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Bitcoin’s price hit a record at $261 on the Bitstamp online exchange, driven by wider acceptance of the virtual currency.

The digital money, which can be used to pay for goods and services on the Internet, has risen 20-fold so far this year, as trading activity has increased. Bitcoins were trading at US$259.02 apiece at 1:17 p.m. in New York on Bitstamp, one of the more active Web-based exchanges where Bitcoins are traded for dollars, euros, and other currencies.

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