Why Bitcoin Matters


The most epochal financial transaction of this century, to date, occurred on May 22, 2010. It did not involve Wall Street, or the City of London; it took place in Jacksonville, Florida. It did not feature collateralized debt obligations, or credit default swaps. It was a purchase of two Papa John’s pizzas, in exchange for a payment whose present value currently exceeds US $4 million.

But the most remarkable thing about that transaction was the decision by the provider of the pizza, 18-year-old Jeremy Sturdivant, that the compensation he received—10,000 units of a newly birthed currency, one called into being from the ether of the Internet, and backed by no bank or nation—was worth real bread and cheese. Those pepperoni pizzas were the first real-world bitcoin transaction.

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