$1k for one bitcoin

Bitcoin broke the $1,000 per unit barrier on Wednesday according to Japanese exchange Mt. Gox, which manages bitcoin trading.

At 16:40 GMT bitcoin had reached $1,073 per unit. One month ago bitcoin was trading at $205.

Bitcoin is moving quickly towards the value of gold, which was trading at $1,239 per troy ounce at the close of Wednesday trading.

Two weeks ago a US Senate hearing displayed no hostility towards the virtual currency, creating a surge of investment that has pushed bitcoin towards the $1,000 mark.

Though bitcoin has not yet been subjected to heavy-handed regulation in Asia, Europe and the US, regulators and lawmakers around the world are discussing the implications of the virtual currency's expansion, particularly regarding its association with black market purchases.