Bitcoin has traded at its highest value to date, reaching $19,920.53 (£14,821) but the price of the cryptocurrency could hit $300,000 (£225,000) next year according to a leaked report from Citibank.
One bitcoin was worth $19,850.11 (£14,880) on Monday afternoon, according to CoinDesk, a bitcoin price index. By Monday evening its value fell back to about $19,223. Bitcoin has risen in value by more than 170% since the start of the year.
Analysts suggest some investors have treated it as a "safe haven asset" at a time of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but others warn that it remains volatile.
The whole existence of bitcoin has been characterised by unthinkable rallies followed by painful corrections
The cryptocurrency, which relies on a decentralised ledger, called a blockchain, to record and verify transactions, has endured wild price swings during its short history, even as its fans insist it will upend the traditional financial world.
The last time bitcoin approached $20,000, in December 2017, it crashed with a bang, losing a quarter of its value during a single day before falling well below the $4,000 mark in late 2018.
"The whole existence of bitcoin has been characterised by unthinkable rallies followed by painful corrections (the type of pattern that sustains a long term trend)," a leaked Citibank report said.
Intitled "Bitcoin: 21st Century Gold", which was written by the Wall Street giant's global head of CitiFX Technicals, Tom Fitzpatrick, it points out that during the first bull cycle from 2011 to 2013 Bitcoin increased by 555 times.
By Fitzpatrick's calculations, we could be currently in the middle of the third great price rally in bitcoin's history. "This move could potentially peak in December 2021… Suggesting a move as high as $318,000," he wrote.
Tyler Winklevoss, a venture capitalist who was the first publicly identified bitcoin billionaire along with his twin brother, has written that he believes a single bitcoin could eventually be worth $500,000 as it takes an increasing role in the global financial system.