Over ten years ago, Bitcoin was announced to the world as the first usable, censorship-resistant, and trustless decentralized payments network. However, the original cryptocurrency wouldn’t find much attention until a few years later. During the initial stages after Bitcoin’s launch, mining was nowhere near as competitive as it is today, making it much easier for enthusiasts at the time to mine BTC from their desktop computers.
The protocol has undergone a series of essential upgrades in the last decade, improving performance, tightening security, and creeping into mainstream use. Still, a decentralized network is only as valuable as its participants, and Bitcoin’s growth from being a token worth near nothing to amassing a market capitalization of over $1 trillion was only ever possible because of the people involved.
In May 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz, a computer programmer from Florida, had been mining the Bitcoin network for some time when he realized his assets would be worth nothing if he couldn’t spend them. To tip the scales in his favor, Hanyecz decided to offer 10,000 BTC for two pizzas to anyone on the BitcoinTalk forum – where most of the cryptocurrency conversation was happening back then.
Laszlo’s request was simple; he wanted to buy something for Bitcoin without having to trade it in for a gift card or fiat currency. He didn’t care if the pizzas were made at home or if they were delivered to him by a restaurant – the man just wanted to buy dinner with Bitcoin. Paying the equivalent of $41 in BTC at the time, the pizzas were likely overvalued back then too. Today, however, 10,000 BTC is worth quite a lot more.
Why Phemex is Paging Pizza Guy
The Singapore-based Phemex cryptocurrency exchange recently announced it crossed 1 million users on the platform and reported a 156.9% growth in traders on the exchange in Q1 this year alone. The exchange also managed an impressive 465.2% increase in Q1 trade volumes compared to last year and has consistently kept its platforms up to date, implementing new features, and improving the end-user experience through a positive attitude towards community feedback.
Bitcoin’s unprecedented growth over the years has both the mainstream media and institutional investors completely starstruck, but its true value is much greater than its price. As an early Bitcoin developer, the Bitcoin Pizza Guy had (on occasion) spoken with the cryptocurrency’s anonymous mastermind Satoshi Nakamoto a few times over the Internet, and was clearly conscious of how BTC’s price as a token poorly reflected what Bitcoin would be worth to the world.
Laszlo didn’t make those pizza purchases just to satiate his appetite – he was trying to get Bitcoin out there. Efforts like Lazlo’s were what supplied Bitcoin to the world back when it wasn’t worth much and exchanges weren’t yet a reality. Though 10,000 BTC is worth hundreds of millions of dollars today, it wouldn’t be worth even a fraction of what it is today if he and others like him hadn’t spent their assets then.
The Bitcoin Pizza Guy is something of an unsung hero of the blockchain space, and to celebrate his role in Bitcoin’s rise to global fame, Phemex is offering him a chance to spend 10,000 BTC to get a lot more than a couple of pizzas. Not long ago, the global exchange launched its in-house lending platform – Earn Crypto – which allows users to earn 10% APY on deposits of up to 1.5 million USDT.
At today’s rates, this would net the Florida-based programmer almost $110,000 in a single day – a lucrative opportunity no matter which way you look at it. Phemex is also encouraging its one million-strong user-base to take part, and because Laszlo is a notoriously hard man to reach, users can even earn rewards through the Gleam Campaign by helping to spread the word.
Many are quick to criticize Hanyecz for spending what would have one day become a fortune for two regular pizzas. However, though the man is mostly recognized for his seemingly reckless spending habits, his contribution to Bitcoin is far more substantial.
Ten years ago, the block reward was eight times higher than it is today – that’s 50 BTC mined every ten minutes. Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm forces miners to compete to solve a computational problem faster than the rest of the network to get this reward, but while everyone was running these calculations on their relatively inefficient computer processors (CPUs), Laszlo found a way to make them all seem obsolete.
He realized that graphics cards (GPUs) could run the calculations required to mine Bitcoin much faster than CPUs, and quickly designed a proposal to implement GPU-mining on the network. Through his contributions to Bitcoin, Hanyecz single-handedly strained the global graphics card supply, causing GPU prices to skyrocket, and miners to think outside the (desktop computer) box.
In modern setups, Bitcoin is primarily mined using ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) designed for the sole purpose of running the network’s Proof-of-Work algorithm. However, with more powerful GPUs entering the space every so often, cryptocurrencies today (especially PoW chains) still significantly impact graphics card prices.
Reports suggest Laszlo currently works for GORUCK, an apparel brand based in Jacksonville, Florida, which now also accepts payments in Bitcoin because of his Internet fame. As the adoption of digital assets continues to rise, buying pizza with Bitcoin could soon become a much more conventional practice.