What is your favorite dish? The crypto industry seems to be partial to pizza.

At least this is the case today, with the industry celebrating (with some nostalgia) the first Lightning Network transaction used in the purchase of Italian favorite food, a made by none other than the first major purchase of Bitcoin – Laszlo Hanyecz.

If that name does not sound right away, the bitcoin transaction that made it famous – on May 22, 2010, Hanyecz traded 10,000 bitcoins ($ 41 at the time) for two John Papa’s pizzas .

The transaction became viral at the time and is legendary today, especially because the price of bitcoin has increased so much that these bitcoins will be worth $ 100 million. But it is also advertised as the first bitcoin transaction in which someone bought something from a traditional trader, a few years before the merchants accepted bitcoin.

So, Hanyecz was considered a maverick of bitcoins, and now he’s made himself known by buying pizzas with Bitcoin’s off-line lightning network (and being badly advised to use ), which many amateurs consider as the liberator of the cryptocurrency of its scaling up and payment constraints.

“Good people, harken and know that this day Laszlo bought the first Bitcoin Lightning pizzas, bringing us into this new era of cheesy glory and goodness”,
blockchain researcher Brian Lockhart wrote on the Lightning mailing list.

And on Reddit, a user commented: “This guy Laszlo has nerves of steel and should be in the first batch of Mars settlers.”

For Hanyecz, however, it is not a dish or his daring, it is to make sure that the vision of bitcoin is a payment system. cheaper line, faster and better.

“In my pizza transaction [2010] I paid a fee of 1 BTC, and that did not matter because I was happy to”. to have something with that. “Hanyecz told CoinDesk, adding:

“I came to publish an article on lightning because I believe it, and it’s still in its infancy, but the lightning network promises to bring back this feature of being able to buy from bitcoin pizza. ”

More pizza please

As the purchase of Hanyecz in 2010, this one in 2018 is only a small point, but its symbolic value is considerable.

For many, the debate about scaling up bitcoin was a grueling ordeal that pitted different parts of the community against each other.

There was a part that insisted that transactions increased and, in turn, the fees became too high for companies to survive, so an action in the form of an increase in size blocks were needed now. The other party advocated slow and regular changes in order not to force Bitcoin into a more centralized state or to break the network that had created a censorship-resistant stock of value for users.

While all parties seemed to want the same thing, each had its own urgency and ideas about how this vision could be reached, and in the end, Bitcoin Core introduced the separate witness, a supposed code change. affect scalability; the controversial Segwit2x agreement, intended to push an increase in the size of small blocks in November was suspended; and the cryptocurrency bitcoin money competition was hard forked out of the main chain, showing a block size of 8 MB.

And all that started a new era of competing cryptocurrencies born hard pitchforks.

“A lot of reasons that these altcoins have had a big boost this year, is that people have started to see that you know bitcoin, it can not handle all the transactions, we need of something better on the woods promising something better, “said Hanyecz


But he remains very skeptical that one of these new pieces is worth a slice.

“All these things that are supposed to be better, they’re just a copy / paste for the most part, they do not solve the problem,” he said.

He continues lamenting what he regards as salacious balances between forks and initial coin offerings (ICO), and firmly planting his stake in the ground as a maximalist bitcoin.

And with that, Hanyecz is very interested in seeing the lightning network – on which the Bitcoin Core developers have been working painstakingly for years – to resurrect bitcoin as a payment mechanism.

“You know, it’s not something new that someone has come out to try to sell his pieces, you know, it’s not like he’s emitting parts and enriched, like those ICOs or whatever “. , adding:

“It’s a completely different thing and I could stand behind because you know, I’m using it, I’ve bought a pizza with it.”

Slightly undercooked

Still, even though Lightning’s development is almost complete, the problems – the most important of which is the ease of use of the network, as detailed by Hanyecz’s recent purchase – subsist.

For its part, because lightning is based on what is called a bidirectional payment channel, Hanyecz had to resort to the services of an intermediary.

With a bidirectional payment channel, both parties – the consumer and the merchant – would need to set up the payment channel in order to accept the flash payments. Because the pizzeria where Hanyecz ordered did not have the ability to set up a flash payment channel, Hanyecz paid a friend who set up the chain to facilitate the transaction.

So, similar to the 2010 transaction, where Hanyecz paid pizza salesman Jeremy Sturdivant for making pizza, Hanyecz paid a friend who also ran a lightning knot for him buy pizzas in dollars.

Although the use of an intermediary is not technically the point, the transaction “demonstrates the basic premise of how it works for daily transactions,” Hanyecz said.

Still, there were some other tricky technical hurdles (one that will likely have to be solved before lightning is used extensively) – Hanyecz had to pay in advance for his pizza, and had to prove that he had makes the transaction in a simple way, without any invoice.

“I did not want to pay in advance and I found myself without pizza,” Hanyecz said.

As a workaround, the pizza delivery driver received the first few characters of the hexadecimal string, the unique payment identifier of the transaction, and was told not to deliver the pizza unless Hanyecz does not give him this code.

Once the pizza arrived, Hanyecz flashed a piece of paper with the code “7241-a8c1” and the pizza was delivered.

In response, a regular on the lightning mailing list, Robert Olsson wrote that in the future this process could be facilitated with any escrow service, and urged the mailing list: “Start your brain, guys! seriously, there is pizza at stake! “

Seeing where Bitcoin came from Hanyecz’s first crypto-crust purchase, he does not believe that the challenges of lightning will persist for a long time.

“I think people will understand these things pretty quickly, and they will provide ways to do this automatically so that people do not have to think about it,” he said, concluding:

“The software takes care of it for you.”

Pizza image via Shutterstuck

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