Saying that 2008 was not a good year is a serious understatement. The world was in the middle of a financial crisis, the worst of its kind since the great depression of the 1930s.
But even in dark days, there is always a ray of hope. On the 31st of October 2008, the Bitcoin whitepaper was released, titled: ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’.
The release date was on Halloween, and you could be forgiven to think that it was the work of a fictitious optimist. But the paper laid the foundations of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and it inspired a whole new industry of decentralized distributable ledgers, essentially blockchain, the platform by which Bitcoin operates.
The cryptocurrency market is now worth in excess of $400 billion and Bitcoin still dominates the market, even though there are now over 1500 cryptocurrencies.
The idea behind Bitcoin was to provide an alternative or entire shift from the traditional banking system, by eliminating trusted third parties. But while the blockchain technology has witnessed widespread use cases globally, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been plagued by endless cycles of boom and bust.
In its first decade of existence, Bitcoin’s success has had just one blind spot – its price volatility.
Bitcoin Price History
The first ever recorded price of Bitcoin was $0.003 on March 17th, 2010 when it was listed at the now non-operational platform, Bitcoinmarket.com. A significant date for Bitcoin came soon after on May 22nd, 2010 when a cryptocurrency enthusiast purchased two pizzas in Florida using 10000 Bitcoins, successfully completing the world’s first Bitcoin transaction.
The price of Bitcoin then was still under $0.01, but the ‘2 pizzas’ would now be worth in excess of $50 million (with the current price circa $5000).
In February 2011, Bitcoin achieved another major milestone when it attained dollar parity. The first bubble came shortly afterwards in July 2011 when Bitcoin spiked to $31, which was immediately followed by its first significant price drop. By December 2011, the price had tumbled to a trough of $2.
In 2012, Bitcoin posted a slow rally and ended the year at $13. But it was in 2013 that Bitcoin really hit the mainstream.
It first hit a peak of $266 in April 2013, a period which saw the crypto gaining an average of 10% daily.
It tumbled to around $100 before spiking to hit the important price barrier of $1,000 later that year. The $1,000 price would remain a significant resistance for Bitcoin in subsequent years, and it only touched it again in 2017.
2017 was a highlight year for Bitcoin. After crossing the $1,000 mark in January, the coin steadily grew throughout the year and hit its highest ever price of $19,783 in December 2017, before the bubble popped yet again.
Bitcoin started 2018, circa $13,500 and has steadily plunged to currently trading at around $5,000. Will volatility be a mainstay for Bitcoin’s next decade?
Bitcoin is what kick-started the crypto revolution, so there is no reference upon which to base future predictions. The consensus though is that with new technology, the early years are the riskiest.
If Bitcoin maintains resilience and gains even further mainstream adoption, it could achieve stability and even rise to breach all past price highs.
In the short term though, the months of November and December have always been kind for Bitcoin, most notably in 2017 when it hit its highest price ever.
A modest gain before the end of 2018 is likely. But going forward, Bitcoin’s greatest threat is that a newer and more efficient cryptocurrency could emerge that improves upon its constraints.
This would effectively end Bitcoin’s dominance and pressure its price lower. So, while it started the journey to freedom, it might not have been the cryptocurrency that ushers users into the proverbial Garden of Eden.