The 11th Anniversary of the $500 Million Bitcoin Pizza

May 22, 2021 will be the 11th anniversary of the first official Bitcoin transaction: a pizza purchase now estimated to cost over $500 million. Despite the recent spike in Bitcoin value, as well as an army of celebrity endorsements, the cryptocurrency didn’t initially take off running after that initial purchase.

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Getting The Coin Rolling

Bitcoin was first invented and implemented by someone under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Focusing on several tenants of the Cypherpunk community, the digital asset attached to the Blockchain network gained mainstream attention when its first open source client and virtual wallet SourceForge was announced in 2009.

Popular mainly on message boards deep within the internet’s metaverse, the cryptocurrency was more of a niche trend for emerging tech stars than a financially backed alternative to money.

The integrity and dependability of the coin was anticipated early on. Nakamoto embedded the message “The Times Jan/03/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” into the Bitcoin Genesis Block text.

The text referenced an LA Times article from 2009 that spotlighted several emerging cryptocurrencies that had the potential to change the financial system of the country. The small reference showcased the ultimate potential and perceived goal of Bitcoin. 

The notoriety of the coin, as well as its real world value and potential, began to take center stage on May 22, 2010 when the first official Bitcoin transaction took place online. 

Two Pizzas For 10,000 Bitcoins

A post shared by Papa John’s (@papajohns)

Laszlo Hanyecz, an early adopter of the currency and an ally of the anonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto, took to an online message board called BitcoinTalk and posted a request to order two large pizzas to his location in Florida. 

He offered 10,000 bitcoin for the transaction and one luck user under the name of Jercos, later identified as Jeremy Sturdivant, took him up on the offer.  Two Papa Johns Pizzas were delivered and the 10,000 Bitcoins were exchanged.

At the time, Bitcoin was valued at less than a penny, around $0.003. The initial transaction was valued at around $41. Now, 11 years later, that same transaction equates to over $500 million.

The exchange quickly became internet folklore, developing memes as well as several cautionary tales when it came to crypto investments.

Hanyecz, however, has never regretted the purchase. The transaction and moment in history also launched a separate pizza company called Lightning Pizza, which allows users to pay for pizza in Bitcoin.

But now, the moment has become a tentpole in Bitcoin’s history. Celebrations occur every year for early pioneers and adopters of the currency, marking May 22 as ‘Bitcoin Pizza Day’. 

On May 22, the event is celebrated by ordering pizza and reflecting on the unexpected and ever increasing value of Bitcoin, along with the winding journey the cryptocurrency has taken. 

Elon’s Blessing

Bitcoin has recently gained traction in headlines again through Elon Musk’s company Tesla.

Tesla announced in February of 2021 their decision to spend and transition over $1.5 billion in company assets into Bitcoin. But the company has pushed the idea of the currency further. Recently, Musk also announced an option for customers to provide Bitcoin as a form of payment for a variety of their cars and products. The company has also altered the title of their CFO position, turning it officially into “Master of Coin.” The new name alludes to the future of the cryptocurrency in relation to the company. 

The recent rise in Bitcoin’s notoriety can also be attributed to the increased popularity from NFTs. The digital art known as Non-Fungible Tokens has increased the value and reputation of the cryptocurrency.

NFTs have exploded within the entertainment economies of art, music, and design. Also traded through Blockchain, the same crypto system as Bitcoin, these NFTs have paved the way for new investors to get involved in the cryptocurrency excitement.

While the future of Bitcoin is murky, and pressures continue to arise from the federal reserve with many fearing a strong government regulation in the near future, Bitcoin has traversed controversial moments before. Having been labeled a ponzi scheme, a joke, a solid investment, and a lottery ticket that keeps on giving, the future of bitcoin is guaranteed to be an exciting yet turbulent one.

So on May 22, take a seat, order a pizza, and get ready for the wild ride that will be bitcoin’s future. But maybe, pay cash for the pizza and keep those Bitcoins, just in case.

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Sources: Forbes, CoolWallet, CBS News, Investopedia, InvestorPlace, WalletInvestor, Cryptoslate, TheStreet, BusinessInsider, TheMotleyFool, BitcoinWiki, MaltaToday, Decrypt, NewYorker, BitcoinTalk, INC, Finder, Bloomberg, YahooFinance

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