Bitcoin Price History 2009 to 2022

It’s sometimes easy to forget that Bitcoin (BTC) is just a teenager, launched in 2009 by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto.

Since then, Bitcoin has seen a meteoric rise, increasing from fractions of a penny to an all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November 2021.

The big “B” was the best-performing asset class of the decade preceding that all-time high. Bitcoin returned more than 230% during the 10-year period ending in March 2021. For that reason alone, it’s now firmly entrenched in the mainstream.

But Bitcoin’s price journey has been far from smooth. The original digital currency has experienced many violent dips and pumps. Let’s take a closer look at the ups and downs of Bitcoin’s price history.

What Price Did Bitcoin Start At?

Bitcoin was originally worth next to nothing.

The transaction that first gave Bitcoin monetary value was in October 2009, when Finnish computer science student Martti Malmi, known online as Sirius, sold 5,050 coins for $5.02, giving each Bitcoin a value of $0.0009 each.

The exchange took place on PayPal. That can be hard to believe, with so many crypto exchanges dedicated to buying and selling BTC nowadays.

Bitcoin’s Early Years: 2009 to 2012

The growth in BTC adoption in the early years started slow. If you look at Bitcoin’s pricing data on Google Finance, it only goes back to Nov. 20, 2015.
The early years were characterized by very little infrastructure, with only a few hobbyists buying and selling BTC.

“There was no action to speak of and no news cycle,” says Alex Preda, a professor of professions, markets, and technology at King’s Business School in London. “Bitcoin was a fringe phenomenon confined to a subculture of software engineering and not a financial phenomenon.”

The first “real world” transaction took place in May 2010 on a Bitcoin forum.

Posting to the bitcointalk.org forum, Florida native Laszlo Hanyecz enquired whether anyone would order him two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins.

After purchasing two pizzas from Papa John’s worth approximately $41, the price of each Bitcoin came to $0.0041. Those pizzas are the most expensive ever ordered, worth nearly $200 million today, averaging around $12.4 million per slice.

Hanyecz did the impractical transaction for the sake of it, telling The Sun, “I wanted to do the pizza thing because, to me, it was free pizza. I mean, I coded this thing and mined Bitcoin, and I felt like I was winning the internet that day.”

Bitcoin wasn’t even worth a dollar until February 2011.

That’s when the fireworks started. By June 2011, the price of Bitcoin had shot up 30 times, reaching a value of $30. In a hint of what was to come, the spike didn’t last long, with Bitcoin dropping to $5.

Liquidity in late 2011 was low, and Bitcoin’s first competitor, Litecoin (LTC), emerged on the crypto scene in October 2011.

The introduction of LTC spelled some doubt among the community, with a 90% drawdown testing resolve. Despite a slight rebound, 2012 was uneventful, and BTC closed the year around $13.

Bitcoin Attracts Investors: 2013 to 2017

Bitcoin’s price trajectory began to change in 2013.

Exchanges, most notably Mt. Gox, handled 70% of all Bitcoin transactions by the end of 2014 and started onboarding more and more users. Crypto became more accessible as a result.

The price followed the increase in adoption. Opening in 2013 at $13, BTC skyrocketed to breach $1,000 by November 2013.

Success waned the following year after the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox experienced a security breach with hackers stealing $60 million from its coffers. Mt. Gox shut down due to insolvency causing Bitcoin to slump to around $300 by the end of the year.

“The Mt. Gox case generally demolished investor trust in BTC, and it affected the sentiment toward crypto on a much broader scale,” says Alex Faliushin, CEO of crypto lending platform CoinLoan.io.

Between 2015 and 2016, Bitcoin trudged slowly along, making the price action relatively muted. It closed 2016 at around $1,000.

The following year saw more investors pour into the asset as increasing media coverage began to draw in the average retail customer.

Price barriers were torn apart with ease. BTC broke through $1,000 in early January 2017 and $2,000 in May 2017. BTC then doubled to $4,000 in August 2017.

Now, Bitcoin was finally beginning to win doubters over. Futures contracts began trading on the CME and many in the market felt like Bitcoin was becoming a genuine financial asset class.

The “fear of missing out” took hold, and more and more people flooded in to buy this up-only asset. Bitcoin popped to $10,000 in November 2021 before nearly doubling to almost $19,000 the following month.

Little did investors know then, but it took nearly three years to regain these price levels again.

Bitcoin Recovers: 2018 to 2021

The year 2018 didn’t slow Bitcoin’s downtrend. BTC’s price collapsed, closing out the year below $4,000. Then digital currency closed out 2019 at around $7,000.

With two years of relative inactivity and a consistent downtrend, many wrote Bitcoin off as a fad, having failed to solidify its place in the mainstream market.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and the stock markets dropped violently in mid-March 2020.

Bitcoin wasn’t spared, shedding 50% of its value in less than 48 hours to trade below $4,000. Some hypothesized that the Covid-inspired dip would be Bitcoin’s final nail in the coffin.

But those skeptics were very wrong. With the Federal Reserve responding to the Covid-19 pandemic by printing money for fiscal stimulus, asset prices across the board rose sharply.

Growth and tech stocks showed explosive gains, but Bitcoin got everybody talking. After halving to less than $4,000 in March, BTC hit $10,000 in May 2020.

But it made its real move in the final quarter of 2020. It shattered its all-time high by breaching $15,000 in November 2020, moving above $20,000 in December 2020, and ending the year at around $29,000 with a market cap of more than $539 billion.

As retail investors poured into markets and the Federal Reserve kept printing money, assets continued to inflate. Bitcoin hit $40,000 a week into 2021, $50,000 in February 2021 and $60,000 in March 2021.

After a turbulent couple of weeks in May, it dropped to less than $34,000 before rising to another all-time high close to $69,000 in November 2021.

Crypto Winter: 2022

Since November 2021, Bitcoin has struggled with the rest of the market. The up-only narrative from the days of money printing was over, with economies struck by rampant inflation.

The Fed has been hiking interest rates since early 2022, with assets furthest out on the risk spectrum getting punished the most.

Higher interest rates mean a greater cost to borrow, less investment, and a general reduction in the level of demand in the economy.

Bitcoin has been in freefall since early this year amid the crypto winter.

The most damaging month this year was May, when the collapse of stablecoin TerraUSD sparked a round of contagion in the cryptocurrency markets, pulling Bitcoin down from $39,000 in early May to $20,000 by mid-June, where it hovers today.

Investors hope this downturn is just the latest dip to precede a sharp rise, as history has repeatedly shown for Bitcoin.

Historically, October is known as a “green” month, increasing 26% on average. If that’s the case, we may see prices head toward the $24,000 mark.

Bitcoin Price FAQs

What Was The Lowest Bitcoin Price?

Bitcoin was originally worthless. The first transaction valued it at less than a penny in October 2009.

The first real-world transaction was when two Papa John’s pizzas were purchased for 10,000 Bitcoins in May 2012, valuing each Bitcoin at four-tenths of a cent.

The value of these pizzas today can be tracked online, and May 22nd every year is celebrated by Bitcoiners as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”

What Determines Bitcoin’s Price?

Like any financial asset, many factors affect the price of Bitcoin.
Today, the market is highly correlated to the stock market and has been struggling this year as stocks react to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to combat the inflation crisis.

In addition to inflation, the tenuous geopolitical climate has impacted markets, with the energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine putting strain on economies.

In the long term, Bitcoin enthusiasts hope that continued adoption of the cryptocurrency will help it decouple from the rest of the financial markets, reduce its volatility and act as a more reputable store of value.

But for now, it remains a high-risk asset, prone to huge swings.

More From Advisor

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for the TradeTalks newsletter to receive your weekly dose of trading news, trends and education. Delivered Wednesdays.