A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2020

Last Updated August 19th 2020

A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2020

In this guide, let’s talk about the historical look at Bitcoing price from 2009 to 2020.

Bitcoin was first recognised as a digital cryptocurrency in late 2008, before being formally launched by an anonymous founder(s) using the pseudonym 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 more than a decade ago. Here at Trading Education, we’re taking a look at Bitcoin’s price history from 2009 to 2020.

2009: Bitcoin was 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 at the beginning. 

In spite of this small rise in interest, Bitcoin’s price remained at zero for the rest of the year and into the dawn of 2010.

2010: Bitcoin’s First Success

In 2010 bitcoin’s popularity surged, and during the course of the year, Bitcoin’s 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 an increase 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 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 Bitcoin, and by February it had reached a price of $1, achieving all-important parity with the US dollar. 

A surge soon followed as interest grew, and at its peak, four months later, Bitcoin was worth approximately $31. 

But what goes up must come down and towards the end of 2011 Bitcoin crashed to a value of around $2.

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2012: Popularity Growth

bitcoin price history, price chart

During 2012 the popularity of 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 financial 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 the end of the year.

2013: European Finances

The year 2013 was an important year in Bitcoin price history, as Bitcoin cemented itself into the mainstream financial world. 

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 Bitcoin rose sharply. By March 2013, Bitcoin’s value had soared from $13 to around $260. 

In spite of the resulting sell-off and consequential temporary crash, Bitcoin’s 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 up to 750,000 BTC stolen. 

This inevitably affected the value of Bitcoin, and it had a big - if only temporary - negative influence on Bitcoin’s 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’s price and it entered a bear market. For much of 2014, 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 Bitcoin entered a bull market with a value of over $400. 

Investors were becoming keener, and the number of companies accepting Bitcoin 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 bank to accept Bitcoin investments during that 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.

2016: Increased Demand and Value

During 2016, a landmark in Bitcoin price history occurred when Bitcoin and other digital currencies became recognised as currency proper in Japan. Consequently, the demand and thus the value of Bitcoin grew. 

Bitcoin’s value rose from just over $400 in early 2016 to almost $1,000 by the end of the year, as demand for, use of and confidence in digital currency grew.

Indeed, in 2016 things looked very rosy and it looked like Bitcoin was just going to go up and up and up. Particularly after it reached the milestone of $750 in June.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Bitcoin’s increase in price in 2016 was the block reward halving that took place on the 9th July. 

In short, the halving meant there would be less Bitcoin created when new blocks where mined increasing Bitcoin’s value.

2017: A Most Glorious Year

bitcoin price history

2017 will always be remembered as Bitcoins best year so far. Starting off the year around $960 per coin, Bitcoin went on to break milestone after milestone after milestone.

December 2017, in particular, will always be remembered as Bitcoin’s best month where it was literally a few dollars short of reaching $20,000 per coin.

Many have attempted to pinpoint why exactly Bitcoin’s price increase so exponentially, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason.

One thing is for sure after 2017; after that historic increase in price, everyone knew what Bitcoin was, and there was no escaping the fact that cryptocurrency was becoming something we would all have to eventually deal with. 

2018: The Hangover After the Party

While 2017 was a banger of a year, 2018 proved largely to be a disappointment. Bitcoin failed to live up to the expectations 2017 had put in place.

Many felt that Bitcoin would continue on its journey upwards, but it did the exact opposite and ended 2018 at around $3,900.

There were moments where it looked like Bitcoin might reverse its downwards trend and pick up again, even reaching $17,000 per coin on the 6th of January, but it didn’t last.

But despite all the doom and gloom, something interesting did happen in 2018; Bitcoin started to range in price, something people didn’t think was really possible.

Most notably, from September to November, Bitcoin ranged from $6,200 to $6,400. This is an important observation because it showed that Bitcoin could be a reliable store of wealth.

Further to this, it should be remembered that despite continuously depreciating in price, Bitcoin still held more value than its first few years.

2019: A Slow Return to Form (somewhat)

Bitcoin started 2019 in a ranging market, stuck between a low of around $3,900 and $4,150. For many it looked like 2019 might be a continuation of 2018’s slump.

But that all started to change by April when Bitcoin’s broke out of its rut and reached a new high of $5,000 and started to climb upwards in price.

By late June when Bitcoin reached a yearly high of roughly $13,600 per coin and then entered a new stage of volatility that lasted until August.

However, after this peak, Bitcoin’s price started to range again, though it was definitely bumpier this time than earlier on in the year.

On top of that, this time Bitcoin was able to end the year on a high note of around $7,300 per coin, after spending a good amount of time around $10,000 per coin.

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2020: A Year of Uncertainty

future of bitcoin

As the year is still ongoing, it is hard to say for sure where Bitcoin is going. What makes it particularly hard to estimate is the fallout of the coronavirus. 

While some are Bitcoin evangelists believe that the pandemic will lead to more Bitcoin adoption, others point out that Bitcoin hasn't seen much in terms of growth yet this year. 

Further to that, it is very possible that the economy may be hit very hard, which could stall interest and investment.

Despite all this, 2020 will likely be quite similar to 2016 because it is another year where Bitcoin creation will be halved.

Though it is possible that we won’t necessarily see the change in price until 2021.

Bitcoin Price 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

$2,000 20th May 2017

$3,000 11th June 2017

$4,000 Aug 13, 2017

$5,000 1st September 2017

$10,000 28th November 2017

$15,000 7th December 2017

$19,783 17 December 2017 (highest price so far)



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’s 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. 

Key points

If you remember anything from this article, make it these key points.

  • When Bitcoin first started, one coin was worth $0.00. It took a long time for Bitcoin to be seen as something with value.
  • 2017 was Bitcoin’s best year. By December it had nearly eclipsed $20,000 per coin.
  • In 2018 and 2019, Bitcoin entered a period of stagnation. Bitcoin’s price started to range, and it hasn’t seen a year like 2017 for a while.
  • The coronavirus has made it difficult to estimate Bitcoin’s future. Some believe the virus is the perfect opportunity to shine, others are not sure.

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