Last week saw the fifth anniversary of the culturally iconic purchase of delivery pizza by Laszlo Hanyecz, which has come to have immense symbolic significance for Bitcoin. This is the earliest known case where Bitcoin was used to buy something “real”. At the time, it took heroic effort involving a transatlantic transaction in order to transmit the coins to the store down the road. But it showed the idea, sort of. (And pizza is a standard unit for the software industry. The Electron Volt for phylum nerdus.)
The event is commemorated in pizza parties around the world. As Yessi Bello Perez reports at Coindesk, these show off a much more fun and human side of the Bitcoin community, compared to the endless drum beat of arrests, nearly identical corporate launches, and repetitive libertarian manifestos. This is nice to see.
This annual event always makes me think. Why is this so significant? And what does it meant that Bitcoinistas are so excited about it?
On the one hand, buying pizza is scarcely “innovative”, let alone “disruptive”. There is no shortage of pizza, and there are lots of ways to buy it. We never needed Bitcoin in order to get pizza delivered.
Bitcoin is neither necessary nor sufficient to getch-yer pizza.
But the point is, of course, is that Bitcoin isn’t really a serious thing if it is only useful for digital commerce. If Bitcoin is really going to operate as money, you have to be able to use it in everyday life. And buying pizza is a reasonable illustration of everyday life (at least for twenty-something male techies.)
Buying pizza take out with Bitcoin is doing real commerce.
So, for those who celebrated, Happy Bitcoin Pizza Day! (We really need a better name for it!)