A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2020

Last Updated July 23rd 2021
17 Min Read

A Historical Look At Bitcoin Price: 2009-2020

Interested in investing and trading Bitcoin? We’ve got you covered! In this guide, we’ll take a look at Bitcoin’s price history from 2009 to 2020.

Bitcoin needs no introduction! In only a decade, Bitcoin managed to transform the whole financial sector, challenging central banks, governments, and cross-border payments. Bitcoin led to the creation of thousands of altcoins and yet, it’s still the largest cryptocurrency by market cap and network effect. 

Bitcoin was first recognised as a digital cryptocurrency in late 2008, before being formally launched in January 2009 by an anonymous founder(s) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Interestingly enough, experts believe that uncovering Satoshi’s identity would wreak havoc, so it’s better to remain veiled in mystery.

Since then, Bitcoin has witnessed various rallies and crashes. In more recent years, despite not being a legal tender, Bitcoin has surged in recognition and also in value - pushing its past all-time high, somewhat surprisingly to many users and financial experts. 

Bitcoin has come a long way since its inception and first use more than a decade ago. Thus, following innovator Henry Dreyfuss’ words “To look ahead, one must learn to look back” - here at Trading Education, we’re taking a look at Bitcoin’s price history from 2009 to 2020.


2009: Bitcoin Was Launched

The year 2009 was a year to remember! Following the financial and housing bubble crisis of 2008, Bitcoin was created as an open-source software to help users access digital money without third parties, restrictions, and excessive fees.

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 Bitcoin's 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. 

Here we should explain that 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.

Bitcoin never traded for next to nothing ever again!

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. 

Funnily enough, May 22 is now known as Bitcoin Pizza Day. Would you purchase pizzas worth over 300 million dollars today, though?

These two developments brought Bitcoin into the financial public eye and no doubt brought some action in its short life, contributing to its rise in value.

2011: In Competition With Other Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin’s first cryptocurrency competitors began to appear in 2011. Namecoin and Litecoin were two examples of Bitcoin forks created in 2011.

Bitcoin’s open-source code enabled 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 one BTC had reached a price of $1, achieving all-important parity with the US dollar. 

Cryptocurrencies gained wider exposure in the financial sector. 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

In 2012, Bitcoin started establishing itself as a leading cryptocurrency globally.

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. In fact, many retailers also opened to using cryptocurrencies and accepting payments with bitcoins.

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.

Another important event was the launch of the Bitcoin Foundation in order to enhance the adoption of Bitcoin and improve its protocol.

2013: European Finances

Looking back at Bitcoin price history, we should acknowledge the fact that the year 2013 was an important year: 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 BTC use as investors turned away from traditional banks whom they felt were untrustworthy. 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 around $750 by the end of 2013.

Prices began to get very volatile.

The year 2013 is also remembered as the year when the Silk Road website was shut - a site that used bitcoins for illicit transactions. 

2014: Bitcoin in Crisis

For Bitcoin, the year 2014 was pretty tough.

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 BTC entered a bear market. After all, market news and crypto sentiment play a crucial role in the crypto market. 

For much of 2014, Bitcoin sat at a value of between $300 and $400.

2015: A Positive Turn

Bitcoin stabilised to a certain degree in 2015. 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. Besides, 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 Bitcoin’s to raise in value. Bitcoin grew from its early 2015 crash - where it dipped to $150 - to around $360, the value it had reached as 2016 approached.

2016: Increased Demand and Value

BTC prices continued to fluctuate throughout the year 2016. 

During 2016, a landmark in Bitcoin price history occurred when Bitcoin and other digital currencies became recognised as a currency 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 this unique digital currency grew.

Indeed, in 2016, things looked very rosy; it looked like Bitcoin was just going to go up and up and up. The 2016 outlook for Bitcoin looked particularly bright after the coin had reached the milestone of $750 in June 2016.

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

In short, Bitcoin halving refers to when  Bitcoin awards for miners who create new blocks is cut in half, which increases Bitcoin’s value.

2017: A Most Glorious Year

bitcoin price history

2017! The year when the actual crypto boom conquered the world far beyond the financial sector.

2017 will always be remembered as one of Bitcoin’s best years. 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 up till 2020 - or when Bitcoin was literally a few dollars short of reaching $20,000 per coin.

Many have attempted to pinpoint why exactly Bitcoin’s price increased so exponentially, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason. Some believe that a crypto whale manipulated the market and caused a huge increase in BTC value.

One thing is for sure: after 2017 Bitcoin joined the global financial market with no intentions to leave. After that historic increase in BTC 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. It was actually like a whirlwind fall for Bitcoin. 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 when it looked like Bitcoin might have reversed its downwards trend and picked up again - even reaching $17,000 per coin on January 6, 2017 - but that 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 possible anymore.

Most notably, from September to November 2018, Bitcoin ranged from $6,200 to $6,400. This is an important observation: it showed that even back in 2018, Bitcoin might have been already a reliable store of wealth. Now some investors believe that Bitcoin will replace gold in the years to come.

By November 2018, Bitcoin crashed down to $3,500. Further to this, it should be remembered that despite continuously depreciating in price, Bitcoin still held more value than it did during its first few years.

2019: A Slow Return to Form (somewhat)

After the grim months Bitcoin had experienced in 2018, the year 2019 welcomed BTC with a new surge in price and volume. 

Here we should note that 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 broke out of its rut and reached a new high of $5,000. After that, Bitcoin started to climb upwards in price.

By late June, 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 that peak, Bitcoin’s price started to range again, though it was definitely bumpier that time than earlier on in 2019.

On top of that, the number of bitcoin ATMs increased to over 5,000 over the globe. 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.

Crypto traders and investors were already looking forward to the future of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies.

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2020: A Year of Uncertainty

That all changed in March 2020. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to crypto Black Thursday (March 12, 2020) when cryptos collapsed. Bitcoin prices halved in the blink of an eye. As reported by Decrypt, a king was dethroned. 

That led to a shift in Bitcoin’s market landscape and liquidity evaporation. Further to that, economies worldwide were hit very hard, which always stalls interest and investment.

And while the virus was infecting the crypto space, an opportunity appeared. Bitcoin evangelists believe that the pandemic will lead to mass  Bitcoin adoption,  In a way, COVID-19 led to a digital money revolution, and blockchain technologies have been implemented by governments to track outbreaks and improve medical records administration.

Not only that but another Bitcoin halving took place in 2020, which may have a significant impact on demand and supply and BTC value.

Despite all the grim changes 2020 brought, 2020 is still a year that will remain in Bitcoin’s history textbooks. 

Between October and December 2020, Bitcoin rose in value. In October 2020, bitcoins were already trading at $10,800; by the end of the year, it blew over $20,000 and reached new all-time highs.

Big companies also started to pile on Bitcoin.

bitcoin all time high

Experts are still bullish in their price predictions. As of January 2021, Bitcoin has been trading at around $30,000 and hit a new time-high of $41,000. According to CoinDesk, on January 20, 2021, Bitcoin was over $35,000.

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

$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

As with any financial market, the future of Bitcoin cannot be assured. Yet, there’s one thing for sure: Bitcoin is here to stay. Since its inception, Bitcoin 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. 

What’s next, though?

Well, who knows? Maybe the Winklevoss twins’ predictions will become a reality and Bitcoin will reach a value of $500,000 and a market cap of $9 trillion?!

A Historical Look at Bitcoin Price: 2009-2020 | Key Points

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

  • 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.
  • As of January 2021, Bitcoin is performing better than any other year so far, with prices ranging around $30,000. On Jan 8, 2021, BTC hit $41,973.

Looking back at Bitcoin price history is vital to make predictions about its future. 

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