“Pizza for bitcoins?”
This is the title of a post from a user named “laszlo” dated May 18, 2010, on the obscure forum in a dimly lit corner of the internet, bitcointalk.org. The request was quite simple: “I will pay 10,000 bitcoins for some pizzas. Like maybe 2 big ones so I have some left over for the next day. I like to have leftover pizza to snack on later.
A user named “ender_x” commented on the thread later that day saying he thought 10,000 bitcoin was “a little” for two large pizzas and wished him well on his journey to acquire “a free pizza.” . In the end, the laszlo didn’t need luck, and those pizzas wouldn’t be considered “free” either. Five days later, on May 22, 2010, at 7:17 p.m., he commented on his own post with a picture of his pizzas, saying, “Just wanted to report that I traded 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza.” And with that, laszlo (full name: Laszlo Hanyecz) documented the first physical good purchased with bitcoin. There’s even a plaque commemorating the purchase at Papa John’s in Jacksonville, Florida, which reads, “Papa Johns. Creators of the famous Bitcoin pizzas. May 22, 2010.”
To say Hanyecz loved pizza would be an understatement. After this successful exchange, he posted that 10,000 bitcoins for two large pizzas was “an open offer”. Obviously, a lot more people ordered pizza from him because on August 4, 2010, Hanyecz rescinded his offer citing that he couldn’t afford to continue generating enough bitcoins to pay for the pizzas.
Several months later, on November 29, 2010, in a strangely prophetic way, another user named “ribuck” posted on the thread saying, “Will this end up being the first million dollar pizza in the world? world ? As the story unfolded, Ribuck’s prediction would prove far too weak. It’s fair to say that no one in this forum could have predicted or anticipated how valuable these bitcoins would become.
Since that thread, bitcoin has had a wild ride to the moon. As of this writing, 10,000 bitcoins are worth approximately $291,305,000! Did Hanyecz expect bitcoin to one day become as valuable as it is today? Probably not, but that’s not the point. Hanyecz just wanted to do a simple exchange, bitcoin for pizza. And that’s exactly what he did.
Today, many look at this business and think, “Oh wow, this guy must feel like a total jerk. Who exchanges this amount of money for two pizzas? If that’s what you think, then I’m afraid you missed the impact of this monumental event. Hanyecz himself said in an interview on CBS47, “People ask me…oh man what an idiot why didn’t you keep that bitcoin? It’s like, well, you know, somebody had to start.
When Hanyecz bought these pizzas, he established for the first time that bitcoin had market value. Of course, if it wasn’t Hanyecz, it would have been someone else, that was inevitable. Hanyecz himself does not regret the purchase and we should not ridicule him for it either. Instead, we should thank him for pioneering bitcoin adoption.
Bitcoin Pizza Day is one of those stories that, unless documented, you wouldn’t believe was real. As with much of Bitcoin history, Hollywood couldn’t write a better script than how it actually played out.
Now, Bitcoiners from all continents commemorate this event every May 22 by buying a pizza and sharing it with family and friends. In an almost religious way, Bitcoiners are coming together to remember the monumental day a humble Floridian from Jacksonville bought a pizza with some crazy new internet money that only a handful of people even knew existed at the time.
My humble town of Windsor, Ontario, Canada lacks a bitcoin meetup and community, so I decided to take advantage of Bitcoin Pizza Day by hosting the first bitcoin meetup in the border town. As a local church pastor, we have the advantage of using our worship space to host the event. Did Hanyecz ever think his simple purchase of two pizzas would trickle down to an event celebrating his purchase at a church in southern Ontario? Probably not, but here we are! We were able to secure sponsorship from Shakepay and Coinkite and were happy to have Greg Foss come along to do the orange pilling. It’s sure to be an amazing time.
Maybe you can’t host an event like this, but can you invite your family and friends over for pizza? Can you share the Bitcoin Pizza Day story with them while you feed them delicious cheese pies? Bitcoin Pizza Day is kind of like Bitcoin’s version of Thanksgiving, but instead of turkey, it’s pizza. It is a moment of thanks and of remembrance for all the path travelled. Bitcoin Pizza Day is a reminder that we will! Bitcoin Pizza Day is also one of the best orange pilling opportunities of the year.
Consider starting a family tradition. At my house, we make homemade pizza and our children pay for it by sending each other sats (the smallest unit of bitcoin) on the Lightning Network. It’s a day we all look forward to every year. The kids love it, we love it and everyone wins. Get creative, use it as a teaching opportunity, and have a little fun. So invite your family and friends, share with them the story of Bitcoin Pizza Day, eat pizza, be grateful and rejoice.
Bitcoin is a unifying force in this world. Bitcoin is for everyone. Bitcoin doesn’t care if you’re male or female; Bitcoin doesn’t care about your level of education or where you were born. Bitcoin is a truth protocol that cannot discriminate. Bitcoin represents freedom from the financial oppression of the fiduciary bankers who have been inflating our economies for over 50 years.
Whenever I think of Bitcoin Pizza Day, I can’t help but be reminded of Andy Bernard’s wise wisdom, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the ‘good old days.’ before actually leaving them.”
Did Laszlo Hanyecz realize he was at the forefront of the good old days of global bitcoin adoption when he posted on bitcointalk.org? Probably not. This Bitcoin Pizza Day, know for sure that you are in the good old days, order two pizzas, pay in bitcoin if you can and enjoy the good old days now because there are still many good days ahead.
This is a guest post by Alin Patularu. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.