SecondMarket plans regulated bitcoin exchange

NEW YORK (Reuters) - SecondMarket Holdings, a New York firm that facilitates investments in privately held companies, is planning a U.S.-based regulated exchange for bitcoin investors, the company’s founder and chief executive, Barry Silbert, said on Tuesday.

Silbert said the new exchange will be modeled after the New York Stock Exchange, and would be launched possibly in the summer of 2014. He hopes to recruit at least 10 members by the end of March and is currently in discussions with bitcoin companies, as well as at least half a dozen global banks.

“The whole effort will be regulated and all the participants in the exchange will be regulated as well,” Silbert said.

Involving the big banks is crucial in advancing the bitcoin market, Silbert said, which he said would, “probably provide the level of comfort that institutional investors are looking for.”

The exchange will be part of a new company that SecondMarket will spin off to oversee all the firm’s bitcoin activities. A subsidiary of SecondMarket sponsors the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which has net assets of $47 million and a trading desk.

The plan to launch a new exchange comes as Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, abruptly stopped trading on Tuesday with no explanation.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss. Editing by Andre Grenon