The story behind the day bitcoin made pizza the most expensive meal in the world

- May 20, 2022 2 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock
Well before bitcoin’s coronation as an alternative asset class or getting the attention of institutional and celebrity investors, it lived in swamps and deserts.

It was only an experiment between cypherpunks & cryptographers without any market value or any real world applications.

On May 18, 2010 – after 14 months from Bitcoin genesis block – a computer programmer, Laszlo Hanyecz, posted at bitcointalk.org that he was willing to buy two pizzas for a price of 10,000 bitcoins.

He wanted two large ones, because he liked the idea of having leftover pizza, and warned that he didn’t want “weird fish toppings or anything like that”.

At the time, 10,000 bitcoins were roughly calculated to be around $41. There were not many people who accepted or were interested in Laszlo’s proposal in the first few days.

But on the fourth day, May 22, another forum member, then 19-year-old Jeremy Sturdivant from California, took him up on the deal and had two Papa John’s pizzas delivered to Laszlo in Florida.

This date has become known as Bitcoin Pizza Day and the value of those pizzas now is $298,175,464!

Bitcoin Pizza Day is not about the man who gave away (what is now) millions of dollars worth of bitcoin for a couple of pizzas.

It’s much more than that.

This was the first time bitcoin was used as a medium of exchange, one of the key roles of money, and used in a real world application with its intended creation  0 peer-to-peer transactions without an intermediary.

Bitcoin Pizza Day played a key role in the evolution of bitcoin and showcased to the world how messy the price discovery of new tokens can be early on in its life cycle.

Hanyecz, who wrote the first GPU miner, ended up handing over around 100,000 bitcoins that American summer to people who bought him lunch.

And here is his original post from bitcointalk.org.

The original Bitcoin/pizza post in 2010

As for Sturdivant, no, he’s not a 30-something multi-millionaire these days. Not long after the deal, he spent the bitcoin while travelling around the US on holiday with his girlfriend.

As he told the UK Telegraph a few years ago: “If I had treated it (the bitcoin) as an investment, I might have held on a bit longer.”