How a 10,000 Bitcoin Pizza Transformed Bitcoin

Bitcoin Pizza Day: Fourteen years ago today Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoin for a pizza, marking the first commercial transaction made using the cryptocurrency. And with it, Bitcoin Pizza Day was born.

The Florida-based programmer, aged 28 at the time, posted a pizza order in a Bitcoin Talk Forum on May 22, 2010.

He wanted a pizza delivery “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!”

Pizza Set the Stage for Bitcoin Revolution
Hanyecz offered 10,000 bitcoin (BTC) to the person who would bring him the pizzas.

“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas … like maybe 2 large ones so I have some leftover for the next day. I like having leftover pizza to nibble on later,” he said.

“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…”

Jeremy Sturdivant, a California student who was 19 at the time, took up the offer and brought Hanyecz two large pizzas from Papa John’s for 10,000 Bitcoin.

The deal, which has since been mythologized as Bitcoin Pizza Day, has earned notoriety over time because 10,000 BTC, worth about $41 at the time, is now worth $700 million at existing prices.

More importantly, Pizza Day marked the first time Bitcoin, first mined by its pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto on January 3, 2009, was ever used in a commercial transaction. The transaction spawned an industry that is now valued at $2.7 trillion.

Exchanges Use Bitcoin Pizza Day for Educational Outreach
On May 22, 2024, the crypto community celebrates the 14th anniversary of the Bitcoin Pizza Day.

Hashtags such as #BitcoinPizzaDay and #PizzaForBitcoin are lighting up social media platforms as crypto enthusiasts and businesses throw pizza parties, contests, and educational outreaches around the world.

Crypto exchange Bitget is working NounsDAO, Unlock Protocol, Stand with Crypto, OwnTheDoge, the World Pizza Champions and others to throw a Global Pizza Party in 150 cities across the world.

Meanwhile, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is engaging and educating people on Bitcoin Pizza Day with events concurrently held in 16 countries between May 17 and May 22.

Bitget CEO Grace Chen told Cryptopolitan that Pizza Day marked a turning point in the evolution of Bitcoin as it embodied proof of concept, publicity boost and cultural impact for the cryptocurrency.

“This seemingly simple transaction carried profound significance,” Chen said.

“Hanyecz’s pizza purchase demonstrated that Bitcoin could be used to buy real goods and services, validating the idea of decentralized digital currency.”

Concerning publicity boost and culture, she observed: “The successful transaction sparked interest and excitement both within and outside the Bitcoin community, encouraging more people to explore and experiment with Bitcoin.”

Pizza Helped Fuel Web3 Growth
Bitcoin Pizza Day has become a part of crypto culture, fostering a sense of community and shared history among enthusiasts and investors. Chen noted that the story has enduring educational value still utilized to reach more people with the idea of a decentralized currency.

The day is more than a quirky anecdote. “It symbolizes the early steps of Bitcoin in proving its utility and establishing its place in the world of finance,” the Bitget CEO explained.

“It reminds us of the journey from a novel idea to a revolutionary financial technology, highlighting the community spirit and innovative drive that continues to propel the cryptocurrency space forward,” Chen adds.

Real-world applications unlocked by Bitcoin extend to social pillars such as education.

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People attending Bitcoin Pizza Day in Bahrain, 2023. Image credits: Binance/X

No Regrets for Buying Million-Dollar Pizza
Years later, the man who squandered the equivalent of $700 million in bitcoin on two pizzas has no regrets.

Laszlo Hanyecz, who claims to have texted a few times with Satoshi Nakamoto, relishes the idea that his pizza order is now a red-lettered parable in cryptocurrency mythology.

“You know I don’t regret it. I think I like the fact that I got to be part of the early history of bitcoin in that way, and people know about the pizza and it’s an interesting story because everybody can relate to that and be like – Oh my God, you spent all that money!” Hanyecz said in a 2020 interview.

His opposite number, Sturdivant is not spared the notoriety as he used up his profit from the pizza deal for traveling.

Sturdivant estimates that the highest amount he has ever had in Bitcoin was about 40,000 BTC from mining and trading early on.

“I’ve never seen Bitcoin as an investment, and while it’s easy to look back and say ‘I could have been a millionaire,’ I think it’s more important to look at the mindset I had during the pizza transaction,” he says.

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