A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2022

Interested in investing in Bitcoin? We've got you covered! In this guide, we'll take a look at Bitcoin's price history from 2009 to 2022.

Last Updated December 27th 2021
19 Min Read

Interested in Bitcoin? We’ve got you covered! In this guide, we’ll take a look at Bitcoin’s prices history from 2009 to 2022.

Bitcoin is a truly revolutionary invention that has forever altered the way we think about currency. Bitcoin's meteoric rise and worldwide adoption are proof enough of its power. It also shows how much can change in ten short years if you're willing to challenge traditional systems.

In late 2008, an unknown person or people created the Bitcoin whitepaper. It was a different system from the money people were used to. That's because Bitcoin doesn't have any central issuing authority like banks and relies on a peer-to-peer network. 

While the whitepaper was released in 2008, the first Bitcoins weren't released until January 2009 when they were mined using an ordinary PC.  

Bitcoin has been on a rollercoaster ride since it first gained recognition. It is one of the riskiest assets out there. Nonetheless, many investors find it very attractive for its potential to grow in value over time. 

To get a better understanding of where Bitcoin could go next, it is best to look at its past. Here at Trading Education, we take a look at Bitcoin's price history from 2009 to 2022.

2009: The Launch Of Bitcoin

The financial crisis of 2008 was heavily blamed on the banking system. The destitution it caused to the masses angered Satoshi Nakamoto (unknown figure) enough to think of a different system, and that's how Bitcoin was born. 

In fact, on the genesis block, Satoshi left a message regarding an impending bank bailout in the U.K.

Bitcoin, the solution that Satoshi Nakamoto created, was released as open-source software to be accessed and used by anyone with an internet connection.

Bitcoin was not an ordinary currency, though. Its value, to begin with, was $0.00 back in 2009 and was arbitrary. That's because it wasn't listed on a central bank or traded publicly - so there were no established rules for what Bitcoin should be worth in regards to other currencies.

The first transactions were done through peer-to-peer agreements on an online forum called Bitcoin Talk. Traders would mutually agree on a price, and gradually interest in Bitcoin within the cryptographic community grew. 

Despite the growth in interest, Bitcoin was worth nothing all through 2009. 

2010: Bitcoin Gets A Taste Of Success

In 2010, an auction for 10,000 Bitcoin at $50 received no bidders. That's why it came as a surprise when the price of Bitcoin rallied to $0.39 within the year. 

This was such a big deal for the new currency that had only been around since 2009 when inflationary pressures from banks began driving people away towards alternative currencies like gold or silver coins. 

The excitement Bitcoin's price gain triggered pretty much ensured that Bitcoin would never trade at zero ever again. It has been on an uptrend from that point on.

Bitcoin also got a boost in 2010 when its first exchange was launched. The exchange called BitcoinMarket.com became a stepping stone for future developments in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as it allowed users to exchange bitcoins in an easy-to-understand manner. 

2010 was also the year that Bitcoin got used in a real-world transaction. In May 2010 - ten thousand bitcoins were used to buy two pizzas. This has since become legendary for being the most expensive pizza ever.  

Check Out: Ways to Make (or Lose) Money With Bitcoin (BTC)

2011: Enter The Competition

After the events of 2010, people started to take Bitcoin seriously, and by 2011, it had established itself as a serious cryptographic currency. 

Like in all other markets, competition started to come up. The earliest known Bitcoin cryptocurrency competitors are Litecoin and Namecoin. These competitors came alive because they were using the Bitcoin source code. They were essentially forks of Bitcoin. 

While the competition started to emerge, Bitcoin's growth did not slow down either. The value of Bitcoin reached an all-time high and achieved parity with the US Dollar for the first time ever!

Parity with the dollar created FOMO around Bitcoin, and just 4-months later, Bitcoin hit a high of $31. However, this bubble was unsustainable, and towards the year's end, Bitcoin crashed back to $2 a coin.

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2012: More People Take Bitcoin Seriously 

By 2012, Bitcoin was the number one cryptocurrency in a fast-expanding market.

Bitcoin's growth in 2012 had a lot to do with the launch of The Bitcoin Foundation. The Bitcoin Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting decentralized currency and technology. Their launch in 2012 led many companies to accept bitcoin payments, including Bitpay, which listed over 1 thousand firms that now accepted Bitcoin payments. 

These developments inspired even more faith in Bitcoin, and by the end of the year, Bitcoin was trading at $13, up from $4 earlier in the year. 

2013: The European Credit Crunch

If you have been abreast with financial news over the past decade, then you know that Europe had a difficult recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. By 2013, Europe was in a full-blown crisis, with Cyprus and Greece needing an immediate bailout. 

It is the crisis in Cyprus in particular that benefited Bitcoin immensely. Cyprus announced that all deposits were unprotected and that in case of a bank collapse, people would only get a maximum of €100,000. This pushed more people away from the centralized banking system and into Bitcoin. 

The impact on the value of Bitcoin was huge. In early 2013, the value of Bitcoin rose sharply. By March, Bitcoin had reached an all-time high of around $260!

Things got quite volatile after that, and Bitcoin had a series of peaks and crashes. In fact, at some point within 2013, Bitcoin hit a high of $1000 before it crashed again. 

The speculative volatility was just the beginning of an extremely rough period too. A perception started to emerge that Bitcoin was being used for criminal activities. For instance, it is in 2013 that Authorities shut down the Silk Road website for its use of bitcoins in illegal activities. 

2014: The Crisis Deepens 

The Silk Road issue in 2013 created the impression that criminals primarily used Bitcoin. This veered off a huge segment of the general population away from BTC. 

The crisis deepened in 2014 when Mt.Gox was hacked. In 2014, Mt. Gox was the largest exchange for Bitcoin and went bankrupt after sustaining a breach in security. The breach saw up to 750K bitcoins valued at over 600 million dollars stolen. This made headlines globally and created a negative perception around Bitcoin. 

In 2014, rumors came up about the possibility of China banning Bitcoin. While the China rumor was false, the result was a Bitcoin bear market that lasted for most of 2014. Bitcoin was trading at the $300 to $400 range by the end of the year. 

2015: Light At The End Of The Tunnel

After a turbulent 2013 and 2014, Bitcoin pushed through the $400 mark in 2015. After going from zero a few years earlier and surviving two major crises, investors also started to take Bitcoin more seriously. This was evident in a surge in the number of companies accepting Bitcoin. From a low of 1000 companies in 2012 to a high of 160k in 2015.

It is also in 2015 that banks started to show interest in Bitcoin. Barclays became the first mainstream bank to accept Bitcoin as an investment in 2015. Bitcoin-focused companies started to come up too, and there was a lot of media attention around startups such as Coinbase. 

This growing confidence in the value of Bitcoin saw it test prices above $360 towards the end of 2015. This was a huge improvement considering that it had started 2015 at lows of $150. 

Read Also: Is Bitcoin (BTC) Still A Safe Investment?

2016: Demand Takes Off

While there wasn't a huge uptick for Bitcoin in 2016, it was definitely a good year in terms of adoption. For instance, it was in 2016 that Japan recognized Bitcoin. 

When the Japanese government officially recognized Bitcoin as a currency, demand skyrocketed. By June 2016, Bitcoin was trading at a high of $750. Towards the end of the year, one Bitcoin was trading at close to $1000. 

Aside from the news from Japan, the Bitcoin block halving in 2016 also impacted positively on the price. Bitcoin has experienced halving periods at four-year intervals since its launch. 

The first one was in 2012 when the reward for mining a block was reduced from 50 Bitcoins to 25 BTC (Bitcoin). This happens every time 210,000 blocks are added after the initial year. 

2017: Bitcoin's Shines In All Its Glory

bitcoin price history

The year 2017 is probably when most people came to know about Bitcoin. Bitcoin went from a low of $960 at the start of the year to a high of $20k by the end of the year. 

There has never been a clear reason why Bitcoin spiked suddenly, especially towards the end of 2017, and test highs of $24k on some exchanges. 

One of the theories fronted often is that a whale moved the price. A crypto-whale is a term used to describe an investor who holds a large amounts of cryptocurrency. Although it is just a theory, whales are known to move prices all the time. 

Another theory is that the supply shock caused by the Bitcoin halving of 2016 caused the price to spike. This is plausible because, in all Bitcoin's history, there has been a spike in the price of Bitcoin about a year after a Bitcoin halving event. 

Whatever caused the spike is irrelevant. One thing is sure, though, the massive jump in Bitcoin's price in 2017 took Bitcoin mainstream, both as a currency, and as an investment. 

Read More: Will Bitcoin (BTC) Make Me Rich?

2018: The Historic Price Correction

2018 was a tough year for Bitcoin investors. FUD, profit-taking, and skyrocketing fees all combined to pull it down. 

After an incredible rise of over 1000% during 2017 - when many investors thought they'd finally struck gold, coins valuation quickly nosedived. By the end of 2018, Bitcoin was trading at lows of $3100. 

Interestingly, there were moments in 2018 when Bitcoin gave investors hope that if things were looking up again. 

For instance, between September and November 2018, Bitcoin traded in a range around the $6000 price level. In this period of stability, investors got the impression that Bitcoin could replace gold as a store of value. 

However, things took a sharp turn for the worst, when it suddenly tumbled to $3100. Interestingly, despite this crash, Bitcoin was still trading way higher than its 2016 highs of $1000 even at its worst in 2018. This further boosted the idea that Bitcoin was a worthwhile store of value.

2019: A Shaky Return To Normalcy 

After a dark 2018, Bitcoin's price and volumes increased in 2019. However, there was no clear direction yet. 

Bitcoin started 2019 stuck in a range between $3,900 and $4100. For many, it looked like 2019 might be just as bad, if not worse, than 2018.

However, this all began to change when the cryptocurrency broke out in April and hit $5k. After that, there were no turning back as prices kept climbing for the next couple of months. As of June 2019, Bitcoin was trading at a high of $13600. 

Bitcoin then entered a range around the $10k price level and traded there for the better part of H2 of 2019. 

While the price was not that interesting in 2019, much was going on in terms of Bitcoin adoption. For instance, Bitcoin ATMs shot up in 2019 to over 5,000 worldwide. 

At this point, it became clear that more people were taking an interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as the future of payments. 

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2020: Uncertain Yet Good Year For Bitcoin

Bitcoin started 2020 with the range-bound trading of 2019. Then without warning, the coronavirus struck, and financial markets, including Bitcoin took a hit.

In fact, March 12, 2020, is known as "Black Thursday" because of the drastic price drops experienced in crypto markets during that period. On that day, Bitcoin fell 50%. Prices stabilized at around half their original value just two weeks later, though. 

Interestingly, the stay-at-home orders that followed were a blessing in disguise for digital payments, blockchain, and financial asset investments in general. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was an instrumental force in the development and implementation of blockchain, as it spurred governments around the world to establish systems for tracking outbreaks. The use case was incredibly huge in improving medical records administration (tracking who has been exposed) through traceability & transparency measures. 

At the same time, the stimulus packages that followed created a lot of liquidity that flowed into the financial markets. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and equities started to pick momentum towards the 2nd half of 2020. 

The Bitcoin halving of April 2020 also added to the upside that Bitcoin was experiencing in the second half of 2020.

The value of Bitcoin rose dramatically in October 2020 when it hit $10,800 from a low of $7800. As FOMO kicked in and institutions starting taking an interest in Bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency pushed through its 2017 all-time highs of $20k. 

Check Out: Is Bitcoin (BTC) a Good Buy?

2021: A Mixed Year For Bitcoin 

Bitcoin started 2021 with a lot of upside momentum, trading above $20k. It kept edging higher throughout January, but the real momentum hit in February.

This was after Elon Musk announced that Tesla would start accepting Bitcoin for payments. Tesla also announced that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin. In its SEC filings, Tesla stated that the $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin gave them liquidity in crypto once accepted for product deliveries. 

The Tesla news created FOMO saw Bitcoin rally to a high of $64k by April 2021. However, the same news that had uplifted Bitcoin also became the source of a bear trend that would last until July. 

On May 13, 2021, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would discontinue accepting Bitcoin for payments. Musk noted a need to be more environmentally friendly, even as cryptocurrencies went mainstream. He specifically noted that Bitcoin mining was causing an unprecedented demand on coal, which has some really adverse effects on the atmosphere.

Elon Musk's announcement came at the same time when some even more bad news were coming from China. While China FUD is as old as Bitcoin itself, this time, it was real. China announced in April that it was banning Bitcoin mining. This was a big deal because China had been the world's largest Bitcoin mining hub globally. 

The China news led to a drop in hash rate, and Elon Musk's sentiments added to the negativity. By July 25, Bitcoin had tested lows of $29k, and over 50% drop from the highs of $64k it had hit on April 13, 2021. 

However, after a crash of over 50%, investors looking to take advantage of the dip started buying up Bitcoin. Companies like Microstrategy drove a resurge in Bitcoin optimism. While Microstrategy had been buying Bitcoin since 2020, by June 2021, the company had exhausted cash in its balance sheet and turned to debt to buy Bitcoin. 

Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor defended this move stating that the company has $2.2 billion in debt and pays about 1.5% interest. He added that their long-term plan is worth it because they can use leverage to amplify gains even more. This was a huge vote of confidence for Bitcoin. 

Besides Microstrategy, several other institutions started buying Bitcoin at its July lows, further inspiring confidence. By September 2021, Bitcoin had recovered most of its losses and was close to retesting $50k. 

However, there was a slight correction towards the end of September before bullish momentum returned in October, as more institutional money started flowing into Bitcoin. By mid-November, Bitcoin had pushed through its May highs of $64k and made a new high of $69k. 

While many expected Bitcoin to rally into December, news of a new coronavirus variant dampened the mood. The result was a selloff of Bitcoin and other high-risk assets. As of November 26, 2021, Bitcoin had shed 20% off its highs of $69k. 

News of the new coronavirus variant seems to have been priced in, though, and Bitcoin has recovered most of the losses from late November. As of December 24, 2021, Bitcoin was edging higher and was back above $50k.

BTC price chart

Source: TradingView

2022: Growing Optimism

There is a lot of optimism around Bitcoin after its recovery despite the fears that the Omicron variant has caused in the markets. As more information about the new variant is accumulated and confidence in the financial markets comes back, 2022 could be good for Bitcoin. 

Don't Miss: Bitcoin Price Predictions

Bitcoin Milestones (USD)

  • $0.00 January 2009
  • $0.10 10th October 2010
  • $1.00 9th February 2011
  • $10.00 2nd June 2011
  • $100 3rd April 2013
  • $1,000 8th November 2013
  • $850 16th February 2014
  • $2,000 20th May 2017
  • $3,000 11th June 2017
  • $4,000 13th Aug, 2017
  • $5,000 1st September 2017
  • $10,000 28th November 2017
  • $15,000 7th December 2017
  • $19,783 17th December 2017
  • $6,200 5th February 2018
  • $3,300 7th December 2018
  • $20,442 1st July 2019
  • $8,771 9th November 2019
  • $19,850 30th November 2020
  • $28,000 27th December 2020
  • $41,973 8th January 2021
  • 64,000 13th May 2021
  • $29,600 20th June 2021
  • 69,760 11th November 2021
  • $51,091 24th December 2021

Bitcoin has opened up a world of opportunities for financial transactions in an era where many people are looking to keep their finances safe and private. In addition, since its inception, Bitcoin has gained rapid popularity across markets partly because its decentralized nature means there's no central authority to make policy decisions about how cryptocurrency should work. This gives users more freedom than ever before.

That said, Bitcoin remains a volatile asset, and no one can tell with certainty where it will go next. That said, if history is anything to go by, then the future is bright. Maybe even $1 million per BTC is possible at some point in the future.  

A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2022 | Key Points

Here are some of the key points highlighted for someone who doesn't have the time to read through the article. 

  • Bitcoin was launched in 2009 as a form of digital cash.
  • When Bitcoin first started, one coin was worth $0.00. It took a long time for Bitcoin to be seen as an asset with value.
  • In 2010, 10,000 bitcoins were used to purchase two pizzas, worth $300 million today.
  • Bitcoin experienced larger acceptance in the financial sector in 2012.
  • The year 2017 was one of Bitcoin's best years. By December 2017, it had nearly eclipsed $20,000 per coin.
  • In 2018 and 2019, Bitcoin entered a period of stagnation. Bitcoin's price started to range significantly, 
  • The coronavirus made it difficult to estimate Bitcoin's path in 2020. While some believed the virus was the perfect opportunity for BTC to shine, others were not sure.
  • In December 2020, Bitcoin reached $28,000.
  • In January 2021, Bitcoin maintained the momentum of late 2020.
  • In February, Bitcoin's upside momentum accelerated after Tesla announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin payments. By April, Bitcoin had hit $64k. 
  • In May 2021, Tesla suspended Bitcoin payments, and news of China banning Bitcoin payments came up. This saw Bitcoin crash and test lows of $29k by July 2021. 
  • Institutional buying uplifted Bitcoin from its July lows, and by November, it made new highs of $69k. 
  • Fears of a new coronavirus variant led to a correction of Bitcoin from Mid-November until early December. 

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