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Bitcoin Pizza Day Explained: The Story of the First BTC Transaction

5 mins
Updated by Maria Petrova

Have you heard of Bitcoin Pizza Day? Perhaps you even celebrate with a slice or two each year? Here’s everything you need to know about the story behind this iconic and noteworthy event, now celebrated each May. And yes, the tale may make you a little peckish!

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Bitcoin and pizza: The combination you didn’t know you needed

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Bitcoin, the first decentralized digital currency in the world, has undergone many exciting developments since its launch in 2009. And one key point in the currency’s history stands out from the rest: Bitcoin Pizza Day.  

Here’s the story. It was a normal Sunday evening in May 2010, and a programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz was feeling a bit peckish. He decided to order a pizza from his local pizza vendor — Papa John’s. Instead of purchasing with cash or a credit card, Hanyecz decided to pay another way — with his bitcoin.

Around this time, Bitcoin was still very much under the radar, and only a few people knew about the mysterious new digital currency. Hanyecz was among these few people and had accrued a decent amount from mining Bitcoin. So, he figured out a way to utilize it. He posted on the Bitcoin Talk forum, willing to pay 10,000 Bitcoin ($41 at the time) for two pizzas.

 “I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day,” Laszlo Hanyecz wrote.

bitcoin pizza day screenshot
Laszlo Hanyecz’s “bitcoin for pizza” request: Bitcoin Talk

Surprisingly, someone accepted the offer and delivered the two hot pizzas to Laszlo’s doorstep.

Laszlo had no idea that his pizza order would go down in history as the first recorded real-world BTC transaction.

Today, the equivalent amount of bitcoin used in buying those two pizzas is now worth about 300 million USD. Ouch!

What is Bitcoin Pizza Day?

Bitcoin Pizza Day is celebrated every year on May 22 to commemorate Laszlo Hanyecz’s historic transaction. On this day, bitcoin enthusiasts across the globe take time to celebrate the early days of cryptocurrency and use the day as a reminder of how far the OG coin has come.

Although there is no single way to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day, the most common activity is to buy goods (often pizza) using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. While some blockchain projects organize meetups and events, others mark the day with airdrops and giveaways.

On May 22, 2022, Binance hosted an extensive Bitcoin Pizza Day celebration and ran a 24-hour pizza stand in Cannes as well as a ten-day-long online giveaway.

Similarly, in 2021, a CryptoBootcampCommunity held several Pizza Day Hangouts in major African cities. The community hosted more than 12 events in various cities, including Abuja (Nigeria’s capital) and Kampala (Uganda’s Capital).

In 2023, an event billed as “Probably, The Largest Bitcoin Pizza Party in World” is set to take place on June 3, 2023. Presented by CryptoBillis, the event is a collaboration with Polygon Guild Malaysia, Bitcoin Malaysia, and Cryptocurrency Malaysia.

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The man behind the million-dollar pizza: Get to know Laszlo Hanyecz

Unsurprisingly, the man who (unbeknownst to him at the time) started Bitcoin Pizza Day has an interesting background. Laszlo Hanyecz was an early contributor to Bitcoin’s software. Hanyecz contributed significantly to Bitcoin’s development, coding a program that made it possible for fans to mine the currency using their computer’s graphics cards. In addition, he was the first developer to provide the Bitcoin logic for Mac OS. 

After accomplishing this impressive feat, Hanyecz promptly shared his findings with Satoshi Nakamoto and the wider bitcoin community. While he received recognition for his contribution, Satoshi was already well-versed in GPU mining and its ability to thwart 51% attacks, making Hanyecz’s discovery more of a confirmation than a revelation.

Hanyecz has continued to make similar purchases with Bitcoin over the years, spending 100,000 BTC on pizza that summer — now worth more than $300 million.

Who is Jeremy Sturdivant?

It’s important to note that the transaction did not occur solely between Hanyecz and Papa John’s. Another individual, Jeremy Sturdivant (also known as Jercos), was involved in the original BTC pizza transaction. Sturdivant was the person who received the 10,000 BTC and used it to buy the pizzas.

Jeremy Sturdivant, then just 19 years old, followed through on the deal, purchasing the pizzas and hand-delivering them to Hanyecz’s residence in Florida. While Sturdivant could have just made the most profitable deal of his life, the teenager didn’t become super rich from this encounter.

Like Hanyecz, Jeremy Sturdivant was unaware of just how valuable this BTC would grow to be; it has been widely reported that he later spent the coins he received covering expenses from a business trip. In 2013, Jerco told the “Bitcoin Who’s Who” publication his feelings when looking back at the amount of BTC he was unknowingly holding.

“Retrospectively, simply having that much bitcoin in one place is quite a crazy thought. Of course, that wasn’t notable at the time, as bitcoin was just getting started, and it otherwise felt much like later (smaller) transactions: a simple exchange of currency for goods or services.”

Bitcoin Pizza Day activities to celebrate the occasion

Purchase pizza with BTC

As a crypto investor, the most simple (and apt) activity you can engage in to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day is to buy pizzas with BTC instead of fiat currency. Support and participate in crypto history while enjoying your favorite pizza with friends and family.

Buy crypto

In case you haven’t yet bought your first crypto asset or it’s been a long time since you owned crypto, celebrating Bitcoin Pizza Day by buying BTC or another crypto seems apt. Additionally, you could take advantage of the event to research and learn about crypto use cases. 

Make your own pizza

Budding chefs can celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day by making homemade pizzas — a great way to connect with friends and family over delicious food with a crypto theme!

The legacy of Bitcoin Pizza Day

With hindsight, it’s incredible to have witnessed the exponential growth of the Bitcoin network and BTC in just a single decade. Who knew Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper would kickstart the decentralized world? Web3 and blockchain-based ecosystems are continuing to expand, and understanding and adoption are growing. Looking back certainly shows how far we have come.

As a crypto newbie, being skeptical of the future of your portfolio is normal (and wise!). It can sometimes feel like you are navigating uncharted waters with the sheer volatility of the market. But take a moment to consider the wild ride of bitcoin since that first pizza purchase. BTC has skyrocketed from less than a dollar to approximately $30,000; we can be optimistic about the future and expect continued innovation. And Bitcoin Pizza Day is the perfect time for a little reflection. Pepperoni, anyone?

Frequently asked questions

Who used 10000 Bitcoin for pizza?

What did Papa John’s do with 10000 Bitcoin?

Is the bitcoin pizza guy rich?

How much is the bitcoin pizza worth today?

Who owns bitcoin pizza?

When is Bitcoin Pizza Day?

Is the bitcoin pizza story real?

Who paid 10k Bitcoin for pizza?


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