Bitcoin was first recognised as a digital cryptocurrency in late 2008, before being formally launched by an anonymous founder(s) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in January 2009. In more recent years since its inception, bitcoin has surged in recognition and also in value, somewhat surprisingly to many users and financial experts. It has come a long way since its first use almost a decade ago. Here at Trading Education, we take a look at the Bitcoin price history from 2009 to 2016.
2009: Bitcoin is launched
The first bitcoins were issued in January 2009 at a value of $0.00. Bitcoin was not listed with a central bank or on a publicly traded exchange, so as a decentralised currency its value, to begin with, was arbitrary. "Bitcointalk", an online forum, saw negotiations take place directly between users as to its value at the time, and it gradually gained in popularity among cryptographers mainly in the first instance. In spite of this small rise in interest, the bitcoin price remained at zero for the rest of the year and into the dawn of 2010.
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2010: Bitcoin's first success
In 2010 bitcoin's popularity surged, and during the course of the year, bitcoin value rose from $0.00 to a peak of $0.39 later in the year. This was astonishing. At an auction in March of that year, 10,000 BTC had been offered at a starting bid of $50 and had received no interest at all in the market, so a rise to $0.39 was big news.
Early 2010 also saw the launch of the first bitcoin exchange, called BitcoinMarket.com, and bitcoin saw its first commercial use in the May of the same year when 10,000 BTC were used to buy two pizzas. These two developments brought bitcoin into the financial public eye and no doubt contributed to its rise in value.
2011: Competition from other cryptocurrencies
The first cryptocurrency competitors with bitcoin began to appear in 2011. Namecoin and Litecoin were two examples of this during this year. Bitcoin's open-source code enabled these competing currencies to be developed, and indeed this sort of development was encouraged in order to create a live market.
The year 2011 also saw further growth in the value of the bitcoin, and by the February it had reached a price of $1 achieving all-important parity with the dollar. A surge soon followed as interest grew, and at its peak, four months later, bitcoin was worth approximately $31. What goes up must come down though, and towards the end of 2011 bitcoin crashed to a value of around $2.
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2012: Popularity growth
During 2012 the popularity of the bitcoin again turned upwards and its value soared, as it gained media recognition and became increasingly accepted as a form of payment. The Bitcoin Foundation launched later in the year, with BitPay listing more than a thousand companies accepting bitcoin payments.
Following the crash of 2011, this rise in acceptance by companies meant that the year 2012 then saw a small but steady gain in bitcoin price, from a $4 shaky start to approximately $13 by year's end.
2013: European finances
The year 2013 was an important year in bitcoin price history, as bitcoin cemented itself into the mainstream financial world during this year. Europe saw major financial difficulties at this time particularly notable were the troubles faced by Greece and Cyprus.
Cyprus's financial crisis resulted in a surge in use as investors turned away from traditional banks whom they felt were untrustworthy, and therefore the value of the bitcoin rose sharply. By March 2013, bitcoin value had soared from $13 to around $260. In spite of the resulting sell-off and consequential temporary crash, bitcoin value experienced a couple of peaks during the next few months, topping $1,000 twice and finally sitting at or near $750 by the end of 2013.
2014: Bitcoin in crisis
Mt. Gox, bitcoin's largest exchange, ceased trading and went bankrupt in 2014 following a breach in security that saw almost 750,000 BTC stolen. This inevitably affected bitcoin value, and it was a big, if temporary, negative influence on bitcoin price history.
In the same year, rumours began to spread in financial markets about a bitcoin ban in China. Uncertainty about these (false) claims also had a negative impact on bitcoin price and it entered a bear market. For much of 2014, the bitcoin sat at a value of between $300 and $400.
2015: A positive turn
By the end of 2015, the bear market had ended and the bitcoin entered a bull market with a value of over $400. Investors were becoming keener, and the number of companies accepting bitcoins as a method of payment since its lowly beginnings had grown from 1,000 in 2012 to approximately 160,000 in 2015.
Even banks were starting to show interest, and Barclays Bank became the first to accept bitcoin investments during this year. Media attention was held by huge bitcoin-based fundraising efforts by companies including Coinbase and 21 Inc. These factors helped raise bitcoin value from its early 2015 crash - where it dipped to $150 - towards the value it had reached as 2016 approached.
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2016: Increased demand and value
During 2016 a landmark in bitcoin price history occurred when bitcoin and other digital currency became recognised as currency proper in Japan. Consequently, the demand and thus the value of bitcoin grew. Bitcoin value rose from just over $400 in early 2016 to almost $1,000 by year's end, as demand for, use of and confidence in digital currency grew.
As with any financial market, the future of bitcoin cannot be assured, but in the few years since its inception, it has opened the financial world to digital possibilities and become widely accepted and used across markets. Bitcoin value is susceptible to outside events and investor confidence in the same way as any other currency, but as media speculation has shown, cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm and somewhat by surprise so far.
Bitcoin Price Milestones (USD)
- $0.10 Oct 10, 2010
- $1.00 Feb 9, 2011
- $10.00 Jun 2, 2011
- $100 Apr 3, 2013
- $1,000 Nov 8, 2013
- $2,000 May 20, 2017
- $3,000 Jun 11, 2017
- $4,000 Aug 13, 2017
- $5,000 September 1, 2017
- $10,000 November 28, 2017
- $100,000 ?
- $1,000,000 ?
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