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Bitcoin price fluctuates wildly after massive run-up, DDoS attacks reportedly to blame (update)

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Bitcoins (Casascius)
Bitcoins (Casascius)

Open-source currency Bitcoin is currently experiencing an incredibly volatile day — after reaching a daily high of $266 earlier, one Bitcoin is currently valued at $178, though pricing has gone as low as $150 as of this writing. That's a difference of more than $100, quite the roller coaster for Bitcoin investors. This comes in the wake of a pretty massive increase in Bitcoin's value — a few weeks ago, the value of all Bitcoins in circulation broke $1 billion, and even today's volatile pricing is still up significantly from there. While there's no telling what is causing the fluctuations yet, it seems likely that it's a result of jittery investors selling off, which drove the price down — and now more investors are jumping on board. We'll be keeping an eye on the price today to see how high or low it will go.

Update 3PM: The wild swings continue — Bitcoin is currently valued at $180, but has gone as low as $126.

Update 4PM: Bitcoin continues to trend downwards, with a new low of $105 on the day. It's most recent value is $120 as of this writing.

Update: It appears that today's Bitcoin fluctuations are due to outside forces beyond any investor concerns — according to Bitcoin exchange firm Tradehill, Mt. Gox and several other Bitcoin exchanges are dealing with DDoS attacks that caused a small dip in valuation — from there, more people sold off their Bitcoins, leading to the more dramatic drops that followed. This is similar to problems that hit Mt Gox just last week. It appears that things are sorting themselves out at this point — Bitcoin value at Mt. Gox has increased back to $194 — not as high as it was earlier today, but not the dramatic drop we saw earlier.