The seller even got help from Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, though it’s still up in the air whether the artist actually made the “sale.”
Crypto Twitter was briefly set ablaze on May 14 with a suggestion that the world’s first real-world purchase made by Bitcoin may have been for a JPEG, not pizza.
In a tweet from independent developer Udi Wertheimer, the Bitcoin advocate shared a screenshot showing what could have been the first-ever purchase using Bitcoin — even predating the infamous Bitcoin Pizza.
This Twitter Space was FIRE
We discovered that:
🔥 the first purchase EVER with bitcoin was buying a JPEG for 500 BTC in Feb 2010
🔥 it pre-dates the the famous 10,000 BTC pizza
🔥 satoshi himself helped facilitate the JPEG sale
🔥 laser-eye cult in absolute SHAMBLES pic.twitter.com/b6ESOkbf0i
— Udi Wertheimer 🧙♂️ (@udiWertheimer) May 14, 2023
The posted screenshot is dated Jan. 24, 2010, a full four months before Bitcoin Pizza Day — when Bitcoin developer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas in what is widely considered to be the first real-world purchase made using Bitcoin.
The screenshot shows a user called Sabunir attempting to sell a picture for 500 Bitcoin — worth roughly $1 at the time — on theBitcoin forum Bitcointalk.
It even highlighted that pseudonymous Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto was trying to get involved in helping the sale go through.
Doubt has been cast on the claim however, with a tweet from professional poker player turned crypto investor Mike McDonald pointing to a screenshot that suggests the Bitcoin transaction could have been a donation, meaning the JPEG was never actually “sold.”
I'm not sure if it has been dispelled yet but it seems like Sabunir's 500 btc was a donation rather than sale.
He posted his address for his NFT Jan 24, then posted it again in the btc logo thread on Feb 24. Feb 24 500 btc was sent, Feb 25 he thanks 2 people for donations 1/2 pic.twitter.com/6Rk9Ont9KU
— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) May 14, 2023
In a subsequent tweet, Wertheimer conceded his original tweet may have been inaccurate, saying that although Sabunir did list a JPEG for sale at the price of 500 BTC and that they received the same amount in their address a month later, “it’s possible that the 500 BTC were sent as a donation for a different interaction” and that the sale of the JPEG was never actually conducted.
Without in-person confirmation from Sabunir, it remains unclear what the 500 BTC were transferred for, said Wertheimer.
The rumor comes in the wake of the Bitcoin Ordinals phenomenon, which has at the time of publication seen more than 6.1 million images, videos and even tokens — by way of the BRC-20 token standard — minted on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Wertheimer has been a major advocate of Bitcoin NFTs since the Ordinals protocol was created by Casey Rodamor on Jan. 21 this year, allowing users to “inscribe” new pieces of data on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Wertheimer has since been working to drive a fresh wave of NFT enthusiasts to Bitcoin by way of an Ordinals project called Taproot Wizards, which draws its namesake from the Taproot soft fork that enabled the creation of the Ordinals protocol in the first place.