White hat obviously, unless you don't want to be at the top for long...
No offence but I often wonder how easy people think it is to get to position 1. If it were easy everyone would do it (which of course is impossible) - There can be only 1 - for each search term.
Speaking of which, what search term(s) are you aiming for? That'll have a large impact on likely you are to achieve your goals. And backs links, lots and lots of back links.
Use Alexa to see what you're up against. Get the top spot for your search term, drop it into Alexa and see how you compare to them.
of course its going to be white hat ! If you dig yourself over the black hat and all techniques soon google is going to abandoned you and then you will feel like crying. So its going to to white hat only !
Page Rank generally increases with the involvement of users on your site and some back links form high PR site.
So you should go for Social media, article, forum and guest post for increasing your traffic.You can also hire a SEO person for this from sites like SEOclerks.
Honestly, instead of worrying about black hat vs white hat just create good content first. By good content I mean something that stands out from the rest of the competition. Include guides and infographics and media rich posts.
Black hat vs White hat? They both work and don't let anyone tell you different. Those of us that use black hat methods know that they work. That is a different business plan though. Are you ok with losing your site and a churn and burn type of attitude?
For a lasting ranking obviously white hat is the way. Google & Bing are always evolving and while it may be easy to beat them in the short term if you know how, they will catch you then ban you from even being ranked or appearing in SERP's. So if its a good domain that you want to keep, it will take time to build rank, and know for certain content is always going to be king. Google likes and always will like content rich sites.
Each of those SEO types has their own pros and cons, it will always depend on the category your brand is involved in. But you can always adopt the strengths and strategies they individually have and come up with a new scheme you can use and one of the upside side is that it's original.
There is nothing like blackhat and whitehat now. You just need to go after quality. If you got a link from quality directory, its good. But if it's low quality (PR) irelavant directory thant it would not work for you. So go after relavancy and quality and try to share relavant, original and quality content with people. Thus if they find it useful they will be inspired to share the content with others and you will earn natural backlinks