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Bitcoin Pizza Day

An early Bitcoin enthusiast once paid 10,000 BTC for just two pizzas. What percentage of major pizza chains is the value of that bitcoin equivalent to today?

On May 22, 2010, computer programmer Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two large Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin (BTC).

Yes, you read that right — not $10,000 worth of BTC, but 10,000 BTC.

Back then, 10,000 BTC was worth about $30(1). Today, it’s worth approximately $500 million.

This transaction — the first recorded commercial transaction using BTC — is now commemorated every May 22, a day that has become widely known in Bitcoin circles as Bitcoin Pizza Day.

While it’s fun that Hanyecz has given us something to celebrate each May, we also couldn’t help but wonder: How would his former stack of BTC measure up to the market caps of publicly traded US pizza chains?

Hanyecz’s 10,000 BTC vs. the market caps of publicly-traded pizza chains

If Hanyecz had held onto his bitcoin instead of buying two pizzas with it 14 years ago, he’d not only be able to buy A LOT more pizza, but the dollar amount of his BTC would comprise a notable percentage of major pizza chains.

Here’s how his bitcoin holdings valued at $500 million measure up to the market capitalizations of three major publicly traded pizza companies as of February 13, 2024, including the one from which he purchased those two infamous pizzas — Papa John’s.

Papa John’s International, Inc. (PZZA) vs. Hanyecz’s 10,000 BTC

Hanyecz’s former stack of 10,000 BTC is now worth 20.24% of the $2.47 billion market cap of Papa John’s(2), the company from which he purchased those two large pizzas 14 years ago.

Graphic source

Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (DPZ) vs. Hanyecz’s 10,000 BTC

Hanyecz’s former stack of 10,000 BTC is now worth 3.33% of the $15.006 billion market cap of Domino’s Pizza(3).

Graphic source

Yum! Brands (YUM) (owns Pizza Hut) vs. Hanyecz’s 10,000 BTC

Hanyecz’s former stack of 10,000 BTC is now worth 1.35% of the $37.059 billion market cap of Yum! Brands(4), which owns Pizza Hut.

Graphic source

$30 invested in BTC vs. $30 invested in DPZ, YUM and PZZA

What would have happened if Hanyecz invested $30 — the amount his 10,000 BTC was worth 14 years ago — in pizza stocks instead of bitcoin on May 22, 2010?

As mentioned earlier, Hanyecz’s $30 worth of bitcoin back on May 22, 2010, would now be worth almost $500 million.

If he’d invested in DPZ, YUM or PZZA, would his returns have been comparable to the returns he would have seen if he’d held his BTC?

Spoiler alert: NO.

Graphic source
$30 would have bought Hanyecz 2.5 shares of DPZ, 1.05 shares of YUM and 2.4 shares of PZZA on May 22, 2010.

As of February 13, 2024, those 2.5 shares of DPZ would be worth $1,053.75, while the 1.05 shares of YUM would be worth $442.57 and the 2.4 shares of PZZA would be worth $171.84.

Bottom line

Had Hanyecz not spent his 10,000 BTC on two large pizzas on May 22, 2010 — what’s now known as Bitcoin Pizza Day — those bitcoin would currently be worth 20% of the market cap of Papa John’s, the chain from which he purchased the two pies.

The lesson here? Bitcoin works better as a tool for saving than it does as a medium of exchange.

So, even if you do make some purchases with your BTC, be sure to keep a little on the side. While its value likely won’t increase as much in the next 14 years as it did in the previous 14, history shows that there’s a good chance it’ll be worth significantly more in 2038 than it is now.

Image: Leonardo AI

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