Late last year, a radical banking experiment hit a major milestone in Europe, a continent with no shortage of financial drama. It had nothing to do with the euro, however, and everything to do with the “currency of the future”: Bitcoin.

The digital currency, still widely dismissed by many as Internet play money, gained an unprecedented foothold in the traditional banking world. In December, a Bitcoin currency exchange in France became the first to officially operate within the European financial system. Bitcoin-Central, and its parent company, Paymium, will offer their Bitcoin.