Adherents claim it's the currency of the future, skeptics see a major speculative bubble.
But for the moment, bitcoin's price shows no signs of retreating.
The global cryptocurrency zoomed past $11,000 on Wednesday to hit a record high for the sixth day in a row, surging more than $1,000 in just 12 hours. The price of a single bitcoin has soared more than 1,000 percent since the start of the year, adding another 15 percent on Wednesday alone.
One look at the price chart has fed fears a major bubble is forming and could be about to burst. But the recent price spike follows multiple warnings over the last 12 months that the virtual currency was nearing a peak.