In November 2017, bitcoin found itself in the midst of a substantial price increase that would see its value rise 10-fold over the course of six months. By mid-December, a bitcoin was worth nearly $ 20,000 (£ 15,000), but that was the high mark before the tide turned.
A year later, bitcoin is trading at about a third of its maximum value, but some cryptocurrency analysts believe the market may be about to reflect the gains it experienced at the end of 2017. The only caveat is that it may not be the bitcoin that carries the charge this time.
The CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, who was behind the online retail giant becoming one of the first places to accept bitcoins in 2014, said he still expects the mass adoption of cryptocurrency, without specifying which one.
Speaking with Naomi Brockwell, bitcoin enthusiast, on his YouTube channel, Mr. Byrne said he was very skeptical of the traditional financial system. When asked if he saw bitcoin become a world currency, he indicated countries like Venezuela that in recent years have experienced serious financial unrest.
"When people start to get in, it's when their financial systems collapse," he said. "If the bitcoin is the only one, if bitcoin has solved its speed problem, or is another cryptocurrency, only time will tell."
Bitcoin has enjoyed the most sustained period of stability in its history, helping it to deal with the problem of price volatility that some critics say makes it unsuitable as a traditional form of payment.
The general consensus of market analysts is that this trend will probably continue in the short term, excluding any important news that could send the price shootout in either direction, such as a large-scale attack on a major stock exchange, or a positive adjustment implemented by a financial institution.
Forecasts on bitcoin prices made by 10 analysts for November Finder Cryptocurrency Predictions Finder indicate that the world's leading digital currency will see steady growth in the coming year, although the coming months remain uncertain.
"Some of our experts believe that external forces could significantly move the market in the next month, and especially for bitcoins," said Jon Ostler, CEO of Finder.com L & # 39; Independent.
"Immediate decisions on a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund that has been approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that decide whether to accept the application from Baktion, a cryptocurrency exchange supported by ICE, is expected before December 1, so at this stage it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen ".
In the long run, Ostler said that bitcoin is expected to grow steadily over the next year, with the group of experts predicting an average value of $ 16,732 by the end of 2019.
"Since bitcoin is very stable and within a range of $ 6,800 to $ 6,100, it's hard to suggest that something will change until this interval breaks," said cryptocurrency merchant Craig Cobb, who is part of the panel.
But if it is not a bitcoin, a hint on what the next break-out cryptocurrency might be was at the start of this week by Blockchain, the world's most popular bitcoin wallet. On Tuesday, the company announced it would release $ 125 million (£ 96 million) of stellar cryptocurrency as part of an important initiative to encourage its use as a traditional form of payment.
Stellar is not currently even in the top five cryptocurrencies in terms of total value, according to CoinMarketCap, but while it might be less known, its proponents say it is technologically more advanced and more suitable for large-scale use.
"[Stellar’s] token, XLM, enables fast, low-cost transactions all over the world, even when millions of people use it at the same time, "wrote Blockchain CEO Peter Smith in a blog post featuring the giveaway.
Another cryptocurrency that could see massive gains in the coming months, some experts say, is the closest bitcoin's rival etereum. The technology expert Ian McLeod of Thomas Crown Art said that the second largest cryptocurrency in the world could be on the edge of a "monumental and definitive global breakout".
Currently trading at just over $ 200 – down from a maximum of $ 1350 in January – McLeod claims that ethereum could reach $ 500 by the end of 2018 and could see its price "exploding" in 2019 and beyond.
"We can expect bitcoin to lose 50% of its cryptocurrency market share in ethereum, its closest rival, within five years" McLeod said.
"Ethereum is already light years ahead of bitcoin in all, but prices and this gap will become increasingly apparent as more and more investors enter the crypt."