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Regulators approve bitcoin venture backed by NYSE owner

New York state regulators on Friday approved a key license for Bakkt, a venture designed to make it easier for consumers to store bitcoins and pay for purchases in the cryptocurrency.

The New York State Department of Financial Services said it granted a charter allowing Bakkt to become a limited trust company. Bakkt had filed with the DFS to become a trust company back in March.

The move allows Bakkt to hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on customers’ behalf while abiding by regulations aimed at ensuring investors’ assets are kept safe. Bakkt is being spearheaded by Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc., best known for owning the New York Stock Exchange.

ICE said last year that it aimed to launch the first building block of the Bakkt platform—a bitcoin futures contract—in November 2018. Futures are financial tools that firms can use to protect themselves against swings in prices—in this case, against changes in the bitcoin-dollar exchange rate.