In brief

  • Laszlo Hanyecz was hungry for pizza.
  • He offered up 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas to be delivered to his house.
  • The pizzas are now worth $470 million.

Greed is just another name for hunger. But when one computer programmer in 2010 paid 10,000 Bitcoin to fill his empty belly with pizza from Papa John's, he condemned himself to remain eternally unfed by the pizzas of Bitcoin Future. 

The story, almost a parable now in Bitcoin’s short but rich canon, took place on May 22, 2010, when Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer from Florida, traded 10,000 Bitcoin for pizza delivered from another Bitcoiner. It is one of the first recorded purchases of a physical good with Bitcoin and a fable of the benefits of delayed gratification. 

The price of Bitcoin, worth pennies in 2010, has exploded in the last 10+ years, especially in the last month. After Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion in BTC today, a single coin now costs around $47,000. That means Hanyecz's $41 purchase in 2010 has cost him nearly half a billion in savings.

Hanyecz wrote on BitcoinTalk, a Bitcoin forum once frequented by Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, “I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day.”

Hanyecz’s gluttony extended to fantasy: “What I'm aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don't have to order or prepare it myself,” he explained, “kind of like ordering a 'breakfast platter' at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you're happy!

His mind wandered: “I like things like onions, peppers, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, etc.. just standard stuff no weird fish topping or anything like that. I also like regular cheese pizzas which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire.”

Hanyecz got what he thought he wanted from the fellow Bitcoiner who answered the call: two large pizzas. At the time, Hanyecz gorged on pizza adorned with peppers, salami, sausage, and olives, blissfully unaware of how expensive those ingredients would become. 

But as hindsight informs us, that 10,000 Bitcoin were destined to be worth far more. At Bitcoin’s latest all-time high, $47,000 and counting, his 10,000 Bitcoin would be worth $470,000,000. With that amount of cash, Hanyecz could’ve sprung for extra large (and maybe someplace that wasn't Papa John's). 

One wonders, what would he buy today? Probably a Tesla. Or two.