If you had 10,000 BTC what would you spend it on? A mansion? The oh-so-typical ‘Lambo’? Two Papa John’s pizzas? Well eight years ago an early Bitcoiner opted for the latter and on the anniversary of the now-legendary deal, he’s absolutely no regrets!
An Expensive Slice of History?
Eight years ago, on this very day, history was made. As far as we know, for the first time ever, Bitcoin was traded for something outside of the realms of software developers. Sure, the world’s most popular digital currency had previously been gifted to folks, or a coin or two swapped for lines of code on various cryptography forums, but the anniversary we celebrate today marks Bitcoin entering the real world – traded for something visible, something tangible, something delicious!
We are, of course, talking about Bitcoin Pizza Day. If you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll recap. Back in 2010, early cryptocurrency miner Laszlo Hanyecz signed onto a forum and made what has since become a legendary post:
“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas… Like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later.”
The post continued, stating that the hungry cryptographer wasn’t fussy about the origins of said slices – he would happily accept takeaway or homemade – the important clauses of the deal were a) the transaction had to happen in Bitcoin b) the food had to arrive at Hanyecz’s home, and c) he didn’t want to have to order or prepare the food himself.
It was a few days later when Jeremy Sturdivant replied to the post. He agreed to accept the deal and proceeded to place an order from his London apartment across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive at Florida-based Hanyecz’s place. That was it. Bitcoin had just successfully proven itself as the permissionless, cross-border payment method it was intended to be.
Of course, back in 2010 the 10,000 Bitcoin were worth a fraction of what they are today. In fact, according to the irreverent Twitter account ‘Bitcoin Pizza,’ the long-devoured disks of deliciousness were bought for over $83 million.
The #Bitcoin pizza is worth $83,131,600 today. (-2% from yesterday) Today is Bitcoin pizza day!
— Bitcoin Pizza 🍕 (@bitcoin_pizza) May 22, 2018
Hanyecz isn’t phased by the vast appreciation of his payment, however. For him, mining was a hobby and he did get free pizza after all. The now 36-year-old told the U.K.’s Telegraph:
“I don’t think it was a mistake. It’s like if you could go back in time and buy Google stocks when they were $1 or something… At the time it wasn’t worth much and I feel like if I hadn’t done it, someone else would have. I wouldn’t have spent $100m on pizza, right? But if I hadn’t done that, maybe it wouldn’t have become popular.”
In fact, Hanyecz enjoyed his entry into the Bitcoin history books so much that he repeated his order this year. This time, he used the Lightning Network to order his munchies – again two pizzas. He personally feels that the software upgrade is what’s missing from Bitcoin becoming a truly global payment network rather than a speculative investment that people are hoping will make them rich.
Even though people love to make a big deal about the supposed value of the legendary Bitcoin pizzas being in the tens of millions today, it’s not like Sturdivant ended up retiring in his twenties thanks to the deal. He was able to trade the coins in for a significant (although certainly not life-changing) profit to take a trip to the U.S. with his girlfriend. Eight years on from the purchase, Sturdivant still sees the necessity of a commodity like Bitcoin though:
“I believe the overall power of cryptocurrency is for good… empowering individuals and companies alike to handle local and international trade in a fair and traceable manner, and that’s exactly what I see it bringing to the future, as a component in an era of economic freedom.”