10 years ago today, Laszlo Henyacz paid 10,000 BTC (worth $90.7 million today) for two delicious pizzas.
To the casual onlooker who happens to stumble across Crypto Twitter, it may seem like Bitcoin is more of a religion than a currency. People regularly quote the wise witticisms of mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto; they preach the doctrine of decentralization and financial freedom with gusto (or even aggression–just ask JK Rowling.)
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And, just like every religion, Bitcoin also has its own set of esoteric holidays that may be a little bit confusing to people who aren’t steeped in the cultural traditions: for example, January 3rd, also known as the Proof-of-Keys day or “Bitcoin’s Birthday”, is a bit like Bitcoin Christmas–it’s the day that the first-ever block was mined on the Bitcoin network.
Happy #bitcoin pizza day to everyone
Therefore, Bitcoin Pizza Day, when the first “real-world purchase” in bitcoin took place in 2010 (10,000 bitcoins for two “supreme” pizzas) is a bit like–Bitcoin Easter? Crypto Passover? Blockchain Eid al-Fitr? (Help me out here, folks..)
In any case, the tenth-ever Bitcoin Pizza Day is today: ten years ago, developer Laszlo Hanyecz exchanged 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas; the toppings are rumoured to have been tomato slices, green peppers, onions, pepperoni, salami, olives, and sausage. At the time, these 10,000 BTC were worth a total sum of $28; today, 10,000 BTC is worth $90.7 million.
It was a dark and stormy night on BitcoinTalk, 10 years ago…
The day is said to not only be significant because of the fact that it was the “first-ever” Bitcoin transaction, but also because it was the first time that Bitcoins were ever assigned a “market price” to Bitcoin, just $0.0028 per BTC. (This “market price” was very unofficial by today’s standards.)
The transaction was also made rather “unofficially” by today’s standards; there were no payment rails or Bitcoin-to-fiat payment settlement services for merchants back in 2010, as there are today; in fact, Laszlo Hanyecz didn’t even pay a pizza restaurant directly.
It all started on May 18th, 2010, on the famous “BitcoinTalk” forum, which is where many Bitcoin traditions were established. Hanyecz made a legendary post in which he stated he wanted to exchange 10,000 BTC for 2 pizzas.
“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas,” he wrote,” like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day. “
“I like having leftover pizza to nibble on later. You can make the pizza yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place, but what I’m aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don’t have to order or prepare it myself, kind of like ordering a ‘breakfast platter’ at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you’re happy!”
Ironically, it took a few days for someone to take him up on his offer. Jeremy Sturdivant (aka ‘jercos’), a fellow crypto enthusiast, agreed to the proposal, and the two made a deal. Sturdivant, assuming he kept some of those 10,000 BTC, could be one of the wealthiest independent pizza brokers of all time.
Is there a moral to this story? Maybe not. Today, it’s possible to buy a pizza with BTC just about anywhere in the world; there are crypto-based debit cards, payment apps, and other payment rails that will make it happen with ease.
But if somebody ever offers you 10,000 pieces of a mysterious and obscure digital currency in the future in exchange for two delicious pizza pies, it may be a good idea to say yes.