While 2015 has turned out to be a bad year for gold, stock markets and commodities, it has produced significant gains for digital currency Bitcoin.
The digital currency has appreciated 37% against the US dollar since the beginning of the year, despite a rough ride almost throughout the first 10 months of 2015. After starting the year at $313, the currency fell below $175 in mid-January. It is currently trading at $430, according to CoinDesk's composite price index.
Although it is difficult to ascertain the reasons behind Bitcoin's sharp rally since October, analysts tracking the currency attribute the gains to a few headlines like launch of an exchange by the Winklevoss twins and the Digital Currency Group's funding raising from Bain and MasterCard.
In November, 70% of the gains for the currency came from these headlines, the digital ecosystem watchers told CNBC. Fear of missing out (FOMO) among speculators could also be a factor behind its performance.
"The year-end run up was the result of a series of positive trends for the asset," said Brendan O'Connor, CEO of bitcoin trading firm Genesis Global Trading.
O'Connor said fund-raising announcement from start-ups dealing with bitcoin helped "establish the legitimacy of the sector." This has driven institutional investors to put money in both the digital token and the over-the-counter Bitcoin Investment Trust.
"They're looking for investments in non-correlated asset classes," O'Connor said. "I still think by and large they're viewing it as a speculative investment, but I think their willingness to test the waters has increased dramatically."
O'Connor said another major trend in the space is gaining importance for technology in remittance payments and daily usage of currency in "monetarily challenged" areas in the world.
The potential of bitcoin was also widely discussed when the debt crisis in Greece was at the peak in July after it defaulted on repayment of loans. The country had imposed capital controls that led many media outlets to highlight the merits of bitcoin. Investors in the digital currency said the press coverage had helped in "boosting awareness of bitcoin's potential".