A slight uptick on Monday pushed bitcoin past the $11,000 threshold for the first time since March 2018. The leading digital coin’s value is up more than 170 percent so far this year.
Bitcoin’s price has climbed steadily in recent months as Facebook prepared to launch its digital currency, which, it announced this month, will allow the social media giant’s network of more than two billion users to transfer money and complete transactions without fees. Facebook’s entry marked the largest mainstream endorsement yet for cryptocurrency as a legitimate financial tool.
“Investors are scrambling back into crypto assets such as bitcoin and other alternate tokens, over optimism that they are becoming widely accepted and adopted by mainstream entities,” said Christel Quek, chief commercial officer for Bolt Global, a media streaming platform and digital wallet. “Facebook’s entry into the crypto space perhaps signifies the biggest network potential for digital currencies, capable of reaching into billions, and therefore indicates an upcoming shift in mainstream finance.”
Crypto projects from Facebook and mainstream financial institutions have provided a major boost to bitcoin, which is the largest digital currency by market capitalization and a benchmark for the concept as a whole. Bitcoin’s value rose as high as $19,873 as of December 2017, only to crash to dramatic lows in 2018 amid a series of cybersecurity breaches, exchange hacks and concerns about a lack of oversight or regulation.
FOX Business breaks down key milestones in bitcoin’s rise, fall and recent rebound below.
January 2009: Bitcoin is born
Bitcoin's creator, known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto," unveils bitcoin as a concept, launches the bitcoin network and complete the first-ever transaction. Nakamoto's actual identity has never been definitely revealed.
May 2010: The first recorded bitcoin purchase
After posting on an online forum for bitcoin, developer Laszlo Hanyecz trades 10,000 bitcoins for two Papa John's pizzas valued at $25. At the time, the bitcoins were worth the equivalent of roughly $41, Vice reported. It is the first known transaction involving bitcoin.
February 2011: Bitcoin tops the U.S. dollar
The fledgling cryptocurrency trades higher than the value of a U.S. dollar for the first time in its history.
November 2013: Bitcoin hits $1,000 mark
The digital currency experiences its first major spike amid a surge in demand among Chinese investors and early scrutiny from U.S. government officials. Weeks later, a crackdown by the Chinese government sent prices sharply downward.
February 2014: Mt. Gox collapses
Among the first prominent bitcoin exchanges, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy this month after hundreds of thousands of bitcoins worth millions of dollars went missing in an apparent hack. The Winklevoss twins, who were early bitcoin advocates, were among the investors who lost assets when the exchange collapsed.
November 2017: Bitcoin rises above $10,000
After years of slowly gaining traction, bitcoin begins to attract attention from business leaders around the world. Japan legalized bitcoin in April 2017, and officials from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to hedge fund magnate Michael Novogratz weighed in with positive and negative outlooks about the currency's future.
December 2017: Bitcoin hits $19,873, its all-time high price
Bitcoin hits the peak of its popularity after two exchanges opened bitcoin futures markets. However, massive trading volume, price volatility and suspicious trading sparked speculation that the cryptocurrency was a bubble ready to burst.
2018: Bitcoin in freefall
A series mishaps contribute to a massive downswing in bitcoin's price. Exchanges in South Korea and Japan were hacked, officials in China and other nations increased scrutiny on the unregulated, decentralized currency, and tech giants Facebook and Google banned ads involving cryptocurrencies. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission blocked several attempts to launch bitcoin ETFs. Bitcoin's price fell below $4,000 in December 2018.
2019: Signs of a rebound
Bitcoin once again spikes in value as Facebook and other institutions show signs of launching their own cryptocurrency initiatives. Facebook announces plans to debut "Libra," a cryptocurrency maintained by an independent organization, in 2020.