After its rocket ride crashed back to Earth at the end of 2017, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have spent much of the past year in the doldrums. But in recent weeks things have been turning around, with the big BTC surpassing $6,000 per for the first time this year. But is there anyway to know if Bitcoin is really back?

As with many investments, opinions vary widely. Before looking into the future, it's worth looking at where we are and where we've been to ask perhaps a more salient question: did Bitcoin ever really go anywhere?

In its decade-long history, the value of the pioneering cryptocurrency has actually followed a pretty reliable trajectory. That is to say, over the full term Bitcoin's value has only grown, much like many stocks, real estate and precious metals. It has seen dramatic run-ups in price followed by painful crashes, but it has consistently retained a significant portion of its previous gains each time it plummets. 

In other words, Bitcoin has reliably taken two steps forward and only one step back when it tanks.  While the crypto captain lost roughly 75 percent of its value after peaking at a price of almost $20,000 per digital coin at the end of 2017, its lowest price from the last twelve months was still double where it stood in May of 2017.

Now, that price point is up again by 75 percent from its bottom in January, leading many to wonder if another great run-up in price could already be underway. If that turns out to be the case, and Bitcoin follows its historic pattern of increasing in price by an order of magnitude, we could be looking at $100,000 per Bitcoin.

Editor's note: Bitcoin and digital currencies, as with any investment, may involve the risk of loss. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned that virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, carry "significant risk" to consumers.

I know, it sounds like fantasy. But once upon a time we said the same thing about $100 per Bitcoin, and then about $1,000 per coin, and then about $10,000 per... You get the idea.

Yes, this is pretty cheap analysis, but plenty of Bitcoin "bulls" like John McAfee (an eccentric bull, to say the least) subscribe to this outlook.

A few other factors support the idea that this latest Bitcoin recovery should be taken seriously. As CNBC reports, institutional investors have taken an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies.

"We're gonna struggle around $6,000 for a while; we're gonna take out $6,000, we're gonna be much higher," said Bitcoin booster and founder of Galaxy Digital in conversation with Bloomberg. "It's a self-fulfilling prophecy in lots of ways."

Of course, there's still plenty of naysayers, headlined by Warren Buffet, who continue to maintain that crypto is nothing more than the latest bubble. But if that's the case, how many times will it burst and refuse to die only to come back stronger?

While $6,000 is well below the 2017 high price, it's worth noting that the first time Bitcoin crossed the $6,000 point was in October, 2017.That was only two months before tripling in price to reach its peak. So when cryptos get up a head of steam, they tend to trigger all sorts of FOMO and go "parabolic."

Can't wait to see what the next few months hold for Bitcoin and the slew of cryptos that tend to follow its price chart. 

Disclosure: I own a small amount of Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies.

Published on: May 9, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.