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Bitcoin Price History: 2009 - 2022

By Brian Nibley · December 20, 2021 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Bitcoin Price History: 2009 - 2022

Bitcoin’s price has gone on a wild ride since its founding 12 years ago. Over the long-term, however, the price has been on a steady rise, compounding at roughly 100% – 200% per year. Those who bought Bitcoin early and held on to it have typically seen phenomenal returns. Of course, past performance is not indicative of future results.

Here we will look at the volatile price history of the world’s most famous cryptocurrency in terms of three waves of big price increases, some general history of the technology, where the price is now, and what the future could hold.

Bitcoin Price History

While some enjoy making Bitcoin price history comparisons to past speculative manias like Beanie Babies or tulip bulbs, speculation is only one factor in any given Bitcoin price surge. There are other factors to consider as well.

Over the years, a rather reliable pattern has emerged amidst the price history of Bitcoin. Every four years, the network undergoes a change called “the halving,” where the supply of new crypto coins rewarded to miners gets cut in half. This has happened three times so far. The first Bitcoin halving occurred in 2012, the second in 2016, and the third in 2020.

Recommended: What is Bitcoin Halving and Why Does it Matter?

Bitcoin reached new record highs the year following each halving event. And then, about 18-months post-halving, a bear market took hold. After a period of consolidation, the price then moved upwards again in anticipation of the next halving, beginning a new Bitcoin bull market.

Bitcoin Price in 2009: The Beginning

Bitcoin Price in 2009: $0

On October 31st, 2008, the pseudonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper. This paper introduced a peer-to-peer digital cash system based on a new form of distributed ledger technology called blockchain.

Then, on January 3rd, 2009, the Bitcoin network went live with the mining of the genesis block, which allowed the first group of transactions to begin a blockchain. This block contained a text note that read: “Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks.” This referenced an article in The London Times about the financial crisis of 2008 – 2009, when commercial banks received trillions in bailout money from central banks and governments.

For this reason and others, many suspect that Nakamoto created Bitcoin, at least in part, in response to the way the events of those years played out. Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency sent over a peer-to-peer network that allows people and organizations to bypass legacy financial institutions.

Bitcoin is also the first-of-its-kind scarce digital asset, with a fixed supply cap of 21 million. Some refer to it as “digital gold” for this reason. Like gold, Bitcoins have to be “mined” and can’t be created out of thin air like fiat currencies. Mining involves solving complex mathematical problems using advanced computers. The computers who do this work receive newly minted coins as a reward.

Recommended: How Long Does it Take to Mine 1 Bitcoin?

The Bitcoin timeline and Bitcoin price history have largely developed patterns around the halving cycles that occur every four years.

Bitcoin Price in 2011: The Surge Pt. 1

Bitcoin Price in 2011: $1 – $30

The Bitcoin price in 2009 was barely above zero. Real adoption of Bitcoin began to take place about two years later, and a major Bitcoin price surge happened for the first time.

In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) accepted BTC for donations for a few months, but quickly backtracked due to a lack of a legal framework for virtual currencies.

In February of 2011, BTC reached $1.00, achieving parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time. Months later, the price of BTC reached $10 and then quickly soared to $30 on the Mt. Gox exchange. Bitcoin had risen 100x from the year’s starting price of about $0.30.

By year’s end, the price of Bitcoin was under $5. No one can say for sure exactly why the price behaved as it did, especially back when the technology was so new. But the pattern of an 80% – 90% correction from record highs would continue to repeat itself going forward, even as much more Bitcoin liquidity would come into being.

Bitcoin Price in 2013: The Decisive Year

Bitcoin Price in 2013: $13- $1,100

In 2013, the EFF began accepting Bitcoin again, and this was the strongest year in Bitcoin price history in terms of percentage gains. The cryptocurrency saw gains of 6,600%.

Starting at $13 in the beginning of the year, the price of Bitcoin rose to almost $250 in April before correcting downward over 50%. The price consolidated for about six months until another historic rally in November and December of that year, when the price peaked out at $1,100. This bull run saw Bitcoin’s market cap exceed $1 billion for the first time ever. The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was also installed in Vancouver, allowing people to convert cash into crypto.

It would be over three years before the Bitcoin price would reach $1,000 again. The Bitcoin price in 2013 bottomed out at -85% off its record high.

Bitcoin Price in 2017: The Surge Pt. 2

Bitcoin Price in 2017: $1,100 – $20,000

The Bitcoin price in 2017 breached the $1,100 mark in January, a new record high at the time. By December, the price had soared to nearly $20,000. That’s a 20x rise in less than 12 months.

Like the 2013 price surge, the 2017 rally occurred one year after the halving. What made this time different was that for the first time ever, the general public became more aware of cryptocurrency. Mainstream news outlets began covering stories relating to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This price rise largely reflected retail investors entering the market for the first time.

Opinions on Bitcoin ranged from thinking it was a scam to believing it was the greatest thing ever. For the believers, this was an opportunity to learn how to invest in Bitcoin for the first time.

Yes, SoFi offers crypto trading.

With 30 coins to trade from and no-fee crypto purchases1, our app offers a secure way to trade crypto 24/7.

Get up to $100 in Bitcoin after your first trade2.

Bitcoin Price in 2021-2022

In August 2021, the price of Bitcoin was hovering around $46,000. This is down approximately 23% from the 2021 high above $60,000, which is currently also the all-time record high.

The Bitcoin hash rate, a factor thought to have some correlation to the Bitcoin price, has plummeted recently. This occurred as a result of China forcing its citizens to shut down Bitcoin mining operations.

The country previously housed a significant portion of the network’s mining nodes. As a result, these computers have had to go offline while their operators search for a more friendly jurisdiction in which to do business.

Many believe this reduction in mining capacity has been a key factor weighing on the Bitcoin price (which is still more than 200% higher than it was one year ago). Politicians and regulators have also come out with anti-cryptocurrency rhetoric in 2021, adding to the general environment that crypto advocates refer to as FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).

The Stock-to-Flow Model

Any discussion of Bitcoin price history would be incomplete without mentioning the stock-to-flow model. This is a model created by an anonymous trader known as “Plan B.”

There are many different valuation models for equities – the dividend discount model, the discounted cash flow model, and more. Stock-to-flow intends to give a valuation estimate of the price of a scarce commodity like Bitcoin.

The basic idea is that because the new supply of Bitcoins coming online remains fixed and gets cut in half every four years, the price will react accordingly within a certain range assuming demand remains constant or rises.

Recommended: How Many Bitcoins Are Left?

So far, the stock-to-flow model has proven incredibly accurate in all but a few short timeframes. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin price remains below where the model says it should be. This has only happened two other times – once during 2015 and once again during late 2018 through early 2019.

The Takeaway

If Bitcoin continues to grow at even a fraction of the rate it has over the past 12 years, the gains for long-term crypto investors would outpace that of most other asset classes. If the stock-to-flow model remains accurate, then Bitcoin would reach the $100,000 mark in the near future. Past performance does not indicate future results, however, and it’s always possible that models like these can break down.

If you’re interested in beginning to trade crypto, a great way to start is by opening a SoFi Invest® brokerage account. With a little as $10 you can start trading not only Bitcoin but other cryptocurrencies as well, such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Cardano, and Tezos.

Photo credit: iStock/simarik

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
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For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.
1 SoFi will assess a fee for each crypto transaction outside of automatic direct deposit purchases. For more information, visit sofi.com/invest/buy-cryptocurrency.

You need both a SoFi Invest crypto account and a SoFi Invest active investing account to get access to no-fee crypto purchases with direct deposit. Active investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

2 Terms and conditions apply. Earn a bonus (as described below) when you open a new SoFi Digital Assets LLC account and buy at least $50 worth of any cryptocurrency within 7 days. The offer only applies to new crypto accounts, is limited to one per person, and expires on June 30th, 2022. Once conditions are met and the account is opened, you will receive your bonus within 7 days. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the offer at any time without notice.

First Trade Amount Bonus Payout
Low High
$50 $99.99 $10
$100 $499.99 $15
$500 $4,999.99 $50
$5,000+ $100

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