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Virtual currency Bitcoin has hit new highs in value after Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange, struck a deal to let startup CoinLab handle its U.S. operations.

Japan’s Mt. Gox is the largest exchange in the world for Bitcoin, but it had been having trouble making headway in the United States. So it will move operations to a U.S. company that might be able to attract more Americans. Seattle-based CoinLab has a partnership with Silicon Valley Bank and is backed by $500,000 in VC funds, which will help lend credibility to the service.

“There are two major difficulties Bitcoin exchange customers have traditionally faced: banking troubles for the underlying exchange, and security of their coins,” CoinLab CEO Peter Vessenes said in a post announcing the move. “Since we believe in Bitcoin, we’d like to solve these problems.”

As of early Wednesday evening, Bitcoin was trading above $32, a new record for the currency. Just a few days ago it hit new highs by trading above $31.

Other recent events might have helped the currency boom as well. News-sharing site Reddit started accepting Bitcoin as payment, the Internet Archive began accepting Bitcoin donations, and Bitcoin startup Coinbase announced it is now selling more than $1 million Bitcoins per month.

Check out Bitcoin price movement this week on Mt. Gox in the chart below.


Bitcoin illustration by Tom Cheredar/VentureBeat

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