Why the value of bitcoin is on an absolute tear

Bitcoin is enjoying one of its best rallies in years.

The digital currency, which has registered a series of records over the past several days, marked a fresh high Wednesday, when it surpassed $490 for the first time since September 2014, according to data from Coindesk, a bitcoin price index.

Read: Is bitcoin a better investment than gold?

Bitcoin, which was at $491.77, according to Coindesk early in New York, has soared more than 22% so far on Wednesday and has climbed 72% over the past three months, as the chart below illustrates:

Financial blog site Zerohedge speculates that the run-up in bitcoin’s price is linked to Chinese investors using the currency as a way to get money out of the country amid controls Beijing has imposed to limit the outflows of money. Here’s how Zerohedge explains it via this March 2014 Reuters article:

Whatever the reason for the rise, bitcoin’s rise is fairly stunning considering the reason its value collapsed in the first place.

Bitcoin cratered in 2014 after Mt. Gox, then one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, announced that customer bitcoins, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, had been stolen by hackers. Bitcoin shed about 75% of its value that year.

But recently the digital currency being designated a commodity by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in September and bitcoin drawing the attention of prominent investors like the Winklevoss twins has garnered it some fresh legitimacy.