Is bitcoin's 2017 surge a bubble - or a sign of things to come?
Bitcoin values have surged to new highs, passing $2,967 per coin yesterday. Its value has risen by more than 200% in 2017.
Lori Keogh, Director Financial Services Strategy with Deloitte Ireland joined Vincent Wall on Breakfast Business to discuss the electronic currency's future prospects.
He outlined two reasons behind the spike in Bitcoin's value:
"Number one is that people are fleeing to bitcoin, instead of fleeing to gold in periods of volatility," Mr Keogh told Newstalk. He added that it has become a haven asset when markets become hard to predict.
The second factor which the analyst identified was the "hype around blockchain technology."
"We are seeing a lot of financial services institutions and many other sectors look at blockchain technology as a means to disintermediate - and also to move to a peer-to-peer base," he told Vincent Wall.
Bitcoin's transfer mechanism is based on a centralised ledger (its blockchain) - this new technology offers security benefits and savings when transferring money.
Mr Keogh expects the value of the currency to continue to rise as it is recognised by a greater number of central banks around the world.
"I see the price continuing to increase. I think by 2020 alone the price of Bitcoin will be nearing €10,000. That's what a lot of analysts are saying," he stated.
Cautioning that all investment decisions need to be thought about carefully and that diversifying your investment portfolio is key - he added that he believes that bitcoin should be considered as an investment option:
"Do I think Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are worth a flutter? Absolutely. You can buy in for as little as €20.00 at an individual level," he concluded.