From Pizza To Lambos: Charting Bitcoin’s First Decade

Ten years ago this month, Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper online introducing the concept of a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash” called Bitcoin. But it wasn’t until May 2010, when software developer Laszlo Hanyecz swapped 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas, that the virtual currency became a means for buying real-world stuff.

Suffice it to say, you can get a lot more than two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoins these days.

Here’s a look at how the purchasing power of that original transaction has changed over the past eight years, running the gamut from iPads to Lamborghinis (or Lambos, in industry parlance) as early adopters, true believers, Wall Street financiers and retail investors all jumped on the Bitcoin rollercoaster.

The growing (and shrinking) purchasing power of 10,000 Bitcoins

0

$10M

$50M

$100M

$150M

$200M

0

$10M

$50M

$100M

$150M

$200M

0

$10M

$50M

$100M

$150M

$200M

0

$10M

$50M

$100M

$200M

2010

Two pizzas

$41 in 2010

32GB iPad

$729 in 2010

1oz gold

$1,338 in 2010

Daily transactions top $1 million

One Berkshire Hathaway Class A share

$114,380 in 2011

2012

Tesla Model S

$57,400 in 2012

Ellen Degeneres’ ranch

$10.8 million in 2013

Transactions top $100 million

2014

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy in Japan, saying 850,000 Bitcoins were missing

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”

—Warren Buffett

First Superman comic book

$3.2 million in 2014

“You’re wasting your time.”

—Jamie Dimon

2016

Two special edition

Lamborghini Centenarios

$1.9 million in 2016

Paul Newman’s Rolex

$17.8 million in 2017

Mark Rothko’s No. 6

$186 million

Transactions top $1 billion

2018

Hackers steal almost $500 million in NEM coins from Japan’s Coincheck, one of the largest heists in history

Lockheed Martin F-35A jet

$94.6 million

Excellence V yacht

$87 million in 2018

2010

Two pizzas

$41 in 2010

32GB iPad

$729 in 2010

1oz gold

$1,338 in 2010

Transactions top $1 million

One Berkshire Hathaway Class A share

$114,380 in 2011

2012

Tesla Model S

$57,400 in 2012

Transactions top $100 million

Ellen Degeneres’ ranch

$10.8 million in 2013

2014

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy in Japan, saying 850,000 Bitcoins were missing

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”

—Warren Buffett

First Superman comic book

$3.2 million in 2014

“You’re wasting your time.”

—Jamie Dimon

2016

Two special edition

Lamborghini Centenarios

$1.9 million in 2016

Paul Newman’s Rolex

$17.8 million in 2017

Mark Rothko’s No. 6

$186 million

Transactions top $1 billion

2018

Hackers steal almost $500 million in NEM coins from Japan’s Coincheck, one of the largest heists in history

Lockheed Martin F-35A jet

$94.6 million

Excellence V yacht

$87 million in 2018

2010

Two pizzas

$41 in 2010

32GB iPad

$729 in 2010

1oz gold

$1,338 in 2010

Daily transactions top $1 million

One Berkshire Hathaway Class A share

$114,380 in 2011

2012

Tesla Model S

$57,400 in 2012

Transactions top $100 million

Ellen Degeneres’ ranch

$10.8 million in 2013

2014

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy in Japan, saying 850,000 Bitcoins were missing

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”

—Warren Buffett

First Superman comic book

$3.2 million in 2014

“You’re wasting your time.”

—Jamie Dimon

2016

Two special edition

Lamborghini Centenarios

$1.9 million in 2016

Paul Newman’s Rolex

$17.8 million in 2017

Mark Rothko’s No. 6

$186 million

Transactions top $1 billion

Hackers steal almost $500 million in NEM coins from Japan’s Coincheck, one of the largest heists in history

2018

Lockheed Martin F-35A jet

$94.6 million

Excellence V yacht

$87 million in 2018

2010

Two pizzas

$41 in 2010

32GB iPad

$729 in 2010

1oz gold

$1,338 in 2010

Daily transactions top $1 million

One Berkshire Hathaway Class A share

$114,380 in 2011

2012

Tesla Model S

$57,400 in 2012

Ellen Degeneres’ ranch

$10.8 million in 2013

Transactions top $100 million

2014

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy in Japan, saying 850,000 Bitcoins were missing

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”

—Warren Buffett

First Superman comic book

$3.2 million in 2014

“You’re wasting your time.”

—Jamie Dimon

2016

Two special edition

Lamborghini Centenarios

$1.9 million in 2016

Paul Newman’s

Rolex

$17.8 million

Mark Rothko’s No. 6

$186 million

Transactions top $1 billion

2018

Excellence V yacht

$87 million in 2018

Lockheed Martin F-35A jet

$94.6 million

As Bitcoin has grown, so has its user base. Daily transactions topped $1 million in April 2011, roughly a year after the pizza deal.

Dollar value of daily transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain

Of course, the cryptocurrency universe of today is much bigger than just Bitcoin. More than 1,000 digital currencies trade on exchanges around the world, including everything from serious Bitcoin rivals such as Ether to outright jokes like DogeCoin. When cryptomania peaked in January 2018, the market value of cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com surpassed $835 billion.

Number of new cryptocurrencies on exchanges by month

May 2013 to May 2018
Source: CoinMarketCap.com
Calculated via the first day various cryptocurrencies register non-zero trading volume on any of more than 200 public digital currency exchanges tracked by the website.

The coins have since wiped out some $600 billion of that value as regulators cracked down and hopes for widespread adoption waned. As Bitcoin’s first decade comes to a close, it’s still far from clear whether cryptocurrencies will transform global payments, become “digital gold,” or spiral into irrelevance.

At least Hanyecz got his pizzas.