On Thursday, Bank Of America, the largest bank in the U.S, released a research study on the digital currency, Bitcoin.

What began as a way to purchase drugs, guns, hookers and porn, anonymously, continues to get mass market validation. Earlier this week we reported that online wireless accessory giant, Mobile Nations, added Bitcoin to their checkout options.

Now, via their research report Bank Of America has said they believe the Bitcoin digital currency economy could top $15 billion dollars.

Cnet reports that Bitcoin started in 2009. By 2011 Bitcoin was valued at $2. In April, it shot up to $266, today Bitcoins are valued at over $1000 dollars.

“We believe Bitcoin could become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money-transfer providers,” Bank of America said. “As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has clear potential for growth, in our view.”

Bank Of America did highlight some of the risks associated with Bitcoin. The currency isn’t government regulated which means it can be manipulated. It’s also hackable and allows people to evade currency controls easily.

BOA is also concerned with the volatility of Bitcoin. It’s huge fluctuations in value could make some leery of adopting it. They also noted that it’s skyrocketing price might cause Bitcoin to get ahead of itself and create a bubble.

More here at Cnet