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How Wall Street got into the wild business of Bitcoin

Fortune

Editor’s note: The following is an edited excerpt from Nathaniel Popper’s book, Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.

In the winter of 2013, several executives from one of the nation’s largest banks, Wells Fargo [fortune-stock symbol=”WFC”], traveled from San Francisco to New York for a meeting at the headquarters of one of the nation’s largest hedge funds, Fortress Investment Group, to talk about a very controversial potential project: creating the nation’s first regulated Bitcoin exchange.

Fortress put aside a grand conference room on the 47th floor of its Manhattan headquarters and executives from several divisions of Wells Fargo showed up. Fortress brought along its own team, including some of the Silicon Valley luminaries who had gotten behind Bitcoin. Once the dozen or so people were gathered around the conference room, the co-chairman of Fortress, Pete Briger, stood up to…

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