News of high-profile funding rounds for Bitcoin startups has come thick and fast this year, but the true extent of investment in space may take you by surprise.

As these graphics from show, total investment for Q2 2014 at US$76.8million almost outstrips the investment figure for the entire year 2013 (US$84.3million).

The climb is attributed to those startups which have rapidly risen to become household name in the industry following high-profile backing. BitPay’s US$30million series A funding by investors including Sir Richard Branson joins BitFury Group (US$20million) in providing the backbone of the figures. BitGo, the payment merchant whose services have resulted in major gains for altcoins this quarter, received US$12million.

“…the fact that smart money is continuing to invest in the space is also likely helping legitimize and provide confidence to new investors,” CB Insights notes.

This “smart money” is in no short supply with the number of investors almost doubling within the previous two quarters (CB tracked 87 at the end of Q4 2013, and 138 at the end of Q2 2014).

It would thus seem that as the season has progressed, the initial predictions made by CoinDesk’s survey in June appear to be coming true, with the similarities to Internet startup VC investment in 1995 becoming ever-more conspicuous. In that year, first sequence venture deals figures totaled US$250.1million, while as of June 14, 2014 Bitcoin had attracted US$250.48million.

“Bitcoin is a huge, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It can go either way, but if it does work out, the implications will be massive,” Rublon creator Michal Wendrowski told Cointelegraph in light of the figures.

- Michal Wendrowski

However, some are critical of the flood of investment into the space, attributing it more to the circumstantial health of the global economy with less foresight than there should perhaps have been.

“In my opinion the current bitcoin VC is a bubble caused by artificially low interest rates,” Martin Albert commented. “Also, most of the VC is invested into the dead ends of the technology (bank like exchanges, ATMs, mining, payment providers....) that do not help at all to establish bitcoin as independent currency.”

Nonetheless, Bitcoin has quite some momentum behind it, and it is difficult to dismiss the confidence of so many, especially those who have shored up the presence of alternative currencies, specifically Litecoin and Dogecoin.

What do you think is driving investment enthusiasm in 2014? Get involved and leave your comment below.