Boasting one of the most volatile trading histories, bitcoin’s dizzying highs and Death Valley lows are the stuff of legend among traders and observers of the top cryptocurrency’s trajectory.
Double-digit price declines and ascents are not uncommon in the course of a day for bitcoin. Problems plague the bitcoin ecosystem, including fraud, scams and an absence of regulation that further feeds into its volatility. But price changes have outpaced the volatile swings at times, resulting in massive price bubbles.
Launched on Jan. 3, 2009 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0) was mined with a reward of 50 bitcoins — worth $2.346 million based on today’s price as of this writing.
The cryptocurrency’s first price increase happened in 2010 when the value of a single bitcoin rose from around $0.0008 to $0.08. Since then, bitcoin and its price moves have been compared to the Beanie Babies fad of the 1980s and the Dutch Tulip Mania of the 17th century.
There’s one thing that has been consistent about bitcoin — so far. The lowest price of a single bitcoin has consistently risen after every significant correction, according to Argo Blockchain.
The creator of bitcoin reserved more than 1 million BTC and to date, hasn’t sold or moved a single one. If the creator is an individual, that makes him or her the owner of the largest personal fortune in history.
Here’s a look at the major bitcoin corrections of all time.
Bitcoin’s price jumped from $1 in April 2011 to $32 in June, a gain of 3200 percent within three months. A recession in crypto markets followed and bitcoin’s price bottomed out at $2 in November 2011. There was marginal improvement in 2012. The price rose from $4.80 in May 2012 to $13.20 by Aug. 15, 2012.
Bitcoin began 2013 trading at $13.40 and blew up in two price bubbles that year. In the first bubble, the price rose to $220 by the beginning of April 2013, then descended just as fast to trade at $70 by mid-April 2013.
Another rally and its associated crash happened towards the end of 2013. In early October 2013, bitcoin was trading at $123.20. By December 2013, it had spiked to $1156.10 before falling to around $760 three days later. This was the start of a multi-year slump in bitcoin’s price that bottomed out at a low of $315 at the beginning of 2015.
The bitcoin price was hovering around $1,000 at the beginning of 2017. Then an ascent began on March 25 at $975.70, rising to $20,089 on Dec. 17.
The 2017 hot streak helped place bitcoin firmly in the mainstream spotlight, according to Investopedia. Governments and economists started developing digital currencies to compete with bitcoin. Analysts debated its value as an asset, and investors and experts made predictions.
For the next two years, bitcoin was unable to regain the $20,000 price. Trading volume surged in June 2019 and the price surpassed $10,000, renewing hopes of another rally. But by December 2019, a bitcoin was worth $7,112.73.
Bitcoin started 2020 at $7,200. When the coronavirus shut down the economy, price activity resumed, fed by government policy and investors’ fears.
Upon the release of the first round of $1,200 stimulus checks, the stock market, including cryptocurrency, saw a huge rebound from March 2020 lows. Some even climbed past previous all-time-highs.
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By Nov. 23, 2020, bitcoin was trading for $18,353.
“Money printing by governments and central banks helped to bolster the narrative of bitcoin as a store of value as its supply is capped at 21 million,” Investopedia reported. “This narrative began to draw interest among institutions instead of just retail investors, who were largely responsible for the run up in price in 2017.”
Bitcoin’s price reached close to $24,000 in December 2020, an increase of 224 percent from the beginning of the year. It bypassed $40,000 in January 2021, reaching $40,519 on Jan 8, 2021. Three days later, it was down to $34,409. By Jan. 27, it was down to $30,534. Then up again. By Feb. 21, 2021, the price of bitcoin reached $57,128, according to Coindesk.
In the last minute of writing this, the price of bitcoin has ranged from $46,727 to $46,896 on Coindesk.
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