Bitcoin options exchange raises $11.4 million in funding

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ledger Holdings, the New York-based parent company of bitcoin options exchange LedgerX, said on Monday it closed $11.4 million in funding led by Miami International Holdings Inc and China’s Huiyin Blockchain Venture Investments.

FILE PHOTO - A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. To match Special Report BITCOIN-WRIGHT/PATENTS REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

The funding supports LedgerX’s plan to operate a regulated exchange and clearing house for bitcoin and other digital currencies.

LedgerX is awaiting regulatory approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to operate the first U.S. regulated exchange and clearing house for bitcoin options. On approval, participating institutions can use the LedgerX platform to obtain and hedge bitcoin using exchange-traded and centrally cleared options contracts.

“In the short term, these investments will further our application to become a regulated exchange and clearing house for bitcoin options,” Paul Chou, chief executive officer of LedgerX LLC, said in a statement.

“In the long term, these strategic investors will help us enter additional marketplaces and territories,” he added.

Chou sits on the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee.

Miami International Holdings is the parent company of Miami International Securities Exchange LLC and MIAX PEARL LLC, two fully electronic options trading exchanges.

MIAX Options lists and trades options on more than 2,600 multi-listed classes. Huiyin Blockchain Venture is a subsidiary of investment conglomerate Huiyin Group.

LedgerX earlier raised $1.5 million from funders led by Google Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be moved like money around the world quickly and anonymously without the need for a central authority. It hit a record high over the weekend, with one unit of bitcoin trading above $2,000 on the BitStamp platform BTC=BTSP.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Peter Cooney