Over the last ten years, bitcoin has grown from a fringe technology to a genuine threat to the finance system status quo. Its price has tracked closely to its potential. But in practical terms, what’s the real value of BTC? How has it changed over the past decade in real terms?
In this post, we’re taking a look at things you could buy with just one BTC every year for the past ten years.
1. May 23, 2010: 1 BTC = 1 Discount “Grade B” Sticker – The very first test of bitcoin’s real-world value came on May 22, 2010, when early miner Laszlo Hanyecz agreed to pay 10,000 BTC to another bitcointalk forum user if they would order and pay for two Papa John’s pizzas (about $25) for delivery to his house. This set the effective exchange rate at $0.0025 for 1 BTC. There’s not much you can buy for a quarter of a penny, but you can get pretty close with a single sticker celebrating a “B+” letter grade from a lot of 300 stickers selling on clearance for just $0.97.
2. 2011: 1 BTC = McDonald’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal – By May of 2011, BTC’s price had skyrocketed to $3.03. That’s just enough to afford a classic Happy Meal ($2.69), including sales tax. Better yet, your Happy Meal would have come with a toy promoting the animated film “Rio.”
3. 2012: 1 BTC = 17″ Inflatable Space Shuttle – What better way to prepare for BTC’s seemingly inevitable “moon launch” than with a blow-up spacecraft? Bitcoin was trading for around $5 by May of 2012, and this seems as good a use as any for those digital tokens burning a hole in your wallet software.
4. 2013: 1 BTC = Leather Bomber Jacket – The spike in BTC’s price in 2013 caught many observers completely by surprise. Trading at $116 in May, even the dorkiest early adopter of cryptocurrency could easily afford a genuine lambskin leather bomber jacket for just one of their magical internet money tokens.
5. 2014: 1 BTC = Playstation 4 – BTC’s price was all over the place in 2014, starting the year around $1,000 and ending it around $300. In May of 2014, the five-year anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day, it was trading around $516, just enough to afford a brand new PS4 and a couple of games.
6. 2015: 1 BTC = Char-Broil Grill – The entire year of 2015 was incredibly rough for the cryptocurrency community, with BTC trading for just $240 in May. That said, one BTC could still buy you a fairly nice two-burner gas grill.
7. 2016: 1 BTC = Amazon.com stock – As BTC’s price recovered to the $450 range in May of 2016, an interesting trade became possible. Amazon (AMZN) stock was trading for about the same price. For those HODLers who were looking for a more stable place to put their gains, this might have even looked like an attractive deal at the time.
8. 2017: 1 BTC = Vintage 1970s Les Paul – While the value of classic guitars ebbs and flows, if you want a well-maintained Gibson Les Paul from the heyday of 1970s, it’s going to cost you at least two grand on eBay. With BTC trading around $2,300 in May of 2017, you might even be able to pay for next-day shipping.
9. 2018: 1 BTC = Suzuki SV650 – It’s not quite the Lamborghini that many cryptocurrency fans use as the benchmark for success, but the SV650 is a decent, mid-range motorcycle that would definitely pair well with their 2013 bomber jackets. It’s easily affordable for the $8,300 one BTC would get you in May of 2018.
10. 2019: 1 BTC = Two week all-inclusive vacation – BTC’s price has ranged from the low $3,000s to around $14,000 over the course of 2019, but on Bitcoin Pizza Day it was right in the mid-rage of $7,700. That’s enough for a two-week, fully inclusive Caribbean island resort vacation for two, airfare included. If you’ve been holding your BTC since the start, it might be time to take a well-earned vacation.