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The true story behind Bitcoin Pizza Day- and the man who started it all

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The crypto world is a strange place- we have expressions like ‘to the moon’ and ‘rug’, which aren’t really used anywhere else, and we have celebrations on days like today- Bitcoin Pizza Day, on May 22 .

Many of us probably already know the story.

In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas, representing the first real-world transaction where Bitcoins were used to buy something in the real world.

Hanyecz himself gained quite a bit of fame in the years following this transaction. After all, while Bitcoins may not have been valuable back then, realities have changed, and even one Bitcoin today can earn you more than two pizzas.

Despite the countless taunts and calculations made to ostensibly show shortsighted Hanyecz himself having to pay for perhaps the most expensive pizza to date, Hanyecz has stated time and time again that he has no regrets about making the transaction.

But who exactly is Laszlo Hanyecz? Besides his reputation as the man who spent 10,000 Bitcoins on a pizza, what else is he known for?

The real Laszlo Hanyecz

10,000 Bitcoins is not a small amount – even for now. In 2010, the number of Bitcoins in circulation was only about 2 million, so 10,000 Bitcoins would account for 0.5% of the total supply.

For context, if someone owned 0.5% of the world’s wealth today, they would have about 2.3 trillion US Dollars. As an illustration, Apple, the world’s largest company by market capitalization, has a valuation of around US$2.54 trillion.

How did Hanyecz get this much Bitcoin? First, he entered early.

He was actually so early on, that he actually contributed to the Bitcoin code. Hanyecz is credited with being the first Bitcoin developer to release Bitcoin mining code for Mac OS, and some credit him with being the first to realize that GPU mining over CPU mining is more efficient.

This invention, it turned out, meant he could mine Bitcoins far more efficiently than any other miner at the time, and allowed him to collect 10,000 Bitcoins that were eventually used to pay for a pizza.

However, this discovery alone also sparked an arms race between miners for better equipment, particularly GPUs. What started as a simple realization has led to price spikes for GPUs, CPUs specifically developed for crypto mining, and more.

Currently, in order to have a reasonable opportunity to mine Bitcoins, miners now use expensive and energy intensive mining rigs. Do we really believe that this is something to celebrate?

The original vision for Bitcoin was focused heavily on decentralization and freedom from oppression. Are we so sure that Bitcoin today, with its massive mining operations run by companies and heavily guarded by high barriers to entry in the form of hardware fees is really something to celebrate?

Of course, this is not something Hanyecz should slander. Although he discovered the potential of GPU mining, that discovery alone was just one reason for the mining arms race. The miners themselves are also to blame for the escalation of their arms race, and for building more energy-intensive methods to mine Bitcoins.

And even if Hanyecz didn’t invent GPU mining, as some say, others will. Hanyecz may be the first, but showing that he’s the only one capable of finding it and taking advantage of it is another. For example, Satoshi himself may have known about GPU mining when Hanyecz told him about the discovery.

As we can see, Hanyecz is not the idiot many people describe him as- in fact he was a brilliant early adopter who was responsible for some of the early developments of Bitcoin. But history has a way of losing track of important details- and this isn’t the only time such details have been omitted at Hanyecz’ expense in favor of a good story.

The truth behind the 10K BTC pizza

Most of us probably think we at least know this story- that Hanyecz paid Papa Johns 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas. In fact, Hanyecz’s twitter bio explicitly states “I am a person who bought a 10,000btc pizza 8 years ago. I am poor now.”

Admittedly, this story is largely true- but again some details have been omitted.

First, while Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoins and received two Papa Johns pizzas, Hanyecz did not pay Papa John 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas.

Instead, Hanyecz actually posted the request on the Bitcointalk forum, saying that he was willing to pay 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas, to anyone willing to comply with the request. They are free to make their own pizza, or buy and have it delivered to their doorstep.

You may also notice that Hanyecz posted this not on May 22nd, but on May 18th. So where did May 22nd come from?

May 22nd was actually the day another forum member, Jeremy Sturdivant, accepted Hanyecz’s offer. Sturdivant is the one who orders delivery for Papa Johns to deliver two pizzas to Hanyecz, and pays fiat currency to Papa Johns. In return, Sturdivant received 10,000 Bitcoins from Hanyecz.

So the transaction wasn’t as easy as it’s often told – Hanyecz didn’t pay Papa Johns 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas, but instead paid someone else to order pizzas to his house.

This story is a far cry from the commonly told story that a business actually accepts cryptocurrency as payment- and the real story is simply that two members of the community were only using crypto among themselves.

So why are we celebrating Bitcoin Pizza Day?

Bitcoin Pizza Day is important not because it represents some major milestone that the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency community has reached, but because it is a time to look back at how far the community has come.

May 22 may not be as monumental as many of us have previously believed, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating its significance to us.

The reason we celebrate the founding of our country, or the birthdays of our friends, or any victory in our life no matter how small, is not because the whole world cares, but because we care – these events matter to those who celebrate them. them, and that’s what matters.

But maybe it’s time to celebrate in a way that is more reflective of the events that actually happened; Hanyecz parting ways with 10,000 Bitcoins in 2010 was not a moment of stupidity or shortsightedness, but a decision made by one of Bitcoin’s most important developers; It wasn’t the first crypto transaction involving real-world goods and services, but it was a sign of community bonding and trust in the nascent cryptocurrency.

This achievement, however insignificant it may seem to others, was important to the early Bitcoin community, and it is important to us as a crypto community. That in itself, is something worth celebrating.

Yes, those 10,000 Bitcoins are worth a lot today- but we’re missing the point if that’s all we’re focused on when celebrating. There is much more to celebrate: Hanyecz was a titan among early developers, and his contributions were significant to the early Bitcoin community. And how far the crypto world has come, with enhancements such as smart contracts, NFTs, and tokenization, is also something to celebrate.

Let’s reflect on this achievement, and the genius of Hanyecz, instead of bragging about the time someone spent 10,000 Bitcoins on two pizzas- because to do that would mean passing the forest for the trees.

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