Yes, we know that Bitcoin Pizza Day is actually in May, but it seems appropriate to revisit this at a time when the price of Bitcoin is breaking all records, and set to climb even higher. You wouldn’t normally head straight for your Bitcoin stash to pay for your takeaway, but on 22nd May 2010, Florida programmer Laszlo Hanyecz was hungry.
On the Bitcoin Talk Forum, he posted “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…what I’m aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for Bitcoins…”. He was pretty specific about his likes and dislikes as well, making sure that there were onions, peppers, mushrooms and pepperoni, but not keen on any “weird fish stuff”. Thankfully, pizza delivery allows for ample customisation, so we can safely assume the anchovies didn’t make an unwelcome appearance.
In May 2010, 10,000 Bitcoins were worth around £30. A fair price to pay for two large pizzas from Papa John’s in Hanyecz’s local area. The buyer even got a good deal, only paying around £19 for them, so they were quids in even with Bitcoin being as close to worthless as makes no odds at the time. At the time of writing, if that British forum user had held onto those 10,000 Bitcoin, they would be richer to the tune of $151 million. Just park that for a moment, and let me type it out in actual words – one hundred and fifty one MILLION dollars.
Things that have no value
Back in September, we noted that money has no value, and is just a series of promise notes dating back hundreds of years. However, by taking a punt seven and a half years ago, Jeremy Sturdivant – the recipient of those 10,000 Bitcoins – could have been an exceptionally rich man today. There’s certainly no other kind of investment which would give you that kind of return in seven years (or indeed ever). Not bad for a £19 spend on a couple of pizzas, even if Jeremy does remember them as being from Dominos rather than Papa John’s.
18 years old at the time of the transaction, those 10,000 Bitcoins found their way back into the economy very quickly, so in their own way helped to improve the viability and usability of what was still a very new and untested cryptocurrency.
Today, Sturdivant works as a product development engineer for a company manufacturing radio broadcast equipment, and lives on the west coast in California. In his opinion, investing in Bitcoin companies is a bigger boost to cryptocurrency – and the economy in general – than hanging onto your wallet and waiting for it to grow.
Let’s face it, he should know. Next time you’re given the option of paying in Bitcoin, remember the $151 million pizza, and give the digital economy a boost.