It’s been over a decade since Bitcoin was first announced to the world. It was the first censorship-resistant, trustless, decentralized payments network, but the original cryptocurrency wouldn’t generate much hype until a few years later. In the early stages following Bitcoin’s launch, cryptocurrency mining wasn’t even an industry yet, and was quite different from the fiercely competitive space it is today.
This made it fairly simple for enthusiasts to mine BTC from their desktop computers, and is what enabled a programmer from Florida to make one of the most important purchases of his life. In May 2010, Bitcoin was still relatively niche, but Laszlo Hanyecz, often nicknamed the ‘Bitcoin Pizza Guy,’ purchased two pizzas for 10,000 BTC – the first recorded purchase made using a cryptocurrency.
The Bitcoin protocol has gone through countless upgrades over the last twelve years, improving its performance and security while steadily making its way into more mainstream use-cases. However, before the days of centralized and decentralized exchanges, people primarily traded cryptocurrencies over forums, discussion boards, and IRC channels.
Hanyecz had made his offer on the Bitcointalk forum, where most of the Bitcoin conversation was happening at the time. 10,000 BTC was worth around $41 at the time, making the pizzas a little overvalued back then too. Today, however, those assets are worth a considerable amount more.
Based in Singapore, global cryptocurrency exchange Phemex has seen impressive growth this last quarter. However, having consistently improved its trading engine and conducting events to keep up with the community, this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. The exchange recently announced that it had crossed one million users on the platform, reporting a 156.9% growth in traders over the quarter and a 465.2% increase in trade volume compared to Q1 last year.
Mainstream media, the general public, and even institutional investors have been completely awestruck by Bitcoin’s unprecedented growth over the last year. Though BTC has dipped by a generous 30% since reaching its all-time high above $60,000 earlier this year, It’s still more than five times more valuable than it was a year ago.
As a contributor to Bitcoin during its early stages, Bitcoin Pizza Guy had spoken with Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous mastermind behind Bitcoin, a few times over the Internet. He realized that no matter how valuable Bitcoin became, it would be worth nothing if you couldn’t spend it. 10,000 BTC may have been worth two pizzas at the time, but Laszlo understood what it would one day be worth to the world.
Hanyecz wasn’t trying to get a free meal by paying in ‘Magic Internet Money,’ nor was he wasting his potential millions. He was kickstarting what would one day grow into a $2 trillion ecosystem. His purchase of the 10,000 BTC pizzas wasn’t the only effort being made to distribute Bitcoin’s supply, but it was undoubtedly the most famous one.
Laszlo is a sort of unsung hero in the space, and to celebrate his contribution to the cryptocurrency space, Phemex is offering him a chance to spend 10,000 BTC once more – but this time, he gets more than a couple of pizzas. Recently, the exchange launched its Earn Crypto lending platform, which offers users 10% APY on deposits up to 1.5 million USDT.
To celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22, Phemex is offering Hanyecz the chance to deposit 10,000 BTC into its Earn Crypto platform, which at current rates would net him nearly $110,000 in a single day. To get the word out to Bitcoin Pizza Guy, Phemex is also offering rewards to its million-user community for performing certain tasks.
Laszlo is a hard man to reach, some still criticize him for spending his fortunes early on. However, though the pizzas he purchased made him infamous in the space, his contribution to the blockchain industry is much more impactful.
In 2010, Bitcoin’s block reward offered eight times more Bitcoin than it does today. This means miners produced 50 BTC on the network every ten minutes, but since there weren’t many miners on the network, the competition wasn’t too harsh. Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism requires miners to solve a computational problem faster than the rest of the network, but while everyone was running using the slower computer processors (CPUs), Laszlo found a way to push them all into obsolescence.
As someone who worked on Bitcoin’s code in those days, Hanyecz quickly realized that graphics cards (GPUs) could run Bitcoin’s mining calculations far more rapidly than CPUs and quickly drafted a proposal to enable GPU mining on the blockchain.
Today, though most mining setups employ Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), which are specifically designed for Bitcoin’s PoW algorithm, the race for better hardware started with this one proposal. Also, with GPUs becoming both more powerful and affordable, the impact of cryptocurrencies on graphics cards is hard to overstate.
According to reports, the Bitcoin Pizza Guy now works for an apparel brand in Jacksonville called GORUCK. The company recently started accepting Bitcoin payments owing to Hanyecz’s Internet fame, and as Bitcoin adoption continues to rise, perhaps more goods and services will soon become accessible on the blockchain.