A European Bitcoin exchange has moved to "clarify" claims that it has secured a license to operate as a payments service provider (PSP), bringing the crypto-currency into the formal economy.
In a post on the Bitcoin Forum, Bitcoin-Central said it has partnered with Credit Mutuel and payments outfit Aqoba to secure the PSP status from French authorities.
Funds will be held at Credit Mutuel under the user's name, with an account that will - in a "few months" - get its own Iban, meaning it can be used like any other bank account, with salaries and pensions paid in to it and converted into Bitcoins.
Users will also be able to order a debit card that will use their euro and bitcoin balances to honour purchases and cash withdrawals, with the exchange having "direct access to the banking networks which will let us 100% automate all incoming and outgoing transfers".
By becoming a PSP, Bitcoin-Central can also make sure that accounts are protected by the "Garantie des dépôts" while the exchange argues that the new status will encourage firms to start accepting the currency.
Acknowledging that moving into the formal system is at odds with the libertarian ideals of some Bitcoin users, the firm says: "Some people might argue that regulation is a bad thing. We respect this opinion, but we'll have to agree to disagree."
Bitcoin-Central has now backtracked on its original claims, revealing that it has not become a registered PSP but will offer the new services thanks to a partnership between its parent company Paymium and Aqoba, which is a registered PSP.
Says a statement: "It is still a big development for a Bitcoin exchange to be able to operate legally within the European regulatory framework. Bitcoin-Central is leading the way in this respect. But we're neither a bank, nor a PSP. And we intend to keep it that way."