Anyone watching the bitcoin market is aware of the ups and downs of this digital currency. The world’s first bitcoin transaction was in January 2009 when programmer Hal Finney downloaded the bitcoin software and received 10 bitcoins from Satoshi Nakamoto, pseudonym of the creator of the currency. In its early days, and up until April 2011, bitcoin was worth less than $1 per bitcoin. By July that year, the price had jumped to $31.00 before quickly dropping back down again.
In a transaction that has achieved legendary status, one bitcoin owner used 10,000 bitcoins to pay for two Papa John’s pizzas. At today’s value, those pizzas cost $65 million. By November 2013, the price flirted with six figures and dropped down into the hundreds again until March of 2017 when the currency reached a value of over $1,200 and has never fallen below that since.
2017 saw a quick run up the market until December 17, 2017 when it reached the dizzying height and all-time high (so far) of $19,783.21. For an in-depth look at the price of bitcoin and some of the factors driving it, check out this article on Coindesk.com. Those investors who purchased bitcoin at its lowest prices were suddenly, startlingly wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.
Where is Bitcoin Today?
During 2018, we saw the price of bitcoin settle back down and since April 1 it has stayed in the range of $6,800 – $9,800, and has been hanging around the mid $6k range since the summer. You can view bitcoin price charts for any time period here.
Even with the price fluctuation, there are many, many millionaires and some billionaires who have been holding on to their bitcoin since purchasing it in the early days at its lowest prices. The first bitcoin billionaires were Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, famous for winning $65 million in their fight with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. They used $11 million from their payout to invest in bitcoin back in 2013, when it was selling for around $120.
Investopedia recently posted a list of 5 of the World’s Top Bitcoin Millionaires and they include the Winklevoss twins, along with Barry Silbert, CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group; Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings; Dan Morehead, founder of Pantera Capital, and Michael Novogratz, billionaire investor. Of course, these are just 5 who are willing to be publicly identified.
Many of the investors in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies value their privacy, and there is no way of identifying them, but since bitcoin transactions on the blockchain are public, anyone can see that there are thousands of addresses holding at least a million dollars worth of bitcoins. (As of this writing, there were more than 10,000.) Without knowing what price was paid, or how many individuals may be included in one address, it’s impossible to pinpoint how many individuals became millionaires as a result of their investment. You can view cryptocurrency statistics, including transactions and number of addresses with high values at BitInfoCharts.com.