The original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has captured the hearts and minds of countless crypto idealists and investors worldwide. From its humble beginnings, it’s sparked a financial revolution, spearheaded a new wave of decentralization, made people millionaires, and been the inspiration for hundreds of memes. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Bitcoin has a volatile history with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster.
From its first jump in 2010, Bitcoin has undergone several disheartening crashes and encouraging rallies. So, strap on your seatbelts and join us as we take a ride through Bitcoin’s volatile price history.
Table of Contents
Bitcoin Price History Overview
Image sourced from Coinmarketcap
- Launched in 2009 at an initial price of $0.00, Bitcoin jumped to US$0.09 in 2010.
- Within 4 years, it reached a price of US$100.
- In 2017, it surpassed US$10,000 but then slumped downwards to $3,421 in 2018.
- In 2021, Bitcoin reached its all-time high price of US$68,789.63.
- The price plummeted as low as US$16,602 in the 2021–2022 crash.
- Since then, the price has gradually climbed and is currently sitting at about US$25,000.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009 following the publishing of the Bitcoin whitepaper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” This whitepaper outlined the underlying technology as well as the primary use cases of Bitcoin—a decentralized digital currency that could be used for peer-to-peer transactions and as a store of value.
The price of Bitcoin was slow to take off as it was primarily used by a handful of cypherpunks and libertarians. The first real-world transaction took place in 2010 when an early adopter paid another person 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. At the time, Bitcoin had no real value as it was mainly experimental. However, the transaction was estimated to be worth $25 at the time.
By 2011, Bitcoin had grown in value exponentially. In mid-2011, one BTC was worth US$31. However, much of this meteoric rise was due to market speculation and manipulation. Bitcoin underwent a major price correction as well as a drop in investor confidence due to a hack of Mt. Gox, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges at the time. By November 2011, BTC was valued at only US$2.
In 2012, the price of Bitcoin experienced more steady and reliable growth, reaching US$13. This boost in confidence led to another soar in price, with Bitcoin first breaking the US$100 barrier in early 2013, then the $1,000 barrier near the end of the year. Yet again, BTC went through a significant price correction, dropping to US$500 at one point.
2014 was a bad year for the crypto market overall, with a major hack of Mt. Gox that resulted in 850,000 BTC being lost. BTC started the year at $770 and ended at about US$300. 2015 followed a pattern of steady growth with minor variances and resulted in Bitcoin being valued at approximately $500 at the end of the year.
2016 continued this pattern of steady growth and mild fluctuations, with Bitcoin climbing to US$900 by the year’s end. By this stage, other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum had begun to crop up as Bitcoin started hitting headlines. Then in 2017, Bitcoin broke the US$1,000 barrier for a second time. Market confidence rose, and Bitcoin first passed the US$2,000 mark and then skyrocketed to a high of US$19,345.49.
Another price correction in 2018 adjusted the price massively back down to about US$13,000. A combination of competition, increased governmental scrutiny, and a general drop in hype resulted in Bitcoin finishing out the year at $3,800. 2019 was characterized by intermittent volatility and stagnation, with a brief spike over the US$10,000 mark before a drop to approx $6,635 in December 2019.
In 2020 the pandemic hit, and markets worldwide experienced significant stress. Bitcoin dropped to about $4,000. However, investor interest in Bitcoin then surged as investors saw it as a way to protect their assets in light of global financial strife. A major bull run began, and Bitcoin finished out the year at $29,000.
This meteoric rise showed no initial signs of stopping, and the price continued to rise significantly throughout the first quarter of 2021. By April 2021, Bitcoin reached a high of $63,558, as Coinbase, one of the largest exchanges, went live. Increased institutional adoption, mainstream acceptance, and growing interest from retail investors all resulted in a remarkable price appreciation.
Then the value dropped by almost 50% to $29,796 in July. The price continued to fluctuate wildly, and Bitcoin reached its all-time high of US$68,789 in November. By the end of 2021, it had dropped again to about $47,000.
In 2022, the crypto markets took a serious downturn. Worries about the global economy, the impact of Covid-19, and overconfident speculation all combined to lower the price below $40,000.
Then in May, several stablecoins all collapsed, causing a so-called “death spiral.” Crypto market confidence plummeted, and the value of BTC dropped under $30,00 for the first time that year. June saw a further crash to under $23,000.
This bear market continued throughout the year to a low of US$16,602 in November, the first time since 2020. This was influenced by the collapse of FTX, a major US-based exchange.
So far this year, market recovery has been slow. The price of Bitcoin reached as high as $29,000 in April and now sits at about $25,000.
What factors affect Bitcoin’s price?
The price of Bitcoin is affected by a range of factors, including the following:
- Market Demand and Adoption: Market demand and mainstream adoption hugely influence the price of Bitcoin. As Bitcoin has gained acceptance in more mainstream channels, the price has often risen. Reduced demand has also resulted in the price dropping.
- Market Sentiment and Speculation: Market sentiment and investor speculation play a significant role in the price movements of Bitcoin. News headlines, social media, and announcements can all massively affect the price.
- Mining and Halving: The supply of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million BTC. The rate at which Bitcoin can be mined is halved every four years. This reducing supply and quadrennial halving can contribute to a rise in the price of BTC.
- Regulatory Environment: As regulations are announced or changed, there are often fluctuations in the price of BTC. Significant cases, such as the SEC vs. Binance case, can negatively affect market confidence, while favorable regulation can lead to an uptick.
- Technological Advancements: Innovative developments in the underlying technology of Bitcoin can positively impact the price of BTC.
- Economic Factors: Outside factors such as inflation rates, economic instability, geopolitical events, and monetary policy decisions can all influence the price of Bitcoin.
- Market Manipulation: Actions by large players called whales can result in price volatility and sudden price movements.
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Will the price of Bitcoin go up?
The price of Bitcoin, like any other investment, is influenced by a multitude of factors, including market demand, regulatory developments, and investor sentiment. The cryptocurrency market is also highly volatile, and Bitcoin’s price has experienced significant fluctuations in the past. As a result, it is impossible to make definitive predictions.
Is Bitcoin a good investment?
As with any cryptocurrency, you should conduct thorough research and seek advice from a financial professional.
What is Bitcoin’s all-time high?
In November 2021, Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $68,789 before closing out the day at $64,995.