There is always a first time for everything. And oftentimes, the first time we do anything is always remarkable, making it almost impossible for us to forget them. This is the case for the usage of bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency by value, adoption rate, and market capitalization.
Though introduced on 31 October 2008—the day Bitcoin Whitepaper was released by the pseudonymous founder(s) Satoshi Nakamoto—it took sometime before it was used as a cryptocurrency for any real-world transaction.
Back in its infant years, Bitcoin was seen as an obscure technology and hence, had a very low adoption rate. At the time, BTC could be mined on a couple of websites and online gamers could also earn them for playing designated video games—and that was all.
Many influential individuals and entities that knew about the innovation destructively criticized it, calling Bitcoin a bubble that was going to fade away or be restrained by government bans. But that has not been the case many years down the line as Bitcoin cannot be destroyed or banned given that it is founded on an indestructible technology dubbed blockchain and is not controlled by any central authority. Instead, Bitcoin has been thriving massively and even inspired the invention of thousands of other cryptoassets.
But how did Bitcoin begin to gain popularity? What brought it to the limelight and when was it first used for a real-world transaction? All of these answers are wrapped up in the Bitcoin Pizza Day story.
Bitcoin Pizza Day Story: The genesis of bitcoin adoption
First, note that Bitcoin is a protocol, a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, and a cryptocurrency. When referring to it as a protocol or a p2p network, it is Bitcoin (with ‘B’ in upper case). But when referring to it as a cryptocurrency, it is bitcoin (with ‘b’ in lower case). Combining these three meanings, this is why Bitcoin is described as “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system”.
Read also: What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is no longer an obscure technology, as it was in 2008 when it was invented. As a cryptocurrency, bitcoin is transforming the financial world in more ways than one with millions of individuals investing and using the cryptocurrency as a payment method daily.
While bitcoin’s first use as medium of payment for a real-life item is unknown, 22 May 2010 is popularly known as the date a large amount of bitcoin was used to pay for pizza. This day marked the beginning of the intersection of crypto and pop culture, although the transaction was seen as a plaything at the time.
What happened on this day and why was it significant for the Bitcoin movement?
On 22 May 2010, a Florida programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz became the first individual to use bitcoin in purchasing a physical item. Notably, Hanyecz paid a whopping 10,000 bitcoins for two large Papa John’s pizzas, making these pizzas the most expensive ones in history given the value of BTC at the time of writing—$27,000.
Back in May 2010, BTC was relatively low in market value with no widespread adoption. Mostly like, the programmer had mined some bitcoins but didn’t know how to effectively utilize them. Hanyecz must have thought it would be a wise decision to exchange them for something tangible such as food. So he wrote in the Bitcoin community:
“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.”
A British man named Jeremy Sturdivant accepted the offer. Accordingly, Sturdivant ordered two large Papa John’s pizzas worth $30 and delivered them to Hanyecz in exchange for 10,000 bitcoins. Subsequently, Hanyecz published a picture of the pizzas on the forum, notifying that the transaction was completed:
“I just want to report that I successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza. Thanks, jercos.”
From the foregoing, Hanyecz traded BTC at $0.003 per coin.
This historic transaction was recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain with the transaction hash ID — a1075db55d416d3ca199f55b6084e2115b9345e16c5cf302fc80e9d5fbf5d48d.
Read also: What is cryptocurrency?
Key significance of Bitcoin Pizza Day
22 May known as ‘Bitcoin Pizza Day’ has become a notable day in the crypto community given the consequence of the event that occurred on that day. While some may decide to talk down Hanyecz’s action on the premise that 10,000 bitcoins would have earned him hundreds of millions of dollars at the time of writing compared to the value he got back then, it is essential to note that the Florida programmer paved the way for BTC adoption.
Hanyecz showed that bitcoin could be used to get real-life value. Many years down the line, BTC and other cryptoassets are now accepted as a means of exchange and payment method by many individuals and businesses all around the world.
This is because of the swiftness, transparency, trusted and decentralized nature of BTC. More so, the growing usage of bitcoin and cryptoassets by individuals to settle payments is because no intermediary is always required to approve transactions as in the case of using fiats where banks are always being relied on. Therefore, crypto makes payments easy and fast, eliminating unnecessary dependence on the traditional banking system.
Beyond that, many have chosen bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general over fiat currencies given the many benefits they offer such as providing a hedge against rising inflation in the world and serving as a store of value.
Bitcoin Pizza Day, which commemorates the first documented real-world transaction involving bitcoin, serves as a reminder of the early days of bitcoin and highlights its use as a medium of exchange. It symbolizes the growth and adoption of cryptoassets and has become a significant milestone in bitcoin’s history. Many Bitcoin enthusiasts and cryptocurrency communities celebrate this day by organizing meetups, and events, or simply enjoying pizza while reflecting on the progress of digital currencies. For others, Bitcoin Pizza Day represents a day to celebrate economic freedom and liberty, especially in countries where government actions and high inflation have combined to make bitcoin an alternative to fiat currencies.
Credit: Ndianabasi Tom
A crypto journalist and content writer who has been talking about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, Ndianabasi is a Writer at Crypto Asset Buyer (CAB).