Many South Africans have heard stories about Bitcoin investors who made their fortune by buying into the cryptocurrency early and cashing out during the peak of the “bubble”.
Chances are, these buyers only purchased their Bitcoin in around 2015 or 2016, however, which means they missed out on the truly mind-blowing gains made by those who invested even earlier.
If you were a fan of cryptography in around 2010 and happened to stumble upon blockchain technology through obscure online forums or other methods, you might have opted to buy some Bitcoin to play around with.
Many early Bitcoin adopters did exactly this, trading in tens of thousands of Bitcoin to test out the systems, which at the time were still in their infancy.
If you had bought R100 worth of Bitcoin in 2011 and held on to it through all the peaks and crashes, that amount would be worth significantly more now.
We’ve detailed the growth of a R100 Bitcoin investment from 2011 to 2019 below. We used historic exchange rates to determine the rand value of the held Bitcoin for each year based on the dollar price of the cryptocurrency at the time.
2011 – R100
A single Bitcoin was worth around $0.30 in January 2011.
Using the exchange rate of around R6.50 to $1 at the time, we can calculate that you would have purchased around 49.17 BTC with R100.
At this point, the price of Bitcoin is on the way up and a number of other cryptocurrencies are beginning to emerge.
2012 – R2,041
A single Bitcoin was worth around $5.10 in January 2012.
This means your 49.17 BTC would be worth around R2,041 – significantly higher than the amount you invested a year ago.
2012 saw a slight increase in the public awareness of Bitcoin, along with the rise of regulated exchanges.
2013 – R5,624
A single Bitcoin was worth around $13.30 in January 2013.
Your Bitcoin balance would now be worth R5,624 – a decent gain, but not as much as the previous year.
Bitcoin’s market cap surpassed $1 billion for the first time this year, and a number of companies began to launch Bitcoin-based payment portals.
2014 – R403,442
The Bitcoin price shot up and reached $771.15 in 2014, signifying the beginning of the first major Bitcoin price rise.
Your initial Bitcoin balance at this point would be equal to around R403,442.
This year saw the release of the first Bitcoin documentary film: “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin”.
One of the world’s biggest exchanges – Mt. Gox – also suffered a theft of 744,000 bitcoins, which resulted in it filing for bankruptcy.
2015 – R176,547
After the Mt. Gox hack and the subsequent panic, the price of Bitcoin dropped to $310.60.
This brings your Bitcoin balance back down to being worth around R176,547.
2015 saw Coinbase raise $75 million in its Series C funding round, as well as the addition of a Bitcoin symbol to Unicode.
2016 – R330,507
Bitcoin saw a steady rise throughout 2015 and recovered back to $434.22 on 1 January 2016.
The balance of your investment would now be on track to recovering back to 2014 levels, and would be sitting at around R330,507.
Bitcoin’s network speed exceeded one exahash per second for the first time in 2016, and Swiss railway operator SBB upgraded its infrastructure to integrate Bitcoin ATMs into its ticket machines.
2017 – R633,875
Bitcoin continued its rally, and started off 2017 with a price tag of $949.30.
This would deliver a great increase in your R100 investment, bringing the worth of your 49.17 BTC up to R633,875.
If you managed to hold on to your Bitcoin this long, your resolve is about to be tested by the biggest Bitcoin price spike in history.
2018 – R8,274,577
After spiking up above $20,000, the price of Bitcoin dropped down to $13,670.60 by the beginning of 2018.
Suddenly your investment would be heading into the millions, and would be worth R8,274,577 in January 2018.
This period was characterised by the frantic shilling of ICOs, pyramid schemes, price manipulation, and a popular frenzy around all varieties of cryptocurrency.
2019 – R2,710,136
There was a significant crash in the price of Bitcoin at the beginning of 2018, which lead the cryptocurrency to sink down to a fraction of its previous worth – around $3,849 – by the end of the year.
This would significantly impact your investment, leaving you with R2,710,136.
Popular hype around the cryptocurrency has largely died down by this point, and the price is set to rise again.
Present Day – R6,175,273
Bitcoin steadily began to recover from this dip throughout the year, with the price of the cryptocurrency rising up to $8,411.94 at the time of writing.
This means that if you managed to hold on to your Bitcoin through the mayhem of the last eight years, you would be left with around R6,175,273 in September 2019.
That’s not a bad return on R100.