Bitcoin was barely a year old and trading for less than a penny. Excitement for the world’s first cryptocurrency was still largely bottled up in the infant hobbyist forum Bitcointalk, itself barely half a year old. Here, OGs effervescent with enthusiasm compared notes on economic philosophy, technical knowledge and the new cryptographic beast that Satoshi Nakamoto created. Satoshi himself was still active on the forum, too, as the earliest adopters shared their visions for the future of money.
Though, if that future was going to be realized, something was still missing: No one had ever spent bitcoin on anything. Darknet markets wouldn’t exist for a few years and the only transactions users facilitated (besides peer-to-peer ones on the network) were done in cash.
Perhaps this is why Laszlo Hanyecz decided it was time to make history. On May 18, 2010, the Bitcoin Core contributor asked fellow enthusiasts on Bitcointalk if someone would “make [two large] pizzas yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place.” He offered 10,000 BTC for the service and, though it took four days, he got his wish.
One prescient user cautioned that 10,000 bitcoin was “quite a bit” — around $41 at the time. And, of course, “quite a bit” sounds like an absurd understatement today; seven years later, at bitcoin’s all-time high, that sum would be worth $200,000,000.
To Hanyecz, who told Bitcoin Magazine that he spent something near 100,000 BTC on pizza that year, the purchase was just another drop in the bucket.
“We would just give people bitcoin on the forum,” he said — sometimes 100, sometimes 1,000 BTC at a time.
“I wanted to do the pizza thing because to me it was free pizza,” Hanyecz explained.