Fifteen months ago, hackers lifted more than $5 million from the bitcoin exchange operated by Bitstamp, a Slovenian company that aspired to push the digital currency across Western Europe. The hack wasn’t nearly as large or as devastating as the one that pilfered $460 million from Mt. Gox and sent the Japan-based exchange, then one of the world’s largest, spiraling into bankruptcy. But it was yet another black eye for bitcoin, the digital currency that holds so much promise as an alternative to fiat currencies but has never really broken into the mainstream.
In small ways, however, bitcoin is climbing back towards respectability. This morning, Bitstamp announced that it has received a license from the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance to operate as a payment institution, and according to the company, this license applies to the European Union as a whole. “With this,” says Dan Morehead, the chairman of Bitstamp and the CEO of Pantera Capital, a firm that specializes in investments related to bitcoin, “Bitstamp is able to do business in all 28 countries of the EU.”