Three male friends laughing while eating pizza at home on the couch.


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How many Bitcoins would you spend on a couple of pizzas?


Key points

  • 12 years ago a Bitcoin enthusiast spent 10,000 Bitcoin on two large pizzas. Those Bitcoins would now be worth around $300 million.
  • Since then, May 22 has been known as Bitcoin Pizza day — a day to celebrate the first real world Bitcoin transaction. 

It’s 12 years since Laszlo Hanyecz made history. The crypto enthusiast paid 10,000 BTC for two large pizzas in what’s now regarded as the first real world Bitcoin transaction. Back then, 10,000 BTC was worth around $40. Today, it’s worth about $300 million, with which you could probably buy a whole chain of pizza restaurants and have change.

Hanyecz posted the following request on a Bitcoin forum: “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. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later.” A few days later, he reported that he’d successfully made the trade. The programmer was an active contributor to the Bitcoin community, including developing a new computing code for mining.

Bitcoin pizza day

Back in 2010, few people involved imagined that Bitcoin would spawn a trillion dollar market. Nor did they know that May 22 would forever be celebrated as Bitcoin pizza day. Since then, Bitcoin’s been used to pay for everything from cups of coffee to holidays and luxury watches. You can even buy a house using cryptocurrency. 

Here are some other key moments in the evolution of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies:

  • October 2008: Satoshi Nakamoto releases whitepaper that outlines a form of decentralized peer-to-peer electronic payments. 
  • January 2009: Nakamoto creates 50 BTC and transfers 10 to Hal Finney, an early Bitcoin adopter.
  • May 2020: Hanyecz makes the first real world Bitcoin transaction.
  • July 2010: Bitcoin starts trading. By the end of the year, 1 BTC was worth around $0.80.
  • October 2011: Litecoin (LTC), one of the first altcoins, is launched. There are now over 19,000 different cryptocurrencies out there, with many projects that go much further than acting as a decentralized form of payment. 
  • October 2013: Silk Road, a kind of black market platform that relied on crypto, is shut down by the FBI.
  • February 2014: Mt. Gox — the biggest crypto exchange at the time — is hacked and the company goes bankrupt. At one point, Mt. Gox handled about 70% of all crypto transactions. 
  • December 2014: Microsoft adds Bitcoin as a form of payment.
  • December 2017: Bitcoin price explodes, opening the year at around $900 and finishing at around $15,000, according to CoinMarketCap data. When Forbes said 2017 would be known as the year of Bitcoin, little did they know the crypto king would reach a high of $69,000 in 2021.
  • October 2020: PayPal enters the crypto market in the U.S.
  • February 2021: Tesla announces it will accept Bitcoin payments. The electric car company later backtracked on this decision, which along with China’s move to ban crypto again, caused 2021’s first major dip in prices.
  • March 2021: Morgan Stanley becomes first big U.S. bank to offer Bitcoin to certain clients.
  • September 2021: El Salvador becomes the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. 

There are many more milestones we could point to, especially in the past few years when crypto has made significant strides in adoption and acceptance. Nonetheless, we hope the highlights above give you a taste of some of the highlights as we celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day.

What it means for investors

2022 has not been the easiest year for crypto investors. Many assets are down 50% or more from their November highs, and it isn’t clear when the market might recover. Indeed, some fear the market may not recover at all. While there are many reasons for optimism, there are also no guarantees about what will happen next.

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Nonetheless, our brief look back at Bitcoin’s history is a great reminder of how much has unfolded in a relatively short space of time. Fourteen years ago, Bitcoin was an idea still formulating in the back of Satoshi Nakamoto’s mind. He hadn’t even released the whitepaper. Since then we’ve seen incredible growth, a fair share of hacks and dodgy dealings, as well as a host of other firsts and significant milestones.

If you bought crypto for the first time last year it’s understandable you’re worried about what might happen to your investments. Perhaps you’ll find some reassurance in the knowledge that the value of a single Bitcoin has grown from less than $1 to around $30,000 in about 12 years. It has already been a rollercoaster ride, and we’re sure to see more volatility as the industry continues to head deeper into uncharted waters. Whatever else we might say, the story of the world’s first decentralized digital currency is far from over.

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