El Salvador has been a country suffering from civil war, economic ruin and high organized crime & murder rates for much of its modern life. Yet the 39 yr old El Salvadorian President, Nayib Bukele, who enjoys a super-majority of his party in parliament, in a world first, enacted a law making Bitcoin legal tender in his nation.
Since 2001 El Salvador has done away with its local currency, the Colon, and instead decided to use The US Dollar as legal tender. With Bitcoin also now as legal tender, El Salvador is paving the way to assure the nation’s future going forward into an uncertain geopolitical climate.
Stating the ease of payments and remittances which much of the country depends on, as well as the fact that many El Salvadorians aren’t banked, Bukele sees Bitcoin as the ideal solution.
It doesn’t stop with making Bitcoin legal tender. Bukele asked the state owned geothermal energy firm, LaGeo, to devise plans for offering Bitcoin mining facilities to Bitcoin miners who want to use the nation’s geothermal energy resources to run their mining farms. To be able to attract these miners, El Salvador, according to Max Keiser, is also offering permanent residence for Bitcoiners who are willing to dedicate BTC 3.
This, first-time, comprehensive all-round adoption of Bitcoin by a whole nation is the light Bitcoiners have been waiting to see in a long time, and just as the first domino falls, we also envision many nations that will fall in the path set by El Salvador.
The Bitcoin Pizza Day story is one of the technology’s most historic tales, but even if you know the Bitcoin pizza price, these facts might surprise you.
May 22 is now forever known as Bitcoin Pizza Day, the holiday marking the date in 2010 when the first real-world good was bought with the first decentralized digital money.
Yet like every holiday, be it Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day, Bitcoin Pizza Day might say more about those celebrating it today than any of the actual historical facts. Indeed, there remain those who view the holiday as passé or even against the values of the Bitcoin community.
What remains true is that by May 2010, Bitcoin had a small, but growing economy, one where bitcoin were still mostly traded peer-to-peer and on some small exchanges.
Eager to push the frontier of Bitcoin commerce further, Laszlo Hanyecz, an early developer and miner, put out the call that he was willing and ready to pay 10,000 BTC for two pizzas, should someone be willing to take him up on the trade.
Bitcoin user Jeremy “Jercos” Sturdivant would agree to the terms, and two Papa John’s pies would arrive at Hanyecz’s house shortly thereafter. History was made — but some supporting facts have been lost to time.
In honor of the 11th anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day, we’ve compiled a list of lesser-known facts about what’s perhaps the most famous of Bitcoin holidays.
At this year’s bitcoin price high of $63,000, the two pizzas were worth $630 million.
1) 10,000 BTC Was Worth Just $41 at the Time of Purchase
Though data on the early Bitcoin economy is getting hard to come by, according to Bitcoin user ender_X, Hanyecz could have traded his bitcoin on an exchange for U.S. dollars … about $41 to be exact. Should the figures be accurate, that puts the price per bitcoin at roughly $0.004 — or four-thousandths of a penny — at the time of sale.
While that figure isn’t exactly zero, the price was low enough for ender_X to think Hanyecz might be getting the better of the deal, his post ending with the quip — “good luck on getting your free pizza.”
2) Hanyecz Had to Wait Four Days to Get His Pies
Sure, it’s not as impressive as Satoshi waiting nearly 11 months for bitcoin to establish a price, but by conventional food delivery standards, Hanyecz waited a while for his order.
In fact, Hanyecz first posted on the Bitcoin.org forums on Tuesday, May 18, at the time writing:
“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. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later … If you’re interested please let me know and we can work out a deal.”
Even so, he didn’t end up getting his pizza until Saturday. By Friday, some were even led to reach out about Hanyecz’s health, with user BitcoinFX asking if he was “getting hungry.”
“I just think it would be interesting if I could say that I paid for a pizza in bitcoins,” Hanyecz replied.
3) Hanyecz Bought More Than Two Pizzas for Bitcoin
Hanyecz didn’t just stop with two pizzas, however. Enticed by the response, Hanyecz sought to push the limit in June, adding to his post that the deal was “an open offer.”
“I will trade 10,000 BTC for 2 of these pizzas any time as long as I have the funds (I usually have plenty),” he wrote on June 12. “If anyone is interested please let me know.”
Rumor has it that there were other pizza-order exchanges, and there’s some evidence to hint this might be the case, with Hanyecz bringing his open offer to a close in August.
“Well I didn’t expect this to be so popular but I can’t really afford to keep doing it since I can’t generate thousands of coins a day anymore,”he wrote. “Thanks to everyone who bought me pizza already but I’m kind of holding off on doing any more of these for now.”
As the Bitcoin Pizza Day holiday grew, it wasn’t long before Jeremy “Jercos” Sturdivant would be thrust back into the limelight. He’d give his only interview to a website called “Bitcoin Who’s Who” in 2015, five years after the trade.
To the likely dismay of current HODLers, Sturdivant said at the time “a currency is meant to be spent,” noting that the 10,000 BTC he received “made it back into the economy quickly” by the time they were worth about $400 in total.
“Naturally there will always be people hoarding coins, trying to get rich, and quite a few people did get quite rich, but they wouldn’t have got that way without economic growth allowing it,” he said, noting he felt Bitcoin was meant to be more akin to a PayPal or Stripe.
Sturdivant added some other notable details about the transaction, which he says was finalized over IRC while noting he was just 19 years old at the time of the trade.
5) Bitcoin Pizza Day Wasn’t Widely Celebrated at First
While Bitcoin Pizza Day is widely known today, records about any celebrations are scarce before 2014. That isn’t exactly surprising, as before 2013 awareness of Bitcoin was low.
Due to the price of bitcoin, then testing $1,000, the story went national in the U.S., with major media outlets like ABC News joining TechCrunch, Slate and The Wall Street Journalin popularizing the transaction.
Still, as on display in the WSJ post, there was a certain slant taken, with the holiday popularized as a way to scold “bitcoin hoarders” who wanted to use the technology as a store of value as opposed to a payment method, a tension among users that continues to this day.
6) Bitcoin Pizza Day Wasn’t The First “Bitcoin Holiday”
That’s right, Bitcoiners have been creating holidays for almost as long as the technology has been around, the first commemorative date set in 2011.
At the time, Bitcoin users were keen to mark the disappearance of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, who had recently stepped down from his role as project lead, declaring April 28, 2011, “Satoshi Disappear Day.”
“I propose we make a bitcoin holiday in honor of our legendary anonymous founder and to observe the fact that the bitcoin community will be just fine after the inventor of bitcoin left,” wrote user Kiba at the time.
Though Bitcoin Pizza Day occurred a bit earlier, it took some time for it to become a holiday, most likely because the price had yet to really rise. It’s worth noting also that Bitcoin Pizza Day in some ways seems to coincide with the “Bitcoin for payments” narrative pushed by industry businesses from 2014 through 2016.
7) You Can Still See The Pictures of The Real Bitcoin Pizzas
Wondering what multimillion-dollar pizzas actually looked like? Wonder no more.
Thanks to Hanyecz’s penchant for photography, we have well-kept records of just what these expensive pies looked like at the time they were eaten in 2010.
Hanyecz posted a total of five pictures of his food, which appear to have a variety of less than traditional toppings, including olives, jalapeños, whole tomatoes and more.
Crypto markets are sliding this morning following headlines that the CFTC is investigating whether the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which isn’t registered with the agency, allowed Americans to buy crypto ‘derivatives’ – which are regulated by the CFTC – and over ‘know your customer’ regulations.
Bitcoin slid back below $56k, plunging by $1000 in minutes.
Ethereum – the token behind the NFT craze – dipped below $1750…
In response to the probe, Binance told Bloomberg that it never comments on its communications with regulators, while adding that the company is committed to complying with rules. For instance, Binance blocks U.S. residents from its website and uses advanced technology to analyze deposits and withdrawals for signs of illicit transactions, the company said in a statement.
“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators around the world and we take our compliance obligations very seriously,” Binance said. The CFTC declined to comment.
The investigation adds to the U.S.’s growing crackdown on crypto. The CFTC has already sued BitMEX for failing to register as a broker, with the exchange’s market share declining since it became a target of regulatory scrutiny. Coinbase Global Inc., the U.S.’s biggest crypto exchange, also disclosed last month that it’s responding to a wide-ranging CFTC probe.
Of course, such regulatory interventions always end up amounting to nothing as those who have followed crypto trading in the past five years know too well (only the Fed tightening monetary policy can burst the bitcoin bubble). Furthermore with a growing number of institutions now adopting crypto, it will be virtually impossible for regulators to squash the sector now that even vain Hollywood artists have adopted it in hopes of peddling their idiotic NFTs.
As such, we expect any dip in crypto to be promptly purchased by the growing number of institutions seeking a cheaper entry price.
Whether the Lebanese want to or don’t want to believe it, whether the Lebanese government and banking sector want to accept it or not, the Lebanese banking industry is dead. No amount of capital raises, no amount of restructuring can bring back the lost trust. Trust is the basis of all activities in society, economy, finance and most importantly politics, and trust is lost in the banking sector for not only the old generations, the current but also future, the youth.
In the 1990s Lebanon was the first country in the region to have cellular or what we call a mobile network, the reason being that the entire landline infrastructure was outdated or destroyed during the war. Lebanon was the first in the Arab region not because they wanted to be the first but because they had no choice but to be the first to jump into the bandwagon of the latest technology, the era of mobility and later on the era of internet.
Today we are at the same cross road. After the fall of the Lebanese banking sector due to their irresponsible lending to the Lebanese corrupt state and government, the Lebanese not only lost their life savings but today have lost whatever was left of their purchasing power in Lebanese Lira.
While in some countries this would still be survivable because they have products and services or manufacturing industries that they themselves own, in Lebanon everything is dependent on raw material, or products from outside, making the economic and social tragedy a 100 times worse.
But maybe the Lebanese have a solution, a chance to not only free themselves from the expiration of the banking sector, the corruption of the state and its political regime but also a chance to help each other in a way like never before.
The answer is in digital currencies. It doesn’t have to be a crypto currency like Bitcoin or Ethereum it could just be a stablecoin like USDC, Tether , Japanese Yen (JPY) , or china’s upcoming digital currency stored in each person’s digital wallet, or with a crypto asset custodian.
So what would that mean for Lebanese and their economy, first and foremost if your money is stored digitally in your pocket, and securely then you could make payments from one digital wallet to another no matter where that other digital wallet was in the world. This would be a savior not only for individuals but also businesses, manufacturers and traders in Lebanon who need to pay for goods and raw material but need to traditionally go through a bank to do it. This is called Peer to peer payments and most of them are carried out on Blockchain public networks. One such company that is doing this for the Lebanese is Fluus.me
Companies such as Global Digital Money for example are even allowing people to hold digital currencies, crypto not only in a digital wallet but in a regular card and giving them the ability to make all payments using those cards at Point of Sales or ATMs within a country or from one country to another.
It would also mean that Lebanese could actually lend money as well, in what is now known as peer to peer lending. So instead of depending on a corrupt government and irresponsible banking sector to lend money to businesses and projects that need funding to grow, expand or operate, or lending money to people who want to buy a house or car. Lebanese could lend to each other using smart contracts on the blockchain with agreed upon interest rates and terms.
Even more so, Lebanese expats who usually send money to their families as remittances wouldn’t even have to worry about using a bank or traditional money payment service provider, they could use blockchain enabled remittance providers like Telcoin , Cwallet, Cashaa, or others.
The Lebanese and international community could even carry out a crowd funding campaigns, on crowd funding platforms or even deal making platforms to build an electrical plant utilizing stablecoins to pay for tokenized shares in this plant and take profits all put into their digital wallets in a transparent, secure, and efficient way.
While the central Bank of Lebanon showed shallow interest in launching a Lebanese digital currency for usage inside Lebanon, or launching the lending trade finance platform for Lebanese industrial sector, nothing happened because nothing ever does. Maybe it would have been better to use Banqu or others already in the space.
These digial currencies, wouldnt need traditional exchanges but Lebanese could use digital and crypto exchanges of which many of them are now being regulated in the region such as CoinMENA, Matrix, RAIN, and many others.
In the final analysis, while death is scary to accept, and what is new is usually even scarier to embrace, the Lebanese need to start to understand that there are solutions out there in the digital age that weren’t available before, and they need to start embracing these new digital forms of money and the freedom as well as responsibility it brings.
The death of the banking sector is inevitable across the globe at some point in the future, and while it has started already in Lebanon this could be seen as an opportunity.. Lebanon and Lebanese have always been the first to embrace opportunities so don’t stop now.