WASHINGTON — Ripple Labs on Monday obtained a virtual currency license from the New York State Department of Financial Services, making it the fourth company with a BitLicense.

"Earning the BitLicense is incredible validation of the institutional use of digital assets by DFS, one of the most influential state regulators," Chris Larsen, Ripple's co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement published on the company's website.

The license applies to the Ripple exchange network's XRP currency, and "is the first granted for an additional institutional use case for digital assets," the company said.

In a statement, the New York financial regulator said it was "pleased" to encourage the virtual currency marketplace.

"DFS will continue to progress on licensing virtual currency firms while acting in the best interests of New York consumers," it said.

So far the regulator has received 26 applications for a BitLicense, a virtual currency charter that was created last June. It has rejected two.