Bitcoin Value Keeps Rising, Tops $500 for First Time

As crazy as this sounds, a single Bitcoin is worth almost as much as a single share of Apple. Bitcoin, a volatile virtual currency that's decentralized and uses cryptography to control transactions and prevent double-spending, has been steadily soaring for the past several months. It was viewed as a big deal when shares of Bitcoins went north of $300 earlier this month, and for the first time, it's now trading at a little over $500 (Apple shares are going for around $524 currently).

The virtual currency's recent growth is interesting on a number of levels, and as an investor, it can be both exciting and obviously rewarding, as well as stressful. In April of this year, Bitcoins were trading for $266 right before the FBI shut down an illegal online drug marketplace called Silk Road that was dealing exclusively with Bitcoins. Immediately after, the share price of Bitcoins dropped all the way to $75, and analysts wondered if the virtual currency would survive. If you had just invested lots of money in Bitcoins, it would have been a scary time. Do you cash out and eat your losses, or hold on and hope it goes back up? That's only easy to answer on hindsight.

Bitcoin Graph

Having survived that ordeal and now once again soaring at a ridiculous rate, the next question is how high can Bitcoins really go? The virtual currency has grown around 3,311 percent in 2013, and as an article in The Motley Fool points out, if big money gets involved (asset managers with billions of dollars to spend), it's a whole new ballgame.

Image Source: Flickr (antanacoins)

"What if billions of dollars, not millions, were to flood into the market? It's impossible to know, really. But what we can know is that the price would absolutely have to go higher," The Motley Fool writes.

Whether big money will ultimately get involved or not, that's a different question entirely.