The trading platform SecondMarket — known for providing a market for investors to trade shares in Facebook before the company’s IPO — has taken what it says could be the first step toward becoming the first U.S.-based, regulated and trustworthy Bitcoin exchange, launching a pilot program to buy and sell Bitcoin in the wake of a shutdown by Japan-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox that sharply undermined the digital currency’s value today.

The fact that a single Bitcoin exchange that’s not even the world’s largest could have such an impact highlights the lack of a major U.S. Bitcoin exchange, Saumya Vaishampayan reports for MarketWatch’s The Tell blog.

SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert says the company’s Bitcoin trading team is “making a market” in the digital currency — providing liquidity to sellers who want to unload blocks of at least 25 bitcoin — on a pilot basis.

“The single most important thing that we can do … is get some serious exchanges established here in New York,” Circle Internet Financial’s Jeremy Allaire said last month at a hearing held by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

A number of real estate companies, including crowdfunder RealtyShares, residential brokerage Bond New York, property management software provider Rentalutions, and rental listings site RentHop have embraced Bitcoin — RentHop has even incorporated the digital currency’s symbol into its company logo. Source: marketwatch.com.

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