US-headquartered international banking giant Citi just released a mostly bullish 107-page report about Bitcoin (BTC), its achievements and what might happen next, while some other analysts forecast “a downward spiral” for BTC.

In its report from the GPS series, Citi stressed three developments for Bitcoin:

“Growing acceptance by businesses, availability at ATMs, and payment services indicate cryptocurrencies are increasingly gaining a presence in the mainstream.”
“As crypto business models mature and institutional demand increases, existing entities are revamping their offerings and new entrants are emerging to provide enhanced data and exchange, trading, and custody services for institutional investors.”
“As its global reach continues to expand, Bitcoin’s borderless design and other features may position it to become an international trade currency in the future.”
Per the authors of the report, the resistance that BTC faced in its early days “may now be melting away.”

“The vision of Bitcoin as a force that will transform the world may seem self-evident in just a few more years. The fact this progression has occurred in just over a decade makes Bitcoin remarkable regardless of its future,” they said.

According to them, it’s still unknown whether BTC maintains its position and how far the potential transformation it has inspired extends. In either case, “Bitcoin’s journey has clearly entered a new stage.”

Meanwhile, the report also listed several obstacles to Bitcoin’s progress:

“Institutional investors are frustrated about the lack of capital efficiency in the way both Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are utilized.”
“Bitcoin and other altcoins held in digital wallets are not government-issued and thus lack the protections such currency typically posses.”
“Concerns about illicit or illegal activity due to the anonymous nature of transactions on the public blockchain are another point of consideration for institutional participants.”
“Tether is not fully transparent and does not allow for the audit of its collateral reserve.” (Learn more: Tether & Bitfinex Settle NY AG’s Probe, Expect More Transparency)
“With asset managers increasingly focused on their own firm’s and their investment portfolios’ ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] impacts and with many institutional investors already leaders in the ESG space, this consideration might inhibit their interest in Bitcoin.”
Increased regulatory certainty may trigger crypto native backlash, divide liquidity: “Many of the most innovative and talented developers may choose to withdraw from established platforms deploying more extensive oversight and monitoring. This could end up dividing the liquidity in the system.”
“Other cryptocurrencies may overtake and displace bitcoin.”
“Macro environment may shift and siphon-off institutional interest.”
ESG related concerns have also been highlighted by BCA Research Inc., a Canada-based independent provider of global investment research and investment strategy advice. According to them, environmental, social and governance-focused funds are likely to shun companies associated with Bitcoin due to the large energy consumption by miners on computer networks, as reported by Bloomberg.

“Many companies have cozied up to Bitcoin in order to associate themselves with the digital currency’s technological mystique. As ESG funds start to flee Bitcoin, its price will begin a downward spiral. Stay away,” BCA Research Chief Global Strategist Peter Berezin was quoted as saying in the report.

At the time of writing (12:08 PM UTC), BTC trades at USD 47,960 and is up by 5% in a day, trimming its weekly losses to 17%. It rallied by 40% in a month and 460% in a year.