Source: CoinDesk

The digital currency has had a stellar year, rising by more than 200 percent and easily outperforming stock market benchmarks like the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq composite in 2017. The cryptocurrency has now more than tripled in value since trading at $968 on Dec. 31, and has gained nearly 30 percent in June alone.

Bitcoin in 2017

Source: CoinDesk

Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of BKCM and a CNBC contributor, told CNBC this week that the cryptocurrency was “in the first years of what is likely to be a multi-year bull market. Of course there will be corrections and even crashes along the way, but bitcoin is here to stay.”

A contributing factor to bitcoin’s recent surge is growing demand from Asia. In addition to the China factor, Japanese interest has risen ever since the government approved bitcoin as a legal payment method in April.

Investors also plowed more money into the currency after Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari commented on the blockchain technology behind bitcoin, saying it “has more potential than bitcoin itself.”

—CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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