The key to bitcoin finding more users in 2015 might lie in government regulation, experts said. Increased consumer protection, they said, would boost adoption as it both legitimizes the technology and reassures those on the fence about buying into the cryptocurrency world.
"If the average Joe sees that the U.S. government has OK'd this technology and given guidelines for this technology to be built on, in their eyes that's legitimacy," Sullivan said.
Governments around the world are currently considering bitcoin regulation. Within the U.S. this charge has been led by the BitLicense currently under revision by Benjamin Lawsky, New York state superintendent of financial services. This license would certify businesses managing bitcoin transactions and require them to maintain certain records.
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Lawsky's office said earlier this month that the license should be finalized by early 2015.
Regulation will not only boost consumer confidence in the technology, but it will also remove many of the barriers preventing more companies and investors from becoming involved in the space, SecondMarket's O'Connor said.
"We are very close to getting a regulatory framework in place, and that will be a huge boon for the industry," he said. "Once it's more black and white, you are going to see more institutional folks buying into the asset class, and the price will go up."
There are also challenges to overcome with the perception of bitcoin as a tool for crime. Earlier this month a district court sentenced high-profile bitcoin advocate, Charlie Shrem, to two years in prison for indirectly sending $1 million in bitcoin to the Silk Road—an online black market known for selling illegal drugs.
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A reputation shift, bitcoin experts said, could come from increased company adoption and financial investment.
"I think this year bitcoin put the early days behind itself," Armstrong said. "It's really hard to argue that bitcoin doesn't have many legitimate benefits to companies that are legal businesses when you have Dell and Expedia and all these companies now accepting it."
Many big-name investors have also added legitimacy to the cryptocurrency by putting "their money where their mouth is" and doubling down on bitcoin technology, Armstrong said.