It’s now possible in New York City to buy a beer, pay for a massage and rent an apartment in bitcoins, the digital currency that is creeping out of the dark corners of the Internet.

Bitcoin’s emergence and infamy has caught the attention of state financial regulators. The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) expects to decide this year how the use of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies can and should be controlled, not only to prevent cyber crime and protect consumers, but to provide a legal foundation to the burgeoning industry.