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What happened to the Bitcoin Pizza Guy?

Celebrating Bitcoin Pizza Day

Did you know that the Bitcoin community celebrates a holiday? No, it’s not Bitcoin's birthday, though that’s another important day for Bitcoin believers. It’s an even more significant date, one that marks a fundamental milestone in Bitcoin history.

If you scroll through the crypto news this week, you will see everyone talking about Bitcoin Pizza Day. On 22nd May 2010, a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz offered 10,000 BTC to whoever was willing to buy him a pizza and deliver it to his home in Florida.

Laszlo posted his proposal on Bitcointalk.org on 18th May 2010. 

Laszlo's proposal on Bitcointalk.org
Laszlo's proposal on Bitcointalk.org

It didn’t take long before someone took it up and delivered the pizza to our hero. Exactly 4 days later, Laszlo announced that someone nicknamed Jercos (alias of Jeremy Sturdivant) had bought him a pizza, the first ever real-world item transacted using Bitcoin!

Laszlo's announcement
Laszlo's announcement

The link is no longer available, but it used to point out his picture, showing Lazslo happily having pizza with his children.

Laszlo with his children
Laszlo with his children and the pizza he paid for in Bitcoin

Laszlo’s goal was to demonstrate that Bitcoin could be used in the real world, as a proper, tangible, hard currency! To succeed with this experiment, he thought to ask early Bitcoin believers for help. It was 2010, and no business would have ever accepted directly a BTC payment. Most don’t do it today, let alone in 2010. However, thanks to Jercos, money could be moved between different parties using Bitcoin.

The scheme set-up was simple.

Pizza scheme
Pizza scheme

It was a full economic circle. It was as if Jercos acted as a payment gateway, a crypto ramp-on service to bridge Laszlo the crypto user, with Papa John’s, the pizza maker who accepts only fiat. Jercos accepted the 10,000 BTC from Laszlo and converted them in USD for Papa John’s. From that day, Bitcoin started its unstoppable race to change the world.

As the blockchain is an immutable public ledger, you can still admire this historical transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain explorer . Feel free to call this: blockchain archaeology!

Things Moved Fast After That Day

If on 22nd May 2010, that pizza from Papa John’s was worth $41, already by November 2020, it topped a whopping $2,600 valuation! +6,300% in just 6 months!

Pizza for $2,600
Pizza for $2,600

Things were moving really fast. Soon, exchanges like Mt. Gox or Localbitcoins would have started their operations. Visionary business owners would have offered Bitcoin payments, and curious programmers would have developed their own altcoins, either in an attempt to replicate Satoshi Nakamoto’s digital wealth or to genuinely improve an already revolutionary technology.

Pizza record
Pizza record

Since then, people have been checking how much money this pizza would be worth today. They even created the so-called Bitcoin Pizza Index , which tells you straight away how much 10,000 BTC are worth, in real-time. At the time of writing, the Index is set at $268,179,197!

Who’s the Man Who Ate the Bitcoin Pizza?

Laszlo Hanyecz is a software engineer, born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his two children and his wife.

Hanyecz had a pivotal role in the early years of the Bitcoin economy, and not only because of the 10,000 BTC pizza. As the first person to realize the potential of mining Bitcoin with a Graphic Processing Unit (GPU), he went on to write the necessary code that allowed the cryptocurrency to be mined through this method. GPU mind scaled up exponentially the hash rate that was achievable with the classic CPU-mining approach. As if this wasn’t enough, Mr Hanyecz even wrote the logic to mine coins on Mac OS, opening Bitcoin also to Apple users. 

GPU allowed Laszlo to mine thousands of coins a day and played a significant part in making Bitcoin a viable currency. Not only was Laszlo a trailblazer in the Bitcoin community, but he has continued to contribute to its growth. His contributions to the currency's development stands as evidence of the lasting impact people can have on the evolution of cryptocurrency.

To this day, Hanyecz is still seen walking in Bitcoin conventions, events, presentations, and podcasts.

Is Laszlo still rich?

Today, spending 10,000 BTC for a pizza sounds like an insane act, but if we think about it, someone had to start the Bitcoin revolution by purchasing something real. Without Laszlo’s “sacrifice”, probably today Bitcoin would still be just a game for IT nerds without any practical use, and people would not question the current crisis affecting the traditional financial system.

However, people are still curious to know if Laszlo Hanyecz still owns Bitcoin or if he sacrificed himself to kick-start the Bitcoin economy, for the benefit of us all.

When you read articles discussing his whereabouts, it sounds like Laszlo shelled out all of his BTC in that historical transaction, and kept on living on his salary as engineer. Mr Hanyecz himself immediately stepped down from his initial offer, claiming he could no longer mine “thousands of coins per day”.

Is Laszlo still rich?
Is Laszlo still rich?

Nevertheless, the picture depicting Laszlo Hanyecz living as an ordinary, minimum-wage software engineer doesn’t add up. Let’s not forget Laszlo is the man coming up with the idea of GPU mining, scaling up the hash rate exponentially.

On Bitcointalk.org , Laszlo himself said he was able to mine thousands of BTC per day. This means that after buying that pizza, more coins poured into his wallet. 

On top, given his ability with Bitcoin mining and blockchain engineering, he must have got multiple job offers, either as an employee or consultant, jobs that of course, were paid well above the minimum wage. You all know how much blockchain engineers are sought after and paid.

Despite Laszlo keeping a low profile (and the whole crypto community and media painting him as a fool), it is very likely that this guy is placed much better than most of today’s crypto traders and miners. And who knows, Laszlo might even be a whale, walking in disguise among us!


If you’re a Bitcoin user, today you may find pizza places offering discounts and who knows, they might even accept SwissBorg SmartSend!

Thanks to Smart Send , you can send crypto to your friends, even if they are not SwissBorg users yet. All you need is their phone number! Try it now and enjoy a great Bitcoin Pizza Day together!

This article was written by Alessandro Giuntini with the help of PizzaGPT! 

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