Imagine for just a moment that 10 years ago you had paid someone $40 for two decidedly average takeout pizzas. Imagine still that if you hadn’t bought those two pizzas, that $40 would now be worth more than $100 million. This is the story of how Bitcoin went from nearly worthless to one of the most valuable currencies in the world.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital only currency that was created in January 2009 by following the idea and process established in a whitepaper published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. To this day, nobody knows the identity of the creator – or even whether it is an individual or a group of people. Explaining just how bitcoin works isn’t an easy task, but the basic idea is that every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, and each transaction is then verified using an enormous amount of computing power by nodes on a network, called bitcoin mining. Each node is given a small fee for assisting with the process of verifying transactions and it is in this way that bitcoin is created. The public record of bitcoin is completely decentralized, and this means it can’t be controlled by any one person, company or country.
How to Get Bitcoin
You can buy bitcoin in a very similar way to any other currency – by using a currency exchange marketplace. Coinbase Canada and USA is one such example of this exchange, and users can purchase bitcoin which is then stored in their personal bitcoin wallet. Just like fiat currencies, Bitcoin has a fluctuating exchange rate based on demand and mining difficulty. Today, Bitcoin (BTC) is worth in the region of $10,000.
The World’s Most Expensive Pizza
On May 18th 2020, Laszlo Hanyecz was posting on an online forum and offered any user that would purchase and have delivered two Papa John’s Pizzas a sum of 10,000 bitcoins. It took just four days before Laszlo proudly posted again to announce, “I just want to report that I successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza.” Of course, in 2010 when bitcoin was worth very little, the offer amounted to only around $40, which seemed like a pretty good deal since the user who purchased the pizzas only had to pay $25 for them. The forum thread is still readable today and even includes a link to some photos of the pizzas Laszlo received. To this day, the exchange is celebrated by crypto enthusiasts on the 22nd of May each year with Bitcoin Pizza Day, with some users taking it upon themselves to purchase pizza using the cryptocurrency or even donating some pies to random strangers.
Today, these 10,000 bitcoins would be worth in excess of $100 million, making them the most expensive pizzas ever bought at a cool $50 million each. Despite losing $100 million on the deal, Laszlo is positive about his contribution to the world of cryptocurrency, stating that he’s happy to have contributed to the early days of the open-source currency in the little way he did. Would you feel the same way?