Bitcoin Pizza Day: Anniversary of 21st century’s most important invention
The anniversary of bitcoin's first official transaction is celebrated each year on May 22nd.
*Originally published at The Free Market Musician
When Elon Musk announced on Twitter Tesla would no longer be accepting bitcoin as payment for vehicle purchases, the decentralized digital currency took a massive dip. Diving below $31,000, it sparked a highly charged debate on Twitter with one side yelling to buy the dip and the other side declaring it’s a scam. One day later, it climbed back up to $41,000 and the Twitter wars de-escalated.
While Bitcoin can now buy you a car, or even a condo, its humble beginnings can be found 11 years ago in a Jacksonville, FL pizza shop.
Bitcoin Pizza Day
When Bitcoin was just over a year old, on May 22nd, 2010, Jacksonville resident Lazlo Hanyecz jokingly posted online he would pay 10,000 bitcoins to whoever brought him two Papa John’s pizzas. Much to his surprise, a programmer in London took him up on his offer. He placed an order at a Jacksonville Papa John’s for two pizzas and paid with his credit card. When Hanyecz had the pizzas in hand, he sent over 10,000 bitcoins to the London programmer and made history. It is now recognized as the first official purchase in bitcoin and each year, May 22nd is celebrated as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Since that first pizza purchase, bitcoin has taken its adopters on a wild ride. It’s in the news now more than ever with lovers and haters posting about positives and negatives daily.
Though it’s still considered by many to be an experiment, its holders view it as more than a currency. It’s a cause worth backing
The Future of Money
Legend goes Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto as a form of currency that is completely decentralized. This means you don’t need a third party involved, like a government or a bank, to use it. In order to do this, bitcoin utilizes blockchain technology, a type of digital ledger system now used by a number of institutions for its security features.
Investors and users of bitcoin look at it as more than just the future of money. After all, it checks all the boxes for being recognized as the currency of tomorrow. It’s completely digital, easily divisible, easy to trade with, anyone with a phone and an internet connection can have access to it, and it’s secure.
More than the future of money, its users view it as the future of humanity. A currency completely separate from a government institution is a concept bitcoin-holders are passionate about. Though its daily activity can be volatile as many people buy and sell the asset, its historical data shows steady overall appreciation, and will never be subject to the rampant inflation we see with the dollar because its creators set a market cap.
Bitcoin In The Arts
As more and more people invest in the asset it’s become more widely accepted, especially in the arts and entertainment industry. Mainstream artists like 50 Cent were early adopters of bitcoin. He allowed bitcoin payments for his fifth album, Animal Ambition, back in 2014 when one bitcoin was worth $662. He’s now officially a bitcoin millionaire.
Other artists like Kings of Leon and Mastodon have incorporated cryptocurrency into their album releases.
Streaming platforms like Audius that focus on accepting crypto as payments for artists are becoming more widely used. Artists like these models because they get to keep more of the royalties they earn. There are less fees involved and the platforms take less of a cut (sometimes none at all) than traditional streaming platforms like Spotify.
Artists are also taking advantage of NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens, as a way to diversify their earnings. NFTs are digital originals of artwork deemed ‘unique and non-transferable.’ They are stored securely on a blockchain and are being sold to consumers at high prices. One New York artist recently sold one for 69.3 million dollars.
Legacy Records recently announced they will be paying their artists in cryptocurrency, making them the first record company to do so.
Crypto For Artists
While many artists are making their music available to crypto-based streaming platforms and earning royalties, there are other ways to incorporate bitcoin and other cryptocurrency into your portfolio.
Signing up for a platform like Coinbase Commerce is free and allows you to integrate bitcoin and other crypto payments into your website. You can set up a donate button, sell products and accept payments in crypto, and more. Coinbase Commerce stores payments from your customers in a secure digital wallet you can access anytime. You can then keep your crypto as you amass more, or convert it into dollars. Keep in mind there are fees associated with these transactions, just like any other payment platform like Stripe or Shopify.
If your site is powered by Wordpress, there are several plugins available that allow you to add a Bitcoin Pay Button to your site as well. In order to send and receive bitcoin this way, your wallet address is featured as a QR Code on your site and customers simply scan the code with their wallet app and send crypto your way.
To learn more about how you can incorporate crypto into your business, check out my article, Artists and Entrepreneurs: Everything you need to know about using bitcoin for your business.
Greatest Invention of 21st Century
Bitcoin’s rise over the last 11 years has changed the monetary landscape for good. Startups are creating their own digital tokens, birthing independent smaller economies within bigger societal economies. Artists are exploring new revenue streams as it becomes harder than ever to make a living with music, words, and art. Investors are able to put their money towards an asset not vulnerable to inflation or compulsory intervention. Those who champion voluntary exchange understand bitcoin is vital to a free market founded on free minds and free trade.
The deeper you dive into the story and idea behind Bitcoin, the more you realize just how poetic it is. It’s a grand story of invention, innovation, and rebellion. It’s entrepreneurship in its purest form, fulfilling one’s purpose while fulfilling the needs of others. And it all began just over a decade ago at a Papa John’s in my town of Jacksonville.
Lazlo Hanyecz purchased 2 pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins in 2010.
In 2010, bitcoin experienced its first price jump from $.0008 to $.08 per 1 bitcoin.
1 bitcoin is now equal to roughly $40,200 (May 2021).
At the time of this article’s original release, 10,000 bitcoin equaled over 402 million in US Dollars.
To check out Bitcoin’s Live status, visit Coin Market Cap.
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