as $1,200 (£800).

Monday's news caused its value to spike and is likely to inject some much-needed trust back into the digital currency, CNBC reports.

It saw a 16 per cent jump on Monday morning and was trading close to $300 (£200) for one bitcoin, according to industry website CoinDesk.

The start-up's founders have managed to gain licenses from half of the states' financial regulators, including (importantly) both New York and California, Engadget reports.

The exchange can only do business in the states in which it's gained approval, taking 0.25 per cent from most transactions, with the first two months charge-free.

The exchange already has 2.2 million "wallets" on file, and plans to operate in 30 countries by the end of the year - it's already set up in 19 of them.