The price of bitcoins surpassed $600 on Monday as the Internet-based currency’s value jumped 60-fold over a year ago.
Mt. Gox, a key bitcoin trading exchange, pegged bitcoin’s price at $599 Monday morning (ET), though it had risen above $600 earlier in the morning, according to CoinDesk. BTC, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, showed a price of $640 early Monday as well. Preev, however, had bitcoins at closer to $500 Monday morning.
The rally comes as the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs plans a hearing on Monday to take a closer look at the virtual currency. Bitcoins experienced a similar surge in interest in April, when it topped $200 for the first time.
There are now about 12 million bitcoins in existence. At $600, the market cap for the currency is around $7.2 billion. Some 50,535 bitcoins are transacted every hour, according to CoinDesk.