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The History of Bitcoin Bull Runs

Published on: Feb 29, 2024
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In Brief

Dive into the history of Bitcoin bull runs, from its early days to the unprecedented surge before the 2024 halving.

The History of Bitcoin Bull Runs


Bitcoin, the first and most popular cryptocurrency, has experienced several bull runs since its inception. Each bull run has been unique, reflecting the evolving landscape of blockchain technology, regulatory changes, and shifts in investor sentiment. This blog explores each significant bull run, culminating in the unique circumstances surrounding the 2024 surge as we approach another halving event.

Before we dive in, remember you can use a secure crypto wallet such as Trust Wallet, manage, as well as top-up, and swap Bitcoin (BTC) for crypto and fiat via our trusted partners.


The Early Days: 2010

The first significant price increase for Bitcoin occurred in 2010 when it moved from being worth fractions of a penny to $0.08 by July. This period marked Bitcoin's introduction to the financial world, albeit on a small scale. The community was small, and the technology was in its infancy, but the seeds of future growth were planted.

This year was pivotal, not just for the valuation surge but for the establishment of Bitcoin's foundational infrastructure. The launch of the first Bitcoin exchange, allowing people to trade Bitcoin for fiat currencies, and the first commercial transaction, famously paying 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas, demonstrated the cryptocurrency's potential as a medium of exchange. These milestones were critical in transitioning Bitcoin from a concept to a functional, albeit niche, currency.

The enthusiasm and participation in the Bitcoin network saw a marked increase, setting the stage for the development of a robust ecosystem. The growth in user adoption and the establishment of Bitcoin as a viable digital asset laid the groundwork for the future surges and the expanding cryptocurrency landscape.

The 2013 Peaks

In 2013, Bitcoin experienced two significant price spikes, first reaching $260 in April, then soaring to $1,100 by November, marking its ascent into the public and financial spotlight. This year was pivotal for Bitcoin, seeing increased media coverage and the maturation of its supporting infrastructure, like exchanges and wallets, which simplified trading and storage for users. The Cyprus financial crisis underscored Bitcoin's appeal as a safe haven asset, attracting attention in financially unstable regions.

However, the year also faced challenges, notably the collapse of Mt. Gox, highlighting the risks within the cryptocurrency space. Despite this, Bitcoin's recovery demonstrated its resilience and growing acceptance as a decentralized currency, laying a foundation for future growth and adoption.

The 2013 rallies underscored Bitcoin's volatile appeal, attracting a broader audience intrigued by its potential as a new form of money. This year set the stage for Bitcoin's evolving market dynamics, characterized by cycles of rapid growth and corrections, shaping its development into the mature ecosystem observed today.

Mainstream Breakthrough: 2017

The 2017 bull run is arguably the most memorable for many people, with Bitcoin's price skyrocketing from around $1,000 in January to an all-time high of nearly $20,000 by December. This surge was primarily fueled by the ICO craze, increased media attention, and a significant influx of retail investors. During this period, Bitcoin's visibility soared to unprecedented levels, making cryptocurrencies a topic of household conversation.


This year was a watershed moment for Bitcoin, significantly expanding its user base beyond tech enthusiasts to the general public. The phenomenon was partly driven by the ease of access to cryptocurrency exchanges, which simplified the process of buying Bitcoin. Despite the excitement, the rapid price increase sparked debates about the sustainability of such values and concerns over a potential bubble.

The 2017 bull run not only marked Bitcoin's entry into mainstream finance but also set the stage for future growth and the eventual recognition of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate asset class. This period laid the groundwork for increased institutional interest and regulatory discussions, highlighting Bitcoin's potential to disrupt traditional financial systems.

Institutional Adoption: 2020-2021

The period of late 2020 and 2021 marked a historic bull run for Bitcoin, shattering the $20,000 barrier and peaking over $64,000 in April 2021. This remarkable ascent was underpinned by a wave of institutional investment, signaling a major shift in the perception of Bitcoin from a speculative asset to a legitimate component of diversified investment portfolios. Major corporations, hedge funds, and traditional financial institutions began to embrace Bitcoin, allocating portions of their reserves to cryptocurrency, driven by its potential for high returns, inflation hedge capabilities, and increasing legitimacy as a financial instrument.


This era was characterized by an unprecedented level of mainstream financial sector involvement. Notably, companies like Microstrategy and Tesla announced significant Bitcoin purchases, while payment giants like PayPal and Square integrated Bitcoin transactions into their platforms, making it more accessible to everyday users and further cementing its status as a viable investment and payment option. These moves not only validated Bitcoin's utility in digital payments but also showcased its growing acceptance in the broader financial landscape.

Moreover, the launch of Bitcoin futures and the approval of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on them in various jurisdictions provided traditional investors a regulated pathway to gain exposure to Bitcoin's potential returns without the need to directly purchase and hold the digital currency. This development was crucial in mitigating the perceived risks associated with Bitcoin's custody and management, thus attracting more conservative institutional investors.

The 2020-2021 bull run also highlighted the evolving narrative of Bitcoin as "digital gold," a narrative supported by its performance during times of economic uncertainty. As central banks around the world ramped up money printing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bitcoin was increasingly viewed as a hedge against inflation, much like gold has been historically. This comparison further propelled institutional interest, as Bitcoin's capped supply contrasted sharply with fiat currencies' potential for unlimited inflation.

The institutional embrace of Bitcoin during this period did not come without its challenges, including regulatory scrutiny and debates over environmental concerns related to Bitcoin mining. However, the overall impact of this bull run was a significant broadening of the investor base and a more profound integration of Bitcoin into the global financial system.

The 2024 Surge: Bitcoin ETF and Pre-Halving Excitement

In early 2024, the Bitcoin market witnessed a significant surge, with its price crossing the $60,000 threshold. This remarkable increase in value came ahead of the anticipated Bitcoin halving event scheduled for April 2024, marking a notable period of pre-halving excitement within the cryptocurrency community. Historically, halving events, which cut the reward for mining new Bitcoin blocks in half, have led to price increases, driven by the reduced rate of new Bitcoin entering circulation. This scarcity effect has been a consistent trigger for bullish market sentiment in past cycles.

The early 2024 price action, however, was not solely influenced by the upcoming halving. A pivotal development contributing to this surge was the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) approval of the first U.S.-listed Bitcoin Spot Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in January 2024. This historic decision by the SEC to allow the listing and trading of several Bitcoin ETFs marked a significant milestone for the cryptocurrency industry, signaling a new level of institutional acceptance and potential mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.


The approval of Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC, provided investors with a regulated, accessible avenue to gain exposure to Bitcoin without the need to directly purchase and hold the cryptocurrency. This development was seen as a major positive step towards the institutionalization of Bitcoin as an asset class, drawing in significant investment from both retail and institutional investors eager to participate in the Bitcoin market through traditional financial mechanisms.

The combination of the ETF approvals and the anticipation of the halving created a powerful catalyst for Bitcoin's price increase. Institutional investors, previously sidelined due to regulatory uncertainties or the complexities of handling cryptocurrency, now had a secure and compliant way to add Bitcoin to their portfolios. This influx of new investment, coupled with the traditional halving hype, contributed to the bullish price action observed in early 2024.

Moreover, the approval of Bitcoin ETFs and the ensuing price surge underscored the growing recognition of Bitcoin's potential not just as a speculative asset but as a legitimate and valuable component of the global financial system. It represented a convergence of traditional finance and the emerging world of cryptocurrencies, bridging the gap between these two realms and potentially setting the stage for further innovations and integrations in the future.

As the halving event approaches, the cryptocurrency community remains watchful, speculating on the long-term impacts of these developments on Bitcoin's price and its role in the broader financial landscape. The unique combination of regulatory approval for Bitcoin ETFs and the pre-halving excitement has undoubtedly set 2024 apart as a landmark year in the history of Bitcoin, highlighting its enduring appeal and resilience as the leading cryptocurrency.

What's Next?

As we stand in 2024, looking at Bitcoin's price exceeding $60,000 before the halving, speculation abounds regarding the market's direction. Historically, halving events have led to increased prices, but the unique circumstances of each bull run, including the current one, make predictions challenging. The market is more mature, with a broader base of institutional and retail investors, and the global economic environment continues to evolve rapidly.

The question remains: Have we seen the top for this bull run, or is there more room for growth? While history can offer clues, the future of Bitcoin remains to be seen. Holders and enthusiasts alike will be watching closely as the next chapter in Bitcoin's history unfolds.


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Note: Any cited numbers, figures, or illustrations are reported at the time of writing, and are subject to change.

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