At right, a verified snapshot of 10,000 bitcoins of tomato sauce, peppers, and onions circa mid-2010. These two pizzas are generally acknowledged to be the first tangible goods purchased with bitcoins, the online crypto-currency.
Floridian Laszlo Hanyecz thought it would be "interesting" to be able to say he paid for a pizza in bitcoins. He worked out a deal where he transferred 10,000 of his bitcoins to a guy in England, who ordered him two pizzas from Papa Johns.
Today, one Redditor notes, those 10,000 bitcoins would be worth about $2.3 million, thanks (in part) to folks fleeing unstable and politically risky state currencies in Cyprus and elsewhere.
Some news outlets are covering this as a "doh!" story. But these pizzas were a huge publicity boon for Bitcoin, contributing to the success of the currency today. If Lazslo had been a hoarder, perhaps his bitcoins would be worth very little now. Cashing in bitcoins for pizza when they were worth a fraction of a cent each is not obviously smarter or stupider than selling now would be, with bitcoins trading at $234. It's a bet on which way the market is headed, that's all.
And we all know there are moments in life when a pizza today is worth more than $2.3 million in a couple years. We don't know Laszlo. (Or the small child looking to nab a slice in the image above.) Maybe this was one of those days.