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stack of nine golden bitcoins
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Since its inception, bitcoin has become one of the most valuable assets in the market, climbing from US$0.08 in 2010 to more than US$68,000 in 2021.

In just over a decade, bitcoin has grown a cult-like following and surged to impressive heights. Now the digital asset of choice, bitcoin’s meteoric rise is unlike any other commodity, resource or asset.

Bitcoin has paved the way for the growing cryptocurrency asset class, amassing a loyal following and surging to an all-time high of US$68,649.05 on November 10, 2021.

But bitcoin hasn't gone straight up. In the 14 years since the world’s first digital currency was introduced, it's gone through peaks and troughs, keeping market participants on their toes.


Bitcoin price history: A response to the 2008 financial crisis

Created to counter the 2008 financial crisis, bitcoin has weathered extreme volatility, spiking to US$19,650 in 2017 before spending years locked below US$10,000.

Unveiled in late 2008, the cryptocurrency was meant to revolutionize the monetary system, and was first introduced in a white paper titled

Penned by a notoriously elusive person (or persons) who used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the nine page manifesto lays out a compelling argument and groundwork for the creation of a cyber-currency.

Cryptographically secured, the peer-to-peer electronic payment system was designed to be transparent and resistant to censorship. Using the power of blockchain technology to create an immutable ledger preventing double spending, the true allure for bitcoin’s early adopters was in its potential to wrestle power away from banks and financial institutes and give it to the masses.

This was especially enticing as the fallout from the 2008 financial collapse ricocheted internationally. Described as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, was erased from the US stock market in 11 months, while the global economy shrank by an estimated US$2 trillion.

Bitcoin price history: Bitcoin finds its footing

In July 2010, bitcoin began trading at US$0.0008, climbing to US$0.08 by month’s end. The cryptocurrency then performed relatively flatly, slowly rising into the US$10 range until it spiked to US$250 in April 2013.

bitcoin price chart in US dollars, 2011 to 2022

Bitcoin price chart in US dollars, 2011 to 2022.

Chart via .

As bitcoin’s notoriety began to grow, so did knowledge of the elusive, intangible asset. Unlike the dollar, which works as a single unit of currency, bitcoin’s value was fluctuating broadly during this period.

This betrivers pa money required a betrivers pa measurement system using units called millibitcoins (mBTC), microbitcoins (uBTC) and satoshis (in honor of the white paper author). Broken down, one bitcoin is equivalent to 1,000 mBTC, 1,000,000 uBTC or 100,000,000 satoshis.

By the end of 2013, bitcoin had reached a fresh betrivers pa high of US$1,164.

But the cyber-cash still had a long way to go before reaching its 2021 peak, and it moved much lower before topping out at a whopping US$68,000 — between 2014 and 2015, stagnation and volatility chipped away at the crypto’s value, reducing it to US$245 by October 2015.

Bitcoin price history: COVID-19 propels coin higher

January 1, 2016, marked the beginning of bitcoin’s sustained price rise. It started the year at US$433 and ended it at US$959 — a 121 percent value increase in 12 months.

The next year brought the mainstream adoption of bitcoin. Between January and December 2017, additional attention, the introduction of betrivers pa cryptocurrencies and coverage from mainstream financial media added 1,729 percent to the crypto-coin’s value — it rose from US$1,035.24 in January to US$18,940.57 in December.

This record-setting threshold was ultimately unsustainable, and bitcoin fell victim to its own routine volatility, which steadily eroded its previous gains. Despite that decrease in value, the virtual currency still held above US$3,190, a low it has not hit again since that time.

Since launching in 2008, opponents of bitcoin have used the digital currency’s short history to defend their reluctance to support the betrivers pa asset. Questions have arisen around how bitcoin would perform during a financial crisis or recession, as the coin is extremely susceptible to uncertainty.

2020 proved a testing ground for the digital coin’s ability to weather financial upheaval. Starting the year at US$6,950.56, a widespread selloff in March brought its value to US$4,841.67 — a 30 percent decline.

The low created a buying opportunity that helped bitcoin gain back its losses by May. Like safe-haven metal gold, bitcoin began to emerge as a protective asset for the Millennial and Generation Z crowd.

The rally continued throughout 2020, and the digital asset ended the year at US$29,402.64, a 323 percent year-over-year increase and a 507 percent rise from its March drop.

By comparison, gold, one of the best-performing commodities of 2020, added 38 percent to its value from the low in March through December, setting an all-time high of US$2,060 per ounce in August.

Bitcoin price history: All-time high unlocked

Bitcoin’s ascent continued in 2021, rallying to an all-time high of US$68,649.05 in November, a 98.82 percent increase from January’s value. By the end of the year, the digital asset had shed some of its value, ending the 12 month period at US$47,897.16 — still a 62 percent year-over-year increase.

Much of the growth in 2021 was attributed to investor risk-on appetite, as well as Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) announcement that it had purchased US$1.5 billion in bitcoin. Activity was further compounded when Tesla reported plans to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles. Following some criticism from investors and environmentalists, the electric car maker is currently conducting its on the amount of rebetrivers paable energy used to mine the cryptocurrency before allowing customers to buy cars with it.

Increased money printing in response to the pandemic has also benefited bitcoin, as investors with more capital looked to diversify their portfolios. The success of the world’s first crypto amid the market ups and downs of 2020 and 2021 led to more interest and investment in other cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

2021 also saw the rise of the non-fungible token (NFT). Utilizing blockchain technology, NFTs are data units that are stored, sold and traded digitally. These unique crypto assets are widely used for art and other digital mediums.

It is estimated that the NFT market grew to more than US$40 billion in 2021, driven exclusively by cryptocurrencies, the only form of payment for NFTs.

Bitcoin’s mainstream acceptance may be a continued price catalyst as more businesses accept the digital token as payment; the growing market for digital assets, as well as the burgeoning Metaverse, could all aid in the momentum of the cryptocurrency space. Headwinds continue to include bitcoin's frequent volatility.

Regardless, bitcoin’s potential is hard to deny. In the 14 years since its inception, it has climbed exponentially from US$0.08 to US$68,649. betrivers pa, the closest comparable asset to cryptocurrencies, has risen just 627 percent over the last 100 years, from US$283 in January 1921 to US$2,060 in August 2020.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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