Financial Post | Business

The price of Bitcoins surpassed US$1,000 on the Mt. Gox online exchange, fueled by speculators snapping up the virtual currency as it gains wider acceptance.

[np_storybar title=”Can bitcoin become more than a fringe currency?” link=””]There’s a lot to like about bitcoin: It offers anonymity, there is little need for intermediaries such as banks, which passes on cost savings to users, and bitcoins are easy to move and store. It’s especially alluring for those who doubt the competency of central banks and their monetary strategies because bitcoin issuances are not centralized.

But therein lies the problem.

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Bitcoins, which exist as software and aren’t regulated by any country or banking authority, surged to a record US$1,030 today, up more than 80-fold from a year earlier. The currency has rallied on growing interest from investors in China and the U.S., while merchants are starting to accept Bitcoins for everything from…

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