(Recasts; adds details, comments)
NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) said on Tuesday it has granted a license to Tokyo-based bitFlyer, allowing the virtual currency exchange operator to launch in the United States.
The license authorizes bitFlyer to operate an exchange, as well as provide 'custodial wallet' services for bitcoin, or a secure online address to hold the digital currency. It has approval to operate the exchange in 41 states.
The value of cryptocurrency bitcoin is hovering around the historic $10,000 level after surging more than 900 percent since the start of the year.
"As New York's financial services regulator, DFS's mission is to encourage innovation while protecting markets and consumers," said DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo in a statement.
"As the virtual currency market expands, New York will continue to support technological innovation while enforcing strong state-based regulation."
BitFlyer has already been registered as a virtual currency exchange by Japanese regulators and has traded more than $100 billion in virtual currencies so far this year in Japan.
The DFS has previously granted virtual currency licenses to Coinbase Inc., XRP II, and Circle Internet Financial, and charters to Gemini Trust Company and itBit Trust Company.
The bitFlyer platform enables traders to place market, limit and complex trade orders. Its U.S. trading platform is designed for professional traders who trade $100,000 or more in virtual currency each month.
"Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the U.S. by institutional traders looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets," said bitFlyer USA's chief operating officer, Bartek Ringwelski, in a statement.
In early 2018, bitFlyer said it plans to expand its cryptocurrencies to include alternative coins such as Litecoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, and bitcoin cash, among others. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Aparajita Saxena in Bengalaru, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)