As many people remember, bitcoin wasn’t always worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Back on May 22nd, 2010, a Florida programmer, Laszlo Hanyecz, made history when he purchased two large Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin. This day has since become known as "Bitcoin Pizza Day," and Hanyecz became famous for spending valuable currency on a simple transaction.
Now, every year, the crypto community celebrates the day to commemorate how far the technology has come and how, even among newer cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin has stood the test of time.
A History of Bitcoin Pizza Day
The story of Bitcoin Pizza Day is the story of the first commercial transaction involving bitcoin when the digital asset was used to buy two large pizzas from a Papa John's pizza shop in Jacksonville, Florida.
Hanyecz was an early adopter of Bitcoin and had been mining the cryptocurrency on his computer since 2009. By May 2010, Bitcoin had gained a small but dedicated following among tech enthusiasts, but had yet to really break into the mainstream. Hanyecz, who was a fan of pizza, had an idea: he wanted to see how practical and useful bitcoin could be by using it to buy pizzas. One of them would have toppings like peppers and onions, while the other one could be plain.
Hanyecz posted on a Bitcoin forum, offering to pay 10,000 btc to anyone who would order him two large Papa John's pizzas and have them delivered to his home (the order was worth roughly $40 at the time). Soon, a fellow forum member named Jeremy Sturdivant, who lived nearby took him up on the offer. Sturdivant ordered the pizzas and had them delivered to Hanyecz's house, and Hanyecz sent him the bitcoin in exchange.
Back in 2010, Hanyecz's pizza purchase was seen online by forum goers as a fun experiment, but it has since taken on much greater significance. It is widely regarded as the first known commercial bitcoin transaction, and a milestone in the development of the cryptocurrency.
Two Pizzas for 10K Bitcoin: A Legacy
May 22, aka Bitcoin Pizza Day, is a holiday with a lot of significance despite its whimsical name. It marks the moment in history when bitcoin began to be accepted into the mainstream and when more people started to notice its existence. Back then, 10,000 bitcoin was a paltry amount to be used for a casual pizza order.
In 2010, when technologists and laymen were just waking up to the possibilities of social media and big tech, bitcoin represented a decentralized way for individuals to buy and enjoy goods and services without having to rely on traditional financial institutions. Hanyecz proved that this was viable by purchasing two simple pizza pies, and that the decentralized nature of bitcoin makes it convenient to make transactions between people without a third-party payment processor.
Over the years, Bitcoin Pizza Day has become a milestone in the currency’s history. It’s a reminder of how far Bitcoin has come in the past decade. Since Hanyecz’s pizza purchase, Bitcoin has grown from a community of tech-savvy programmers to a global movement backed by millions of people, including investors (who have, in turn, also helped the digital asset hit all-time highs). Traditional banks like J.P. Morgan Chase have experimented with the technology and major companies like Walmart and Starbucks use decentralized ledgers in their supply chains to skillfully track products.
Today, Bitcoin is currently the largest and most widely used cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of more than $500 billion. While Bitcoin still has its critics and skeptics, its rise from a simple pizza transaction to a global currency is a remarkable story of innovation disrupting existing systems. The decentralized technology has established itself in the annals of financial history.
How Bitcoin Pizza Day is Celebrated
Bitcoin Pizza Day is celebrated by the crypto community every year on May 22nd. While there is no official way to celebrate, there’s a common way that people mark the occasion: by throwing pizza parties in a homage to the first real-world transaction using bitcoin.
Many pizza restaurants now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, and some even offer discounts or promotions for customers who pay with the cryptocurrency. For those who prefer to stay at home, there are also several online pizza delivery services, which have only proliferated in the past two decades.
Given the price of bitcoin these days, it wouldn't cost you 10,000 bitcoin an order. Instead, Hanyecz's order would likely only cost a Bitcoin enthusiast about 0.000037 BTC. That, in and of itself, is a testament to the growth of not just Bitcoin, but the growth of the global crypto community as well.