Bitcoin price: trends and history from 2008 to today

Filippo Iachello

5 min

Bitcoin price: history, value and trends over the years

The price of Bitcoin has grown exponentially over the years, what have been the main milestones in its history?

The Bitcoin price history has, to date, been full of twists and turns. Although the value of BTC tends to be bullish, it has also gone through bearish periods in its first fifteen years. And you, do you know what the bitcoin price in 2008 was compared to today? What events have most influenced its value and the cryptocurrency’s performance?

What was the Bitcoin price in 2008 at launch?

At the beginning of its history, when Bitcoin was created, cryptocurrency exchanges did not yet exist, so users in order to sell or buy BTC had to agree among themselves to establish its value by engaging in a real negotiation. The value of a crypto is determined by its conversion into fiat currency, and since transactions at the time were only done through peer-to-peer exchanges, it is impossible to trace the exact price of BTC at the time of its launch.

However, we know the bitcoin price in 2009, when it was first converted into dollars on 12 October. On that day, a user known on the ‘Bitcointalk’ forum under the pseudonym ‘New Liberty Standard’ bought 1,309 BTC for one dollar. Dividing one dollar by the number of BTC the user bought, we can say that the price of Bitcoin started at around $0.0009. Today, the value of the cryptocurrency is about 20 million times higher than it was initially

So let’s look at the main stages in Bitcoin price history to find out how it established itself and what difficulties it has faced.

From Bitcoin Pizza Day to the first exchanges (2009-2012)

In 2009, Bitcoin was a niche technology, a phenomenon linked to a subculture of computer engineering and had no real market. The first time it was used to purchase a ‘real world’ asset was on 22 May 2010; on that day, a user on the Bitcointalk forum bought two pizzas in the American fast food restaurant Papa John’s for 10,000 BTC. This event, dubbed ‘Pizza Day’, has become a real holiday that crypto enthusiasts remember every year. To give you an idea of what it meant, Bitcoin price in 2010 reached the ATH at 0.39$. 

2010 also saw the birth of, a rudimentary website that allowed its users to exchange BTC, which, however, shut down the following year. In 2011, however, the crypto world’s first exchange was launched: Mt.Gox. The birth of Mt.Gox drew attention to cryptocurrency by also making it easier to buy. Bitcoin price in 2011 reached $1 in February, while in July of the same year, one BTC was already worth $15.

From 2012 to 2015: the first bull market and the Mt.Gox hack

2012 was a bad year for Bitcoin price history. From the high of $15 touched in July 2011, the value of BTC fell dramatically to $3, a zone on the chart in which it was caged until the beginning of 2013. With the new year, however, the cryptocurrency changed gears completely, thanks to a great wave of interest in the sector. The first crypto bull market in history had begun!

In 2013, the price of Bitcoin rose from $12 to $1,000 driven by some Chinese institutional investors and companies that started accepting it as a payment method.

But then also came the first crypto bear market in history, coinciding with the hacker attack suffered by Mt.Gox on 24 February 2014. Then, during the summer of 2015, when some institutional investors, such as Goldman Sachs and Nasdaq approached these new technologies, the market rebounded. 

On 30 July 2015, Ethereum was launched through an ICO and a new bullish phase began for the price of Bitcoin, which was around $400.

2016 to 2021: the second halving and COVID-19

The second halving on 9 July 2016 breathed new life into the price of Bitcoin, which had already started its upward movement in the summer of 2015. The bull market that followed was explosive. Bitcoin price in 2017, from the $1,000 zone it was in in January, reached $20,000 by the end of the year. In that period, media interest around cryptocurrencies grew considerably: the first ETF on Bitcoin was approved in the United States, the Chinese government regulated crypto trading, and several companies, including Microsoft and Dell, chose to accept BTC as a payment method.

In 2018, Bitcoin’s value then plummeted from a high of $20,000 to $3,000, stabilising at around $3,700 at the end of the year. 2019, the year in which the 10th anniversary of the cryptocurrency’s birth was celebrated, was also not good due to the failure of the exchange Quadriga CX and a hacker attack on Binance. The Bitcoin price in 2019 fluctuated in the range between $3,000 and $14,000, changing direction several times. 

With 2020, the crypto market shone again thanks mainly to the decentralised finance applications (DeFi) born on Ethereum. The collapse of Bitcoin’s price that occurred at the same time as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was absorbed quickly, a few days later the bull market began, taking the crypto’s value to a time high of $68,800. This period also saw the emergence of NFTs, which gave the whole sector a further boost.

2021 to the present: how long until the end of the bear market?

The latest phase in Bitcoin price history is the one we have been experiencing since November 2021. After hitting $68,000, the crypto market was hit by a series of internal negative events, such as the collapse of the Terra-Luna ecosystem and the bankruptcy of FTX. But also external: the macroeconomic crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and inflation. These episodes have also had an impact on the value of the cryptocurrency, which today lies in the area of the $20,000 chart, undecided about which direction to take.Will the bear market end soon? Will the next halving, scheduled for early 2024, shake things up? No one can know for sure whether the bear market will continue or whether 2023 will be remembered as a restart year in Bitcoin price history.

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