On January 24th, Bitcoin broke through $19.00, a price not paid for a Bitcoin since July of 2011.
Over 24 hours, 160,000 Bitcoins traded hands on the Mt.Gox USD market alone, while traders attempted to seek out a new valuation for the increasingly popular digital currency. Trading has since settled down, with the price hovering around the $17 mark.
During the fast and furious trading, the overall market capitalization of Bitcoin topped $200,000,000 for a brief period of time, coming very close to hitting a new high previously set during the infamous bubble that occurred 18 months prior.
Are the recent highs just another bubble, or a bullish sign that Bitcoin has hit the tipping point? I would speculate that it's the latter, as overall activity in the community has picked up substantially. Indeed, one of the more successful Bitcoin businesses, BitPay, just announced they have successfully facilitated 10,000 Bitcoin merchant transactions, and now have a client list totaling 2400; clearly a positive indicator for the future of Bitcoin.