Bitcoin blows through $300 and keeps climbing

Remember the old days when one Bitcoin traded for 200 US dollars? Well, those days were just a few weeks ago and now the virtual currency is on a wild new surge that has already taken it far above $300 — here’s a graph from exchange site Bitstamp, which is listing the price at $325 on Friday morning:

Bitstamp screenshot

Other exchanges show similar gains. According to Bitcoin charts, the trading prices is above $320 across the board, while Mt. Gox, which carries a premium due to liquidity troubles, is listing the currency at $353.

Even by the standards of Bitcoin, this is a wild ride. It invokes the specter of last April when a spectacular crash sent the currency from above $200 down to about $50:

Bitstamp screenshot

While the current surge seems unsustainable, the next collapse may not be as dramatic because, even since April, Bitcoin has acquired an unprecedented degree of respectability and stability — that has allowed it to weather FBI raids, Silk Road’s collapse and more.

Meanwhile, investors and tech savants are coming to see that Bitcoin is not just a currency, but an enduring protocol. As AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant puts it: Silicon Valley knows a platform when it sees it, and is aflame with Bitcoin.