The digital currency bitcoin has been rapidly gaining momentum throughout 2017, and on Monday it reached a major milestone, surpassing $10,000 for the first time. This represents an 875 percent increase over where the coin’s value stood at the start of this calendar year.

Bitcoin, which was first introduced in January 2009, took a roundabout path to this new apex. Its value barely hovered above zero until 2013, when it gradually began to rise, though it still never peaked above $1,000 a coin until this year. In 2017, the price of a single coin has risen nearly $9,000—more than 875 percent.

According to Business Insider, industry insiders are expecting the coin’s momentum to continue into next year Traditional financial services firms might even enter a market that’s traditionally been dominated by smaller traders.

“2018 is the year when things start moving with regards to institutions moving into the market and dominating it,” said Bartek Ringwelski, the U.S. chief operating officer of Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer.

This continued progress is not guaranteed, however. While the virtual coin’s value has enjoyed rapid growth in 2017, the strong numbers have come amid some setbacks. Major power brokers in the industry have debated how the coin should scale up in value, and one such dispute led the cryptocurrency to split back in August, with two derivative currencies forming: bitcoin classic and bitcoin cash.

Despite the coin’s rise, there are still skeptics. Business Insider noted that earlier this year renowned economist Robert Shiller called the cryptocurrency “the best example of a bubble,” while others argued that the coins were only useful for criminals.

“I think that has to do with the motivating quality of the bitcoin story. And I’ve seen it in my students at Yale. You start talking about bitcoin and they’re excited! And I think, what’s so exciting? You have to think like humanities people. What is this bitcoin story?” Shiller told Quartz earlier this year.

That said, their value keeps rising, and new positive developments continue to trickle out, such as recent moves by CME and Cboe to introduce new bitcoin futures markets.<

As of Wednesday, November 30, at 11:10 a.m. ET, bitcoin was trading at $10,011 a share.

Photo: Shutterstock

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