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Bitcoin Prices

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Bitcoin Prices, The price of a single bitcoin reached $1000 Wednesday, possibly demonstrating a new level of interest-some might say mania-for the digital currency that earlier this year was trading for a measly $30.

Bitcoin trading surpassed the $1000 mark on the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange, one of the most prominent exchanges for buying and selling bitcoins online. Less eye-catching, but still high, trading levels were reached on BTC-E, a Bulgarian exchange, which hit $916 Wednesday night there, and Bitstamp, based in Slovenia, at $949, though prices on the exchanges change often in the course of a day.

On Mt. Gox, the price of a bitcoin teetered at just under $1000 throughout Tuesday afternoon and early evening. Prices had been rising since the end of last week, when on Friday a bitcoin was worth a little more than $800 on Mt. Gox. Although the currency has seen serious growth over the past year-in March prices were about $30-Bitcoin has also been characterized by dramatic volatility and major price swings from day to day.

Bitcoin is not something you hold in your hands like paper money-it’s a digital currency bought and sold over computer networks. There are no or very minimal transaction fees, and no central banking or regulatory authority backs it at this point, which makes it especially appealing to some people.

But describing its purpose is tricky, because some of its proponents see it both as an investment and a universal form of payment. At least, that’s their hope. With such big price surges, it’s easier to see Bitcoin as a kind of dot.com stock, but it’s harder to understand why merchants would accept such a fluctuating form of payment.

Still, the number of online retailers accepting Bitcoin payments has been growing. BitPay, an electronic payment processing company, says it’s now used by 12,000 merchants worldwide like Shopify and HostBill. Those businesses, though, do have the option of converting their Bitcoin payments into U.S. dollars or other currencies.

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