Bitcoin: One year on from peak price, what does the future hold?

Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT) November 13, 2014
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A year ago this month, Bitcoin soared to its highest ever value. Some claimed it signified the rise of a powerful new currency for the digital age. But it's been a bumpy ride ever since. Click through the gallery to see the events that shaped the Bitcoin story over the past year and find out what experts think the future holds for the crypto-currency. Reading on a desktop? Go here. CNN
November 2013: A U.S. Senate hearing listens to testimony from a number of experts on what Bitcoin is and why its price has risen so dramatically over the course of 2013. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are described as having strong promise as a method of online payment, while various theories are aired as to its sudden popularity. Others, however, point out that Bitcoin is displaying the hallmarks of an asset bubble and that the payment anonymity it provides appeals to criminals trading in illicit goods. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
November 2013: Bitcoin reaches its highest ever prices in markets and exchanges around the globe. The Mt Gox exchange recorded the value of a single Bitcoin at $1,242 per coin -- higher than the price of an ounce of gold at that time and a rise of more than 6,000% since the beginning of 2013 when a single Bitcoin could be snapped up for as little as $20. Other exchanges also recorded all-time price highs. A massive factor in the rapid price rise is demand for Bitcoin in China where exchanges like BTC China see a huge increase in volume of trades at the beginning of November. George Frey/Getty Images
On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China decreed that Bitcoin was not a currency and banned the country's financial institutions from trading or carrying out transactions with it -- although individuals could still use it for internet transactions. The value of Bitcoin plummeted as a result, while companies including Baidu, the Chinese internet search engine, announced that they no longer accepted Bitcoins as a method of payment for certain services. The move is a surprise one. Dominic Aratari/CNNMoney
The price of Bitcoins fluctuated dramatically throughout December 2013. Prices halved to around $600, rebounded to the $1,000 mark then crashed again to $500 range before rising to $800 by the end of the month. This volatile price instability would become a feature for Bitcoin over the coming months. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
By early January 2014, Baidu was joined by Chinese online retail giant Alibaba in barring transactions involving Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Hong Kong made headlines at the beginning of February 2014 by installing only the world's second "Bitcoin ATM," which allowed users to buy and sell Bitcoins on the spot. The first had been introduced in Vancouver, Canada, the previous October. Further Bitcoin ATMs have since been opened in London and cities across the United States. KOAT
Mt Gox, one of the world's largest Bitcoin exchanges, crashes in February 2014 costing those using its services millions of dollars. Investors were prevented from withdrawing money in early February with Mt Gox citing technical and security difficulties. The Japan-based company then filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo and the United States later that month, claiming 850,000 Bitcoins (with a rough value of $477 million) had gone missing after the exchange was hacked. AFP/Getty Images
In March 2014, Newsweek claims to have uncovered the identity of Bitcoin's founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. The individual Newsweek named was Dorian Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese-American living just outside Los Angeles. The computer engineer denied he was the creator of the crypto-currency and said that the surname he shared with the mysterious cyber entity was purely coincidence. Nakamoto has since announced he hopes to sue Newsweek for reckless reporting and the distress caused to his family.
March 2014: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issues a note stating it regards Bitcoin as a property, not a currency, and that transactions will be taxed as such. Bitcoin does not have "legal tender status" in any jurisdiction despite the fact it can be used to buy goods or services online, the IRS says. The move is described as neither a blessing nor a curse for Bitcoin but the fact it is made at all shows how seriously the financial establishment is taking the rise of digital money. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/file
Prices fall again in March off the back of reports that the Chinese government would prevent all Bitcoin transactions in its territory. While these murmurings initially turned out to be false, the People's Bank of China ordered several exchanges to shut in early April increasing the difficulty of buying and selling Bitcoin in the world's most populous nation.
Computer manufacturer Dell announces that customers in the United States can now purchase any product on using Bitcoin. A number of other online retailers had previously announced they would accept Bitcoin but Dell was by far the largest company to do so at this juncture. After touching $400 in April, the value of a single bitcoin rises above $600 during June and July. Getty Images
In early August 2014 a hacker generates $84,000 worth of Bitcoins, and other crypto-currencies, by taking over a Canadian internet service provider and diverting the computing power of private Bitcoin mines for his or her own benefit. The incident is far from the first Bitcoin hack. Experts suggest the lack of regulatory oversight on digital currencies means investors will always be susceptible to risks unassociated with currencies or other types of asset. Getty Images
Russia Today reports that financial regulators in Russia are discussing legislation outlawing the "exchange of Bitcoin into real money" in the country. According to the plans, anyone who trades in crypto-currencies or is involved in mining them could face a fine or prosecution. Others within the Russian parliament, however, were quoted by RT as saying that banning Bitcoin would make no real sense. John R. Coughlin/CNN Money
Emily Spaven, Managing Editor at CoinDesk: "Bitcoin is still very much in its infancy. It's in the process of finding its feet, which explains the wild price volatility we have seen over the past few years.

We've not seen the end of this volatility, but I believe the price will begin to stabilize over the coming year or so. More and more notable retailers are starting to accept Bitcoin and an increasing number of businessmen and women with impressive track records are entering the space. All of this serves to increase public awareness of Bitcoin and encourages more people to give it a try.

This activity will continue in 2015, but I also think we'll see some governments move towards some form of regulation in the digital currency sphere, so it's not smooth sailing quite yet.

(Nevertheless) some people think Bitcoin is a load of nonsense and will die out in a matter of years, but I really can't see that happening. The technology behind Bitcoin is so revolutionary (it makes the transfer of money so incredibly quick) that there's no chance people are going to give up on it. Bitcoin might not be the one that makes it in the long run, but some form of crypto-currency or other use of a block chain certainly will."
Courtesy Emily Spaven
David Yermack, Professor of finance, NYU Stern: "We'll have to wait and see but I wouldn't hold your breath that anything big is going to happen with Bitcoin in the future.
It wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see the best bits of Bitcoin be grafted into new products and services (like facilitating international transfers).

Bitcoin itself probably doesn't stand a chance any more than Napster or Netscape in the browser wars. A lot of the breakthrough products tend to get taken over pretty quickly by improved versions and I think that's likely going to be the fate of Bitcoin.

It's certainly played a role in getting people's attention in raising issues and opening possibilities that people were only dimly aware of before. But if I owned Bitcoins, I would be a seller at the current market price as I think a year from now they me be all but worthless.

I don't think they will ever go as close to what they were a year or two ago and volatility for sure will endure."
Courtesy David Yermack
Mark T. Williams, Master lecturer in finance, Boston University: "More uncertainty continues about the future of Bitcoin. There are now over 550 virtual currencies in circulation, many waiting and hoping Bitcoin will stumble.

All these market events (like the hacker attacks, the risk alerts from various governmental agencies and the banning of Bitcoin exchanges in territories like China) have further demonstrated that despite the promotions from the enthusiasts Bitcoin is extremely risky for businesses and consumers.

In November 2013, at the market peak of $1,200, Bitcoin was priced for perfection. By October 2014, at $350, Bitcoin is down by 70 percent.

What's happened in this time is that reality has crept in and Bitcoin has not lived up to its promise so the market has really started to price in the perceived risk. I would argue that the true price should be much lower and in fact should be single digits.
Exactly when that happens is up to the market. I think the market will price in the risk eventually."
Courtesy Mark T. Williams
Joel Raziel, entrepreneur and director, Future Coins: "I think there's so much potential for Bitcoin on so many different levels and I'm very excited to see how it all develops. None of us know exactly how it will pan out and the beauty of it is that everyday things are changing. Everyday people are creating interesting ideas.

(Already Bitcoin) allows merchants to avoid transaction fees, makes business transactions cheaper and allows people to send money anywhere in the world without paying.

A Swedish minister said that Bitcoin is to banks what the email was to the post office and I couldn't agree more.
I believe the biggest hurdle for crypto-currencies is getting non-technical people to adopt it. Often I hear people tell me they can't understand it.

I think we have to simplify it and make it user friendly so people can just have an app and purchase things really simply.
I'd like to see things just cut out the technological jargon and make it available and accessible to any member of the public. That's how I think it could really grow."
Courtesy Joel Raziel