"The virtual currency bitcoin took a big step toward the mainstream on Monday as federal authorities signaled their willingness to accept it as a legitimate payment alternative.
A number of federal officials told a Senate hearing that such financial networks offered real benefits for the financial system even as they acknowledged that new forms of digital money had provided avenues for money laundering and illegal activity."
Prices for bitcoin more than tripled to over $700 in some markets, pricing total bitcoin supplies at around $7 billion.
Although bitcoins are thought to be untraceable, an Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department testified that every transaction was recorded on a public ledger. That means don't use it to do anything illegal or else you might get caught.