While the jury is still out on whether Bitcoin is a bubble, one thing is certain: it’s unlike any other bubble we’ve seen.

Previous speculative asset-inflation episodes were either a one-off, like tulip mania in the 17th century, or the boom-doom cycle took many years, like gold. Bitcoin, by comparison, has survived three peak-to-trough drawdowns of over 80 per cent in less than 10 years. The cryptocurrency surged past US$40,000 last week to set an all time high. It has fallen more than 15 per cent since then.

Man Group, the world’s biggest publicly traded hedge fund firm, compares Bitcoin to Prometheus in Greek mythology, whose liver keeps growing back, every time a giant eagle pecked it out.

“Every time a Bitcoin bubble bursts, another grows back to replace it,” Man Group’s analysts wrote in a note dated Jan. 12. “This very frequency makes the Bitcoin narrative somewhat atypical relative to the great bubbles of the past.”

“Instead of considering each individual spike and fall as a discrete bubble, there may be more merit in the argument that this volatility is simply part of the price discovery in a new asset class, and that these are not bubbles, but part of a not-so-random walk that will eventually dwindle to give Bitcoin more stability, and ultimately, legitimacy,” the analysts wrote.