Bitcoin Surpasses $1,000 in Astonishing Streak

The price is up 78-fold in 2013.

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Bitcoin, the virtual currency that has gone on a recent surge, surpassed $1,000 for the first time on Wednesday, up 78-fold in 2013.

Bitcoin was trading at $1,030 at 10:10 a.m on the MT.Gox exchange, one of several online markets for the currency, up from around $9 in 2011 and a high of $269 just weeks ago.

The currency, introduced in 2009, was initially used sparingly and often in illicit activity thanks to its relative anonymity.

But it has seen a recent swell in popularity in the U.S. and, particularly recently, in China, as legitimate businesses, including websites like OKCupid and a Subway sandwich shop in Pennsylvania, begin to accept it. The price rise also coincided with Senate hearings last week on how to regulate the currency.