Bespoke Investment Group's Dan Ciotoli believes the cryptocurrency's price could nearly triple by the end of the year — declaring that the January crash is likely behind it.
"There was a big run-up in December, and then we kind of saw these get-rich-quick-investors exiting the space. Everyone rushed in at once. So, the inevitable crash happened," he said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "Now it's starting to recover. We saw a bottom around $9,000."
Ciotoli, a blockchain analyst and software engineer, is out with a year-end forecast placing bitcoin prices in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.
"The driver I think is going to bring bitcoin up in 2018 is bitcoin denominated commerce," he added — noting that converting it into dollars right now is too pricey.
For his bullish forecast to stick, Ciotoli says it depends on the success of the Lightning Network, a technological endeavor that's expected to roll out this year. The network's goal is to bring in a new wave of buyers by making bitcoin transactions faster and cheaper.
If the network fails, Ciotoli says, his year-end bitcoin target could drop as low as $5,000.
"If I don't see people actually able to use bitcoin to say 'buy Starbucks' or something. I'd be worried that people would slowly lose interest, the price kind of levels off or even goes down," he said.
It would be an unwelcome scenario, but even that wouldn't spell the end of bitcoin, according to Ciotoli.
"The technology is here to stay, and I think it'll be interesting to see how things play out over the next year," Ciotoli said.
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