Remembering That Time a Dude Unknowingly Spent $20 Million On Two Pizzas
Bitcoin Pizza Day is all about recognizing the magic of exchange rates and cryptocurrencies.
Photo via Flickr user Amy the Nurse
In the past few months, there has been a seemingly endless string of headlines shouting about the World's Most Expensive Pizza. You've read about all of them, whether it's the $2,000 pie topped with gold flakes, caviar and truffles, or the ridiculous Louis XIII version, which is smothered with caviar and, well, more caviar and prepared in your own home for a totally reasonable $12,000.
But the one that beats all of them is jaw-droppingly pricey—not because of its toppings, but because of the currency used to pay for it.
Seven years ago, a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz posted an innocuous request in the forum of Bitcointalk.org, asking if anyone would accept 10,000 bitcoins in exchange for two pizzas. "I like things like onions, peppers, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, etc. Just standard stuff, no weird fish topping or anything like that," he wrote. "I also like regular cheese pizzas which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire."
It took two days before someone accepted his offer. Jeremy Sturdivant, a teenager who used the name Jercos, took those 10,000 bitcoin and sent two Papa John's pizzas to Hanyecz's home, which was Jacksonville, Florida at the time. "I just want to report that I successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza," Hanyecz wrote.
At the time, other commenters on the message board were questioning Hanyecz's decision, since those 10,000 bitcoins were worth around $41. Fast forward seven years, and it seems that he now blew the equivalent of $20 million on two delivery pizzas. A single bitcoin is worth $2,251 in today's market, so with the current exchange rate, he paid $11.2 million per pie. And it didn't even have caviar on it.
In 2013, Hanyecz told the New York Times that he had no regrets about spending his bitcoin stash on pizza. "It wasn't like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool," he said. When the value of a bitcoin reached $1, he cashed all of his in, earning "enough to get a new computer."
No one seems to know where Hanyecz is now (that very question was just posed on r/Bitcoin last week), but the anniversary of his still-historic transaction is celebrated every May 22—the day he received his pizzas.
"As they say, 'give a man a pizza, he'll eat for a day; let him buy pizza with bitcoin, revolutionize the economy,'" Sturdivant said. "Something like that anyway."
Yeah. Something like that.