Bitcoin Price History

Bitcoin has had a very volatile trading history since it was first created in 2009. The digital cryptocurrency has seen a lot of action in its fairly short life. Bitcoins initially traded for next to nothing. The first real price increase occurred in July 2010 when the valuation of a bitcoin went from around $0.0008 to $0.08 for a single coin.

The currency has seen some major rallies and crashes since then. Interest in bitcoin is surging in 2020 as it has regained its losses and pushed past its previous all-time high. Bitcoin has now surpassed its last all-time high of $19,783 and has pushed to over $23,000 as of Dec. 17, 2020. There are currently more than 18.5 million Bitcoins in circulation and it now has a market capitalization of over $428 billion.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin is the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency in the world. It is considered the most widespread and successful.
  • Launched in 2009, the price of one bitcoin remained a few dollars for its first few years.
  • The price has reached a new all-time high of over $23,000 in 2020.
  • Bitcoin's halving, the maturity of the overall crypto industry, and institutional interest in using Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation are all factors driving its increase in price.

When Did Bitcoin Start?

Bitcoin was invented by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and released as open-source software in early 2009. The first transaction took place between Nakamoto and an early adopter of bitcoin in January 2009. The first real-world transaction happened in 2010 when a bitcoin miner bought two pizzas from a Papa John's in Florida for 10,000 bitcoins.

The currency is based upon a blockchain that contains a public ledger of all the transactions in the bitcoin network. Those participating in the currency can mine for bitcoins using computer power. Initial interest in the currency was small, particularly among cryptographers and those seeking to engage in transactions that could not be easily traced.

Over time, the currency gained wider exposure—both good and bad. More retailers opened up to using bitcoin in 2012 and 2013. However, federal authorities shut down the Silk Road website, which used bitcoins for black market transactions, in October 2013.

If you're interested in trading bitcoins, you can trade them on an exchange or through a broker-dealer.

The popular Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange also went under in 2014. Originally started as a site for trading game cards, it evolved into a marketplace for bitcoins. As of May 2013, 150,000 bitcoins were traded on the exchange per day. But accusations of fraud surrounded the exchange when it closed down in 2014. The exchange lost around 850,000 bitcoins, although some of them have since been found.

Bitcoin is now traded on a number of independent licensed and regulated exchanges, such as Coinbase, Kraken, or Gemini. The currency can also be bought and sold through broker-dealers. There may be slight differences in the prices among the different exchanges, which could lead to arbitrage opportunities across the different exchanges.

Bitcoin price

Early Trading: Bitcoin History

Bitcoin really started to take off in 2013. The digital currency began the year trading at around $13.50 per bitcoin. The price rallied in early April 2013, briefly reaching a height of over $220 before dropping back down to around $70 by mid-April. This was the first real rally and associated crash for the currency.

Bitcoin began to rally in October and November of 2013. The currency traded at around $100 in early October and topped at around $195 by the end of the month. In November, the price went from around $200 to over $1,075 by the end of the month. The rally was caused by new bitcoin exchanges and miners in China entering the marketplace. This was the same period when the Mt. Gox exchange was operating. Mt. Gox was involved in around 70% of all bitcoin transactions.

The price began to get very volatile after reaching these highs. Rumors of a lack of security through Mt. Gox, as well as poor management, made the market nervous. People had problems withdrawing their money from the exchange. The price reached a high of $1,079 on Dec. 4, 2013. This fell to around $760 by December 7, a drop of around 29% over a couple of days.

Trading stabilized to some degree to around $920 in January 2014. However, there was another major crash in early February, around the time the Mt. Gox exchange filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan. Bitcoin was trading at around $850 on February 4, but it cratered to around $580 by February 16—a decline of around 32%. The price then fell into a slower and more gradual decline. The currency was trading at around $600 in the middle of July 2014. It eroded to around $315 at the beginning of 2015.

The price stabilized to some extent during the summer of 2015. However, early November saw another massive spike. The currency went from around $275 on October 23 to a brief close of about $460 on November 4 on certain exchanges. The currency sold off somewhat and traded around $360 at the end of November 2015. Through 2016 Bitcoin steadily rose, breaking through $1,000 in early 2017.

The Meteoric Rises and Falls of Bitcoin

In the fall of 2017, the price of bitcoin began to rise. In October of that year, the price broke through $5,000 and doubled again in November to $10,000. Then, on December 17, the price of one bitcoin reached $19,783. Several commentators and critics called this a price bubble, many of whom made comparisons to the Dutch Tulipmania of the 17th century. Indeed, just a few weeks later, the price of bitcoin fell rapidly, crashing all the way down below $7,000 by April 2018 and below $3,500 by November 2018.

In 2019, bitcoin saw a new resurgence in price and volume, rising in fits and bursts to around $10,000 by June. Since history tends to repeat itself, the price of bitcoin fell back down to around $7,000 by the end of the year.

That changed in 2020. As mentioned above, renewed interest piqued among investors. In fact, the number of people holding more than 1,000 coins has jumped. Prices rose steadily over the year, starting out at $7,200 on January 1 and closing at $18,353 on November 23. That's an increase of roughly 155%. Bitcoin then took off even further as institutions began to recognize it as a store of value during the rapidly increasing inflation of the dollar from COVID-19 stimulus spending. Bitcoin's price reached a peak of just under $24,000 in Dec. 2020, giving it a year-to-date increase of 224% and an all-time history increase of nearly 500,000% on the Bitstamp exchange.

Bitcoin's Price History FAQs

At What Price Did Bitcoin Start?

Bitcoin first started trading from around $0.0008 to $0.08 in July 2010 per coin.

How Much Was One Bitcoin Worth in 2009?

The value of bitcoin was $0 when it was first introduced in 2009.

How What Will Bitcoin Be Worth in 2030?

Predictions for the future value of bitcoin vary based on who makes the estimate. According to Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, bitcoin could reach $500,000 per coin in 2030. According to the June 2020 Crypto Research Report, the cryptocurrency could go over $397,000 by 2030.