Historical Cryptocurrency Prices

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 5, 2021

Bitcoin Pizza Day was on May 22, and it’s a holiday among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. On May 22, 2010, a man from Jacksonville, Florida, made the 1st real-world purchase with Bitcoin. He spent 10,000 Bitcoin on 2 pizzas.

At the time, 10,000 bitcoins was worth the price of 2 pizzas. Today, 10,000 Bitcoin is worth over $350 million. It comes as no surprise that Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies have appreciated more than any other asset class in the last decade. Let’s take a look at some popular cryptocurrencies and their prices throughout the history of the crypto markets.

Disclosure: ²Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are peer-to-peer payment systems that use blockchain technology to validate and secure payments. Blockchains are simply a distributed database that stores information, such as how much Bitcoin each user owns. This database is stored on computers around the world; these computers are cryptocurrency miners.

Since blockchains are decentralized, no single entity can control the network. Instead, transactions are approved by miners, and when 51% of the network agrees that a transaction is valid, it’s put on the blockchain as a valid transaction. In theory, one could hack a blockchain, but they would need to control 51% of the computational resources on the network. This is known as a 51% attack.

While 51% attacks have occurred on less robust blockchains, large cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have never seen a 51% attack, and it’s extremely unlikely they ever will. This is because it’s economically infeasible to conduct a 51% attack, as the hardware necessary to do so would cost several billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

Bitcoin’s History vs. Altcoin History

Bitcoin is generally regarded as the safest cryptocurrency investment one can make. It’s the 1st cryptocurrency to be secured by a blockchain — and its security and adoption are unmatched. The 2nd largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum, also seems here to stay because of the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non fungible tokens (NFTs) that are built using its network. 

Altcoins, however, are much more risky investments. While small market cap altcoins can provide huge returns in a bull market, many projects don’t survive multiyear bear markets. Some altcoins have survived cryptocurrency bear markets, so it’s important to decipher between altcoins with long-term feasibility and short-term cash grabs.

Historical Prices of Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin & Litecoin

As you can see from the table below, altcoins tend to be more volatile than Bitcoin. There have, however, been better returns on certain altcoins when compared to Bitcoin, so the volatility works both ways. 

Price on January 1st




Cryptocurrency Price Movements

Since the beginning of 2021, cryptocurrency prices have skyrocketed even higher. Earlier this year we saw Bitcoin surpass $60,000 and Ethereum reach well into the $4,000 range. While the markets have seen a sharp correction since then, recent upward movement suggests we may have more room to push upward.

Why do Cryptocurrencies Appreciate so Much?

Even though there have been several cryptocurrency crashes in the past, the general trend for the industry is up. On average, Bitcoin has appreciated more than 100% every year since its inception, beating the returns of any other asset class out there.

Put simply, supply and demand are what make cryptocurrencies appreciate so much. There’s huge potential for crypto to change the global financial system, causing hype cycles based on speculation. Even when cryptocurrencies crash, they typically don’t go lower than what they started at. This is because new investors who believe in this revolutionary technology hold their investments, waiting for the next market cycle to push their portfolios even higher.

Is it Too Late to Buy Crypto? 

If the cryptocurrency industry successfully revolutionizes finance, then it’s certainly not too late to buy crypto. However, there may be a time in the future where we see a prolonged bear market. In any case, if you want to invest in crypto, it’s a good idea to dollar cost average into your investment.

Dollar cost averaging is buying your investment in parts over time. This way, you’ll gain exposure to crypto at different prices, limiting your risk as an investor. Especially if you’re looking to get into crypto over the long-term, dollar cost averaging is a great strategy to implement. 

Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Ready to get started with crypto? If you’re located in the U.S, there are plenty of U.S-based exchanges that you can use to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ether and altcoins. Of these crypto exchanges, Coinbase is the largest among U.S investors. Plus, Coinbase Learn is a free program by Coinbase that pays you in crypto to learn more about blockchain technology.

If you’re looking for access to altcoins that aren’t on Coinbase, then Gemini and Voyager are good options. All these platforms have well designed mobile apps to manage your portfolio on the go, so you don’t need to worry about being by your computer. If you’re looking for a platform to invest in stocks and crypto all in 1 place, then Robinhood is likely your best option.

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What Could Bitcoin’s Price be in 2030?

As a highly speculative investment, Bitcoin could see huge price differences by 2030. Bitcoin aims to be a better store of value than gold, and it’s possible that the market capitalization of Bitcoin could surpass that of gold by 2030. If this happens, then 1 bitcoin will be worth around $320,000.

Some investors speculate that Bitcoin’s market capitalization will far surpass gold if it succeeds. Bitcoin is, and will continue to be, more accessible than gold. Plus, it’s easy to buy as little or as much as you want, allowing any type of investor to use Bitcoin as a store of value.

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