Bitcoin grows up and gets its first federally regulated exchange

Investors will be able to hedge against the digital currency's price swings.

Bitcoin is set to be given the same financial safeguards as traditional assets. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has granted LedgerX, a cryptocurrency trading platform operator, approval to become the first federally regulated digital currency options exchange and clearinghouse in the US.

Despite reaching dizzying new highs this year -- and overtaking the value of gold -- Bitcoin has so far gone unregulated. LedgerX's new role will allow investors to hedge against price swings in digital currencies in the same way that traditional assets are protected.

The move supports the Bitcoin community's efforts to attract a broader user base while cementing its position in the financial markets -- something a number of investment companies and prominent traders are keen to see. LedgerX plans to offer one- to six-month bitcoin-to-dollar options contracts from late September to early October, with plans to add other digital currencies soon after.