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Before Pizza, There Was a JPEG: The Forgotten First Bitcoin Transaction

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Bitcoin pizza day is celebrated on May 22.
  • But the community has discovered another trade that could predate the infamous 10,000 BTC transaction for two pizzas.
  • Did the first Bitcoin (BTC) trade involve JPEGs?
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With Bitcoin Pizza Day nearing, the community is engaged in a conversation about one of the initial Bitcoin transactions, pondering whether it involved the purchase of a JPEG.

Bitcoin Pizza Day is celebrated on May 22 to mark the first occasion when Bitcoin (BTC) was used to make payments. But, a screenshot from a Bitcoin forum is widely circulating on Twitter.

First Bitcoin Trade: An Image Worth 500 Bitcoin?

Sabunir, who wanted to try Bitcoin transactions, posted on the Forum that he was willing to sell a desktop wallpaper for 500 BTC (approximately $1 in 2010). He wrote on Jan. 24, 2010:

“To get the picture, please send the coins to me and then send a Private Message stating the time you sent them. I will reply to your Private Message with a link to the picture.

The image I’m selling is my own creation, with a resolution of 1280×960 – great for a desktop background.”

Also, Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, participated in the conversation to facilitate the trade.

Sabunir wanted to trade a JPEG for 500 Bitcoin
Source: Bitcoin Forum

The Community Wasn’t Willing to Pay

A month after Sabunir’s post, the offer received lesser interest, and hence he questioned to refine future attempts on Feb. 9, 2010. A forum user, SmokeTooMuch, replied that he wasn’t interested in spending money on wallpaper.

A forum user wasn't interested in spending money on wallpaper.
Source: Bitcoin Forum

But, on Feb. 24, 2010, Sabunir’s wallet received two transactions, one for 100 BTC and another for 500 BTC.

The community has been discussing that if the transaction were due to the sale of an image, it would predate the infamous Bitcoin transaction of 10,000 BTC for two pizzas.

Sabunir received transactions for 100 BTC, and 500 BTC
Source: Blockchair

However, others argue that these transactions were for a donation rather than sell of a JPEG. Adding to the argument, a Twitter user claims that the first transaction worth 100 BTC was received seven minutes before the donation request.

Perhaps only Sabunir can give clarification on the widely discussed Bitcoin transaction.

Meanwhile, there have been over 6.8 million Bitcoin Ordinals Inscriptions minted to date, according to a Dune dashboard.

The Ordinals technology allows inscribing data such as text, audio, and video to Satoshis, the smallest unit of BTC, thus making Satoshis unique. 

Got something to say about the first Bitcoin trade or anything else? Write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTok, Facebook, or Twitter.

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya is a journalist at BeInCrypto, who writes about various topics, including decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), tokenization, crypto airdrops, decentralized finance (DeFi), meme coins, and altcoins. Before joining BeInCrypto, he was a community consultant at Totality Corp, specializing in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Additionally, Harsh was a blockchain content writer and researcher at Financial Funda, where he created educational reports on...
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