Bitcoin’s (BTC) price rose to almost $20,000 in 2017 before losing more than 80% of its value at the end of the initial-coin-offering boom. In the years since, the asset has never again come close to these prolific price highs — until now. Crypto’s first currency is once again trading a few percentage points away from its previous milestone as of press time.
While crossing $20,000 may soon be celebrated as a psychologically significant threshold, Bitcoin will not actually reach its all-time high in terms of buying power at that point thanks to inflation.
“If you bought #Bitcoin at the top in December 2017, you won’t truly recover your buying power until we hit 21.24k,” podcaster Vlad Costea said in a tweet on Tuesday. Costea used $20,000 as Bitcoin’s high, putting the numbers and dates into an inflation calculator to determine the most accurate figures.
U.S. dollar holders lose approximately 2% of their purchasing power per year on average from inflation. Official data reveals 2.13% inflation in 2017, 2.49% in 2018, 1.76% in 2019 and 1.86% in 2020.
Bitcoin’s last all-time high varied across exchanges. On Coinbase, based on TradingView.com data, Bitcoin reached a record high of $19,660. Using this number, Bitcoin must reach $20,884 to once again hold the same purchasing power as it did in 2017, according to Officialdata.org’s inflation calculator. Since 2017, the U.S. dollar has lost about 6% of its value.
Other previous historical Bitcoin levels also show inflationary impact, although not particularly notable. Bitcoin’s $1,200 level in 2013 values about $1,341 in today’s dollars.
With all the United States money printing in 2020, however, the future will tell whether this year will ultimately have a greater inflationary impact on the U.S. dollar than the currently stated sub-2%.