The growth of bitcoin in terms of investment is outpacing that of the early stage internet by almost 25%, according to the latest figures.

Venture capitalist investment in bitcoin startups is projected to be $786m (£506m) in 2015, compared with $639m in internet companies in 1996.

Data gathered by CoinDesk and PriceewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the State of Bitcoin Q2 2015 report also revealed investment in bitcoin startups will double year-on-year from 2014.

The venture capital funding includes the $116m raised by the San Francisco-based 21 Inc in March, the most ever by a startup in the cryptocurrency sector.

Lead investor Marc Andreessen from Andreessen Horowitz said at the time that bitcoin was similar to the internet in its early years, as it is a "fringe technology" with "fringe characters" and "fringe politics".

Andreessen said: "In 1994, as a venture capital firm, it would have been a good idea to take the internet seriously and it would have been a good idea to invest in a cross-section of [internet] companies."

Other notable bitcoin startup funding rounds in 2015 included $50m in Circle, $28m in Ripple Labs and $75m in bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase.

This is the second year in a row that investment in bitcoin firms has outpaced the early stage internet and if it follows the same trajectory, venture capital investment could surpass $2bn in 2016.

According to figures from PwC, internet companies raised $1.88bn from venture capital investments in 1997.

Other findings from the State of Bitcoin report included how bitcoin's improved stability is driving its use as a currency, with price volatility down 84%.

Despite this, the number of merchants accepting bitcoin is slowing and interest from consumers remains below 50%.