Bitcoin Price History 2009-2022: What Investors Need To Know


Bitcoin gold coins close-up, digital currency concept.

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On May 22, 2010, crypto miner Laszlo Hanyecz traded 10,000 of his bitcoins for two Papa John’s pizzas. It was the first real-world cryptocurrency transaction in history.

Just a little over a decade later, those same 10,000 bitcoins would be worth $391.7 million at the March 10 price of the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin price over the years

The price of bitcoin over the years has gone from being worth less than a penny to being worth a new Lexus NX 250, all in less than 15 years.

Bitcoin prices in 2009-2015: the early years

When the mysterious person(s) Satoshi Nakamoto developed bitcoin in 2008, it did not have a standard value or price. Crypto Hobbyists Who Got Started bitcoin mining in 2009, after the blockchain was launched, they used it to barter, exchange and settle bets and challenges with each other online.

It never had a fixed value until that monumental day in 2010, when Laszlo Hanyecz offered his self-mined stash of bitcoins to anyone who could get a couple of pizzas home as fast as possible.

Since the pizzas were worth about $25, according to US News & World Report, the fledgling crypto community agreed that a single bitcoin should be worth a quarter of a cent. It was a watershed moment in bitcoin price history: the cryptocurrency now had an agreed-upon value.

In July 2010, a few months after the now famous pizza standard was established, bitcoin hit open exchanges like the now infamous and bankrupt Mt. Gox. On exchanges, cryptocurrency could easily be bought, sold and quoted against the US dollar. It opened with a starting price of $0.0008. It’s eight ten thousandths of a dollar. The wild ride of the next decade would begin almost immediately. By the end of the month, the price of bitcoin had shot up to $0.08, a whole eight cents.

February 2011 was a milestone for bitcoin, breaking the $1 mark that month. Then something happened for the first time that would come to define investing in bitcoin: a bubble formed. By June, just a few months later, bitcoin had shot up to around $31 before the bubble did what bubbles do. It exploded and the price fell back to single digits.

Another watershed moment came in 2013. Bitcoin started the year trading at around $12, according to Forbes. By the end of November, that number had jumped to $1,242, an incredible record for bitcoin, which was trading at almost exactly the same price as an ounce of gold at the time. Later, prices fell back into the low triple digits and stayed there, until they didn’t.

2016-2020: dotcom comparisons

In 2016, bitcoin moved into the high triple digits, and in early 2017, it broke $1,000 again.

In a streak that drew comparisons to the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, it took off and never stopped until it peaked on December 16, 2017, at $19,497.40. It was just another bubble. Prices soon collapsed below $10,000, bottoming out in the low $3,000s in late 2018 and early 2019.

In 2019, prices briefly topped $10,000 again before fading into a four-figure low break. Then came the 2020 pandemic. COVID-19 made discreet, secure, decentralized bitcoin a hot commodity that continued to heat up and hasn’t cooled down to 2019 levels since.

Bitcoin started 2020 at $7,200. By mid-summer, he was back in five figures, where he remains to this day. By mid-December, it had broken the 2017 record and was trading above $20,000 for the first time.

2021 and beyond

Bitcoin was trading at just over $32,000 when the markets closed on January 2, 2021.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on February 8, 2021, Tesla announced that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin the previous month and hoped to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for its products in the near future. By the end of the day, the value of bitcoin had risen nearly 19% to $46,196. It hit $50,000 for the first time about a week later on February 16.

Bitcoin had already broken above $61,000 and dropped back to $54,738 when Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet on March 24, 2021, “You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin.” Within days, bitcoin prices began an uptrend, settling in the upper $50,000s.

Once again, the bubble was destined to burst. Citing the “rapid increase in the use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions,” Musk announced in a May tweet that Tesla had suspended bitcoin vehicle purchases. The currency took another hit that month when China cracked down on cryptocurrency mining and trading and announced that regulators would investigate cryptocurrencies and energy use, Reuters reported at the time. The one-two punch cost bitcoin 37% of its value that month.

Bitcoin entered another bubble phase last year, reaching its highest price of $68,789.63 on November 10, 2021, and ended the year up almost 70% since the beginning of the year, CNBC reported. Once again, the rally was short-lived.

Bitcoin had crashed back into the $30,000 to $40,000 range at the end of January, and that is where it currently stands. Some analysts think it has more to go. Carol Alexander, a finance professor at the University of Sussex, told CNBC that she expects Bitcoin to drop below $10,000. The volatility stems from what she sees as bitcoin’s lack of intrinsic value, Alexander said.

But not everyone agrees. In an October 2021 interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Jurrien Timmer, director of global macro at Fidelity Investments, said that while he knows better than to make bold price predictions, his supply and demand models indicate that stock prices bitcoin could hit $100,000 in the next couple of years.

Good to know

Bitcoin has a maximum supply of 21 million coins. Nearly 19 million are currently in circulation, leaving just over two million to be mined.

An analysis of the price of Bitcoin over the years

Bitcoin’s price history is a history of extremes. The first extreme is obvious: astronomical growth. In gains that are truly hard to grasp, bitcoin started at $0.0008 and rose to nearly $70,000 in just over a decade.

The second extreme came in the form of volatility. The decade was dotted with massive bubbles that, when burst, triggered free-falling prices that then floated sideways for years until the next bubble formed. That pattern began in 2011 and has been repeated every few years.

What has influenced Bitcoin prices?

Those speculative bubbles seem to have formed in times of crisis, fear and uncertainty. Bitcoin was developed in 2008 as an alternative to the traditional financial system at the height of the Great Recession.

One bubble formed around the election of Donald Trump, another around his impeachment, and the biggest of all came during the biggest crisis of all: the pandemic. Whether the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have a similar effect remains to be seen.

The drama in the early years of bitcoin also made the ride that much bumpier. Ponzi schemes and other frauds that had nothing to do with bitcoin, such as BitConnect and OneCoin, had a ripple effect that was felt by all cryptocurrency investors.

The Mt. Gox disaster changed everything

The first, largest and best known exchange, Mt. Gox processed 70% of all bitcoin transactions. In 2011, the first in an endless series of scandals erupted when a hacker broke into the now-infamous bitcoin wallet and transferred tokens from user accounts.

The bitcoin price crashed as new thefts and hacks were revealed. Legal issues mounted, the government got involved, and Mt. Gox finally filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

In total, 740,000 bitcoins worth nearly $29 million in today’s money were lost. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general lost their credibility from the mainstream and gained a reputation as a shady, insecure and speculative investment in many circles.

The Law of Supply and Demand

Some cryptocurrencies have no limit on the number of coins that can be created, and others have such high limits that they are meaningless in terms of scarcity. Not so with bitcoin. The relatively low supply limit and declining amount of new coins remaining to be mined, coupled with institutional support that has helped solidify bitcoin’s position as the gold standard of cryptocurrencies, have kept demand strong relative to demand. offer.

FAQ: The History of Bitcoin Prices

When it comes to the cost of cryptocurrencies, these are the questions many investors are asking.

  • What was the original price of bitcoin?
    • Zero dollars. In the early days, bitcoin was informally mined, traded, and exchanged almost exclusively by crypto hobbyists. There were no exchanges or exchange fees until it began trading for fractions of a penny in 2010.
  • What was the highest price of a bitcoin?
    • On November 10, 2021, BTC reached an all-time high of $68,789.63.
  • When did bitcoin cost $1?
    • Bitcoin first achieved parity with the US dollar in February 2011.
  • How much will bitcoin be worth in 2030?
    • Bitcoin, like all cryptocurrencies, is highly speculative. It is impossible to predict how much it might be worth in the future.
    • As CoinDesk points out, bitcoin could crash and replace fiat currencybecome the dominant digital currency or replace credit cards, but it could also collapse and be replaced by something else, be regulated or taxed to irrelevance or lose to a competitor.

Put off

During its brief 14-year existence, bitcoin has outperformed the stock market, real estate market, and precious metals by far during one of the longest stretches of any investment in history. It’s been a wild and unpredictable ride characterized by super-inflated bubbles and steep crashes, but those who could handle the roller coaster saw a fortune grow from a pizza.

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Darya Uhlig contributed to the reporting of this article.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was previously one of the youngest nationally syndicated columnists for the nation’s largest newspaper syndicate, Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the largest newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as the style editor for, a financial publication in the heart of New York City’s Wall Street investment community. .