Bitcoin, the virtual currency that has been steadily gaining traction, doubled in value within the last week—surpassing the $1,000 mark on the Mt. Gox exchange and hitting an all-time high Wednesday. The value of Bitcoin soared to $1,044 at one point, leveling off at about $920 as of this writing.
In recent weeks, Virgin Galactic announced that it would accept payment in Bitcoins, and during a Senate committee hearing U.S. officials acknowledged that the currency may have real financial value. Shopify, an e-commerce platform used by 75,000 merchants, also announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting Bitcoin.
The value of Bitcoin can quickly fluctuate, but there are other ways to lose money with the currency: Take, for instance, the story of James Howells, who realized too late that a hard drive containing £4 million (US$6.5 million) in Bitcoin was accidentally thrown out over the summer and now sits in a landfill in Wales.
The jump in price also means that the anonymous entity behind a $147 million Bitcoin transfer last week managed to increase the value of its Bitcoin bounty by more than $55 million dollars in just five days.