ZB Shorts — Bitcoin Pizza Day
I’m sure you know this story by now. Guy buys pizza, pays in Bitcoin, Bitcoin then blows up so much that his pizza, in relative terms, costs him $30,000,000? At least, that’s what 10,000 BTC is worth today. At the time however, 10,000 BTC was worth no more than a couple of Veggie Supremes. Looking back, it’s a pretty cool story to tell —however it was also the most expensive pizza ever to have been bought, which is pretty rough. The day this transaction took place has been come to known as Bitcoin Pizza Day, and is marked annually by crypto enthusiasts across the world with…you guessed it! P.S. — there is no need to feel sympathy towards the purchaser, Laszlo Hanyecz, as he said the pizza tasted “really good”.
While on the surface, acknowledgment of this day is a very tongue-in-cheek, self-depreciative reflection of one man’s unfortunate parting of ways with a substantial amount of Bitcoin that could have made him very wealthy today, dig deep below the surface and it’s actually a far more significant event than it is given credit for, and for a few reasons.
Sitting here in 2022, it seems hard to believe that Bitcoin being used to purchase an actual commodity would be such a huge event. It is something that the crypto industry has been striving towards for a long time, to the point where sovereign nations have since adopted Bitcoin as an official payment method for goods in their countries. Back in 2010 though, when the transaction for a couple of pepperoni pizzas from Papa Johns took place, Bitcoin had only traded hands via direct transfers, and no actual transactions to purchase commodities had ever taken place.
While of course, over time the purchase has become something of a folklore tale, it was actually a hybrid between an experiment and a genuinely significant milestone for the cryptocurrency. We can lament the bad luck of the purchaser’s transaction with hindsight, however at the time this felt like the huge deal that it genuinely was. It would be amiss of us to forget that — although it is funny to joke about, nonetheless. If we were to spend our time focusing on the current value of transactions that took place many years ago, we could probably make a Pizza Day for every day of the year. Sometimes it’s more important to focus on its overall significance, rather than sweat the finer details.
That said, what better way to measure the exponential growth of Bitcoin than by comparing it to its value 12 years ago? Returns on investment for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency blow any other available investment at that time completely out of the water, with a $1,000 investment being worth north of $200,000,000 today — no other traditional stock investment comes close. So, while it has taken the value of a pizza order to highlight the growth of Bitcoin in layman terms, it’s certainly something that does it well. While people will of course argue that there’s far more stability within traditional stocks over the long term, those who took a gamble on crypto will have been rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. Bitcoin Pizza Day is a symbol of this.
Furthermore, In May 2010, just one month after Bitcoin began trading, its community would have been a very small enclave of hardcore followers. With 1 Bitcoin having barely any monetary value whatsoever at that point in time, it’s little wonder that its community was as small — albeit dedicated — as it was. As time has gone on, and more Bitcoins have entered circulation, the Bitcoin community has subsequently grown alongside it, and while this is a consequence of factors that are far more fundamental to the successful growth of the cryptocurrency itself, events like the infamous pizza transaction do go some way in creating something of a bond amongst its community of followers. To some degree, the Bitcoin pizza purchase made the cryptocurrency human, and relatable, giving it an avenue to be promoted in a way that was translatable to normal people — hence making it more appealing to newcomers. Before then, it was almost a figment of people’s imagination, something they couldn’t see, with no reference point of how it was applicable in the real world. With this purchase, however, Bitcoin created something that people could relate to, and it gave the crypto a personality that people could start to warm to.
Finally — and arguably the most obvious significance of Bitcoin Pizza Day — is that it was a sign of things to come for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. As previously mentioned, the purchase of the two Papa Johns pizzas was something of an experiment which ended up being far more significant than that. The purchase set the tone for what was to come in the future, and opened Bitcoin up to a whole new world of potential. It is only looking back today that we can see what the true potential of the cryptocurrency has proved to be, however such a small event as this has proved to be far more significant than Hanyecz and the cryptocurrency community could ever imagine.
Now, I appreciate this may be a particularly deep dive on a purchase of two pizzas, but it is much more of an event than it appears to be on the surface. Bitcoin’s growth over the last 12 years has been symbolized by Bitcoin Pizza Day, for multiple reasons. While we’re all busy tucking into one as an homage to that day, we shouldn’t forget how far crypto has come since then, and where it’s heading in the future.