If You’d Bought Bitcoin When You First Heard About It, How Much Would It Be Worth Today?
Charting the missed opportunities of those who chose not to hop on crypto early.
At this point, Bitcoin is no secret. What was once a fringe online movement is now synonymous with blockchain, and just about everyone knows about it, even those who’ve never bought crypto before. Since its value has seen incredible gains and some folks have made quite a lot of money, there is still a ton of interest from new investors, meaning major growth is still possible.
A big question people have is whether it’s too late to get rich from Bitcoin. While there are definitely risks involved, there’s also a lot of FOMO to be had as well. Those who chose not to jump on Bitcoin when it was first explained to them are probably kicking themselves, and want to know if it’s not too late.
If you didn’t believe in Bitcoin early on, don’t be too mad at yourself; a lot of people were skeptical at the beginning. Had you invested in Bitcoin when you first heard about it, would you be rich by now? Let’s take a look at some major dates in Bitcoin’s history when you might have gotten wind of it, and how much you’d have today if you’d invested $100 at the time.
2008-2009: Bitcoin’s infancy
The original Bitcoin white paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published in October 2008. The first peer-to-peer Bitcoin transaction occurred in 2009, when Satoshi Nakamoto sent 10 Bitcoins to Hal Finney, who became the first person to Tweet about it. However, it still did not have intrinsic value because it hadn’t been adopted by regular users.
It’s possible that if you were a tech geek, you read about Bitcoin at the time, but very unlikely you were able to pick some up. Those 10 Bitcoins sent to Hal Finney did not have real-world value at the time, but today? They’d be worth $550,000.
2010: Bitcoin becomes a commodity
A now-infamous anecdote is that in 2010, crypto-miner Laszlo Hanyecz offered 10,000 Bitcoins in exchange for two pizzas to be delivered to his house, in the first ever real-world cryptocurrency payment for something with tangible value. Since two pizzas were around $25, that meant Bitcoin now had a monetary value and exchange rate in dollars, around $0.0025. The price was rather arbitrary, but in 2021, those 10,000 Bitcoins would be worth a staggering $550,000,000.
Later that year, Bitcoin began trading on open exchanges at a price of $0.0008. So what if you had purchased $100 worth at the time?
Bitcoin price in 2010: $0.0008
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 125,000
Worth in 2021: $6,875,000,000
2011: Mainstream news coverage and the one-dollar mark
Bitcoin received major attention by mainstream media for the first time in 2011, when Time published an article called, “Online Cash Bitcoin Could Challenge Governments, Banks.” Many individuals first heard about Bitcoin thanks to this article. 2011 was also the first time when Bitcoin broke the $1 mark. Due to the increased attention, prices rose steeply and then cratered that year as interest waned. Bitcoin was still a fringe subculture, but what if you’d dipped your toe in at that $1 mark and held until now?
Price of Bitcoin in 2011: $1
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 100
Worth in 2021: $5,000,000
Just one year separates the Bitcoin billionaires from millionaires, although keep in mind we’re still investing just 100 bucks, an amount far lower than most investors put into cryptocurrency.
2013: The world takes notice.
Bitcoin gained major attention as its price hit the $1,000 mark for the first time in November 2013. Bitcoin was now seen not just as a techie pipe dream or something that might happen in the future, but as a worthwhile investment. Regular people began learning about blockchain and buying in – so what if you’d been one of them?
Price of Bitcoin in November 2013: $1,000
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 0.10
Worth in 2021: $5,000
We’re no longer in the era where people became extravagantly wealthy from small Bitcoin holdings, but turning $100 into more than $5,000 in less than eight years is a lot more growth than most investments generate. There was still plenty of time to get in early.
2017: The crypto bubble hits a high
As interest in cryptocurrency continued to grow, Bitcoin saw a surge in 2017. After a few years of up and down prices, it reached $19,783.21 on December 18, 2017. The price would eventually fall and take several years to get back up again, but it would surpass that number, meaning those who invested on that day could still be making a small profit.
Price of Bitcoin in December 2017: $19,783.21
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 0.0051
Worth in 2021: $280
2018: The bubble bursts
After the crypto craze of 2017, prices fell dramatically the following year, hitting a low point of $3,206.54 in December 2018. Many sensed this was the death knell for Bitcoin and sold all they had, but fervent believers bought even more at the lowered prices. Their gambles paid off, as holding long-term has proven to be the smart move.
Price of Bitcoin at December 2018 low: $3,206.54
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 0.031
Worth in 2021: $1,705
2021: Taking over the culture, one Tweet at a time
It was pretty hard to escape Bitcoin in 2021, as prices hit all-time highs and influencers were able to affect prices with a single Tweet. In April, the price of Bitcoin hit $63,000, then fell back down, and by June it was $33,938.77. Many people bought Bitcoin in a mad rush early in the year, only to find themselves sweating it once prices stabilized. While some are continuing to hold, others got out. Those who bought in April and sold in June are about the only ones on this timeline who didn’t make money. However in October this year, a month now called uptober in the crypto world, the price has bounced back to around $55,000 and is still expected to rise back up to the $68,000 mark.
Price of Bitcoin in April 2021: $63,000
Bitcoin value of a $100 purchase: 0.00159
Worth in October 2021: $87.45
Is it too late to make money off Bitcoin?
Just as they did in 2018, some saw the June dip as a sign of the end of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, but they were in the minority. There are many industry leaders who predict prices could go up in the future, and by a lot. If you think they’re right, then there’s still plenty of money to be made.
It’s best not to obsess over daily or even monthly fluctuations. A rule many follow with other investments is that it’s time in the market that matters, not timing the market. If you see Bitcoin as a long-term investment, then you believe it can weather temporary turbulence, and shouldn't care too much about the exact price on a given day.
There are a few reasons why people may not want to invest in Bitcoin right now. If you don’t think the dip is over but will reach its nadir soon, or have concerns about Bitcoin beyond its price (such as its carbon footprint), this might not be the right time.
If you’ve never invested in cryptocurrency before, Bitcoin is the most obvious place to start, as it’s the most widely-adopted. But there are other coins like Ethereum and Doge that have experienced similar growth, so Bitcoin is by no means the only option. There are also NFTs, which employ blockchain but aren’t currencies. People heavily involved in crypto likely own a mix of many different assets, not just a single cryptocurrency.
There are plenty of crypto investments that show potential, including passive investments like crypto index funds that allow for instant diversification. Bitcoin has the benefit of name recognition and is the obvious leader in the blockchain sphere, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be the last one standing. Just as you wouldn’t invest all your savings in a single company’s stock, there’s no reason you need to pick a lone cryptocurrency to buy. The future is hard to predict, and those who get it right will be richly rewarded, but even if you don’t become a crypto billionaire, you can generate solid returns.
Some people who understand the technology really believe in Bitcoin’s future, and they’re maximizing their holdings for the long term. Only you can know if that choice is right for you, but as our research has shown, those who got in early and held on are probably very thankful they did.