The Bitcoin price has just broken through the $15.4 high that it last set in August, making today’s maximum of $15.68 at the time of this writing the highest that the Bitcoin price has been since July 6, 2011. The spike follows a roughly two-week-long rise that has been bringing the price up by an average of about 10 cents per day since roughly January 7, turning the rally into an all-out buying rush as the price battered for two hours, and finally broke through, the psychological barrier of $15. The near-term cause of the sudden increase was the Coming of Age Day, a banking holiday in Japan which caused deposits in the Japan-based MtGox to get delayed until today. Once the deposits processed on Tuesday, Fred Ehrsam argues, all those who deposited fiat into MtGox to buy bitcoins over the weekend were finally able to do so all at once, breaking the steady trendline at $14.2 and causing the price to shoot up precipitously over the next two days.

Unlike some of the previous spikes that the Bitcoin price has seen over the years, this rally appears to be well supported by the underlying fundamentals. Google Trends volume, a commonly used statistic to gauge public interest in Bitcoin, is roughly stable, but over the past few months one can notice a distinct trend toward Bitcoin’s score increasing. However, it should be noted that the Google Trends volume, although it used to be extremely well-correlated with the Bitcoin price, has diverged considerably in recent months, to the point of only slightly tracking Bitcoin price movements since August. Thus, there is reason to believe that the slow and unpredictable rate at which this statistic is rising should not be taken as an argument against Bitcoin’s short-term and medium-term future.