10 Years After Laszlo Hanyecz Bought Pizza With 10K Bitcoin, Says No Regrets


Hanyecz is known as the first person to use bitcoin in a commercial transaction. On May 22, 2010, when bitcoin was a little over a year old, he bought two pizzas for 10,000 BTC. The day is now known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.” With one bitcoin now worth $9,500, this is apparently a joke and Hanyecz’s $45 million pizzas are the punchline.

The joke is also a parable, illustrating the competition and interplay between three potential uses of bitcoin. The first is speculation. Bitcoin’s nosebleed-inducing decade of upward price movement is what drives CNBC headlines and motivates participation: People see it as a way to get rich. “Bitcoin is a way to harness greed,” said Hanyecz in a recent interview from his home in Jacksonville, Fla. It’s greed that underpins the delicate balance of incentives that keeps bitcoin running.

Hanyecz understands that balance well, having been a contemporary of bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder, Satoshi Nakamoto (he says they messaged a few times), and an early bitcoin miner who tinkered to mine more efficiently and earn more bitcoin.

“Speculation” is sometimes treated as though it were not a legitimate use. It is, and it has been, an important part of bitcoin’s DNA from birth. Even U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has spoken respectfully of bitcoin’s role as a “speculative store of value.”

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