Forget the regulatory crackdown in China. U.S. businesses are helping the controversial cryptocurrency known as bitcoin to make a price comeback.
On Saturday, Zynga, the San Francisco-based social game maker, quietly took to Reddit to announce that it's now accepting bitcoins as a form of in-game payment. The pilot program, which Zynga is working on with bitcoin payment processor BitPay, will be offered for seven games including Farmville 2 and Castleville.
"Zynga is always working to improve our customer experience by incorporating player feedback into our games," the company's Reddit post said. "We look forward to hearing from our players about the bitcoin test so we can continue in our efforts to provide the best possible gaming experience."
Zynga has begun testing use of bitcoin payments.Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images
Almost immediately following the news, the digital currency's value began to climb. By Monday morning, it had topped $1,000, then fell below that mark a day later on the online Mt.Gox exchange. The recent increase comes on the heels of a dramatic dip, after regulators in China enacted a crackdown on the digital currency in mid-December that caused BTC-China to stop accepting deposits in yuan. That news had sent bitcoin prices tumbling nearly 50 percent from a Dec. 4 record-high of $1,238.
(Read more: Bitcoin breaks $1,000 after Zynga opts in)
But Monday's rally also brings into focus a budding trend: U.S. businesses may be beginning to utilize bitcoin to specifically attract a key consumer base.
"One thing that people haven't focused on with bitcoin is that its users are a very attractive advertising demographic," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group.
The typical user has been profiled as a tech-savvy male, age 25 to 40, with above-average income, commonly residing on one of the U.S. coasts, according to Colas. Indeed, several surveys and reports show similar findings, including data released by Quantcast last April.