According to a group of analysts at Barclays Plc., Bitcoin’s unpredicted price rise late last year is analogous to the propagation of an infectious disease. Per the analysts, bitcoin’s price may never recover if the ‘bubble’ bursts.

In a note sent to clients, a group of Barclays analysts headed by Joseph Abate related the current cryptocurrency market slip to the world of epidemiology, where people reach an ‘immunity threshold’ from infectious diseases. In bitcoin’s case, buyers develop ‘immunity’ to the cryptocurrency market’s appeal, according to analysts.

An excerpt from the note reads:

“As more of the population become asset holders, the share of the population available to become new buyers — the potential ‘host’ population — falls, while the share of the population that are potential sellers (‘recoveries’) increases. Eventually, this leads to a plateauing of prices, and progressively, as random shocks to the larger supply population push up the ratio of sellers to buyers, prices begin to fall. That induces speculative selling pressure as price declines are projected forward exponentially.”

Barclays analysts

The analysts pointed out that as more people own bitcoin the market will plateau. However, most people haven’t yet invested in cryptocurrencies, making them potential buyers. Therefore, the theory may also suggest cryptocurrency prices haven’t yet peaked.

The financial institution’s analysts further developed a pricing model based on epidemiology to predict bitcoin’s future prices. According to their model, crypto investors can be split into three groups – susceptible, infected and immune. Last year, fear of missing out (FOMO) allegedly led to bitcoin’s all-time high of over $19,000, as the “infectious disease” spread.

This means bitcoin’s good days are now over, as most people were infected, and are now immune. Wall Street strategist Tom Lee, on the other hand, seemingly disagrees as he sees the flagship cryptocurrency hit $20,000 by mid-year, and $25,000 by year-end. By March 2020, Lee argues bitcoin could hit $91,000.

As covered, Lee believes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will stop plunging after April 17, the day capital gains taxes are due in the US, as he estimates US households owe over $25 billion in capital gains taxes for their cryptocurrency holdings last year.

Barclays analysts claim that the overall market capitalization of the crypto space may never exceed $800 billion, as there aren’t a lot of investors in the “susceptible” category anymore.