It's pretty clear that U.S. federal officials hoped Bitcoin would dry up and blow away when they busted the Silk Road drug marketplace, but that's not what happened. That's because, as anybody clued-in (like our own Brian Doherty) could have explained, Bitcoin is useful for so many more things than purchasing illegal intoxicants on the Internet, not that there's anything wrong with such transactions. In fact, Bitcoin briefly hit an all-time high, price-wise, relative to U.S. dollars just today. The Mt. Gox exhange recorded Bitcoin as touching $272 at one point (the solid line in the chart below is volume; the broken line is price). As it turns out, Bitcoin isn't quite ready to go away, and people aren't losing interest.
Among the companies newly adopting Bitcoin payments is Tomcar Australia, a manufactirer of all-terrain vehicles that hopes to ease international sales by using the virtual currency.
Bitcoin has also become attractive for tech-savvy international investors intrigued by the virtual currency's resilience, and the fact that it can be manufactured only in finite quantities—unlike the U.S. dollar. Interestingly, the biggest Bitcoin exchange is now, apparently, BTC China, which just pushed past Mt. Gox and Bitstamp in volume. Bitcoin has apparently become popular in that country as a store of value, since few businesses actually accept payment in the currency.
Bitcoin is unlikely to be the final development, virtual-currency-wise. Use of Bitcoin still raises some privacy concerns, though following payments remains difficult if people make an effort to cover their tracks. But with virtual currency growing in popularity, improvements and new developments are guaranteed.