Bitcoin soars to new high as Silk Road reopens

With the black market website back in business, the virtual currency gets a boost.

By Benzinga Nov 8, 2013 2:35PM

BitcoinsBy James Ha

Silk Road, the anonymous Internet marketplace used mostly for the sale of illegal drugs, reopened its virtual doors Wednesday, just a month after it was shutdown by U.S. law enforcement.

According to the site's new administrator,  the new Silk Road improves upon the old version with more secure identity protection and additional measures to keep bitcoins -- the digital currency the site uses for transactions -- safe in the event of another shutdown.

Bitcoin jumped to a record high the same day, rising to $270 from around $100 a few weeks back. It continued to rise to $309 Thursday on Mt. Gox, a bitcoin trading platform.

Analysts say the closing of the original Silk Road boosted global awareness of bitcoin and showed investors that the digital currency is more stable and removed from online drug trading than expected.

In the past few weeks, many online vendors including Reddit and WordPress started accepting bitcoin. While many are calling the move toward bitcoin a publicity stunt, it does seem to be gaining traction, with Internet giants like Baidu (BIDU) starting to accept bitcoin on select services.

Bitcoin has also seen a huge surge in traffic in BTC China, a primary bitcoin trading platform in China, making it the world's largest Bitcoin exchange.

Senate hearings focused on bitcoin are expected to be held this month, and Sen. Tom Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, displayed a more accepting attitude toward the upstart currency:

"Rather than play whack-a-mole with the latest website, currency or other method criminals are using in an effort to evade the law," he said, "we need to develop thoughtful, nimble and sensible federal policies that protect the public without stifling innovation and economic growth. Our committee intends to have that conversation -- among others -- at our hearing this month on virtual currency.”

Read more from Benzinga

Nov 8, 2013 3:23PM
Bitcoin is just an arm of the gov't. All the shutdown and Fed attacks are smoke and mirrors to get people used to the idea of digital money. Don't fall for it. What can be put into an account can be swept away just as easy with a few key strokes.  Do you really want all your transactions open to anyone? Just because a site says it is secure does not make it so. Remember the feds took away Americas gold before WW2 just think how easy digital money will be to take.
Nov 8, 2013 3:18PM
When is the IRS going to come in and shut this down?  If I make money, either dollars or bitcoin, I would assume the IRS wants their cut.  When will this happen with Bitcoin?  Just say'in
Nov 8, 2013 5:24PM

ANY private entity in the US can mint/print its own currency/coinage.  There are certain cities in the US where downtown areas create their own "beer bucks" that the local bars take instead of US dollars.  Lest we forget that the US does not even print money!  The US Federal Reserve prints their own PRIVATE currency (Federal Reserve Notes) which we all accept and trade... but which in reality is little different than either a bitcoin or a beer buck and has nothing that "backs" it either, other than the recent $3.6 trillion debt of the Federal Reserve.

Nov 8, 2013 3:27PM
Jackson that's my point exactly.  When will the Feds come in and sweep all of this away?  They are missing revenue here, it's just a matter of time until it gets big enough to be on their radar then they will come down on it like a ton of bricks.  When that happens, the stock and the currency will evaporate like a fog into the night I would assume?  Unless the IRS can figure out how to collect a tax on it?
Nov 8, 2013 4:59PM
Wish I would have bought a couple thousand bitcoins when they were trading around .00053
Nov 8, 2013 4:54PM

spaghetti I keep getting little pieces of the puzzle from multiple sources.  So it is black market tender for contraband (illegal drugs)  and hostage situations, and the organizers are trying to convert it into something respectable I guess.  I have asked several where it is derived from originally, and have been told it is paid out to computers (hence their owners) for processing voluminous equations.  So where is the person paying it getting it?  If whoever is creating this is not a sovereign government or large legally existing entity, what is backing the currency?  My guess is, nothing.  One unfavorable legal determination from the Justice Dept. or IRS and it could evaporate instantly, I would presume.  My next question is, why doesn't the justice dept.  ban it if the primary use of it is illegal?  Using organized crime laws?

Nov 8, 2013 4:28PM

Don't know what Bit coin's  are, where they come from or anything about them, but they sound like an interesting thing.

Sounds like they have some use.   Sounds like an idea that works for something's.  Having a problem understanding this concept of money, sounds like the US dollar printed on paper with no backing.  Someone just tells me that paper is a $20. bill and is worth something more than paper.  Next generation may understand what it is.

Nov 8, 2013 4:40PM

bitcoins are a way for people to get paid ransome without being caught. 

not funny

Nov 8, 2013 7:13PM
Another fiat currency.  Of course like all currencies, the ones "making" the money (from nothing) usually gets the bulk of the rewards by taking the money of others for theirs in exchange. 
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