From its humble beginning, bitcoin leapfrogged to an all-time high of $48,226.25 on 9 February this year, delivering a mind-boggling return of 48,22,525% in the process
Bitcoin, the world’s oldest and the biggest digital asset, is synonymous with cryptocurrency. Created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, this digital currency had hit the level of $1 for the first time on 9 February 2011.
From its humble beginning, bitcoin leapfrogged to an all-time high of $48,226.25 on 9 February this year, delivering a mind-boggling return of 48,22,525% in the process. This means that ₹45.53 (value of Re 1 against a dollar on 9 February 2011) invested in bitcoin a decade would have become ₹35.13 lakh today (value of rupee taken as ₹72.86 on 9 February 2021).
In comparison, the Sensex has risen 191.76% in absolute terms from 17,592.77 to 51,329.08 during the same period, as per data available with BSE. Spot gold prices in international markets have delivered a return of 35% after rising from $1,364 to $1,841, as per data available with Goldprice.org. In fact, bitcoin was the best performing asset class of the last decade.
However, the ride was rarely smooth. The cryptocurrency, which commanded a market valuation of more than $880 billion at its peak price level, has seen many major plunges during the last decade. The first burst came when the crypto asset after hitting the $1 level in February 2011 zoomed to near $30 levels in June 2011 but plummeted towards the $2 level by November of the same year.
Bitcoin breached the $1,000 level for the first time in November 2013 but slumped to below $350 levels by April 2014. It took bitcoin four more years to top the $5,000 level in September 2017, and in December 2020, it surpassed the $20,000 mark.
The recent rally in the digital asset has come on the back of interest from big global financial institutions such as BlackRock and Goldman Sachs. Moreover, prices jumped around $8,000 in a day to over $48,000 after US electric-car maker Tesla disclosed that it has bought bitcoin worth $1.5 billion.
In a recent report by the US-based ARK Investment Management LLC, the bitcoin’s market and investors appear to be maturing. The fund house in its report titled ‘Big Ideas 2021’ said with bitcoin appearing to gain more trust, some companies are considering it as cash on their balance sheets. “If all S&P 500 companies were to allocate 1% of their cash to bitcoin, ARK estimates that its price would increase by approximately $40,000," it added. The report was released when bitcoin prices were trading at around $30,000 levels.