First BTC Purchase May Predate the Infamous Pizza Buy

Bitcoin researchers have done it again: On May 14th, Udi Wertheimer, the co-founder of popular Bitcoin Ordinals Taproot Wizards collection, revealed on Twitter that the first use of BTC to the first real-world item may not have been the infamous pizza buy on May 22nd, 2010. It would have dated months earlier, in January 2010, for a piece of art.

According to Wertheimer, an individual who went by “Sabunir” on made a post on January 24th, 2010, asking if anyone wanted to by an image for 500 BTC (approximately $1 at the time).

The individual wrote: “Hello all. I’ve decided to give Bitcoin a try. As a test, I want to see if I can make $1 USD from selling a picture…To get the picture, please send the coins to me and then send a Private Message stating the time you sent them. I will reply to your Private Message with a link to the picture.”

The individual also said that the image was of their own creation, and that if there was interest, they might sell more images for BTC. After some talk about the technical aspects of the trade, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto weighed in with how the sale could go down.

So did the sale actually go through? A quick look at the seller’s wallet (which they posted in a later message) shows that they received 500 BTC on February 24th, 2010, nearly three months before the Bitcoin developer Laszlo Hanyecz made his 10,000 BTC purchase for two large pizzas from Papa John’s.

Alas, we are not able to see the image that the individual wanted to sell for BTC. In a problem that some collections might run into in the future, the link to the image is broken.

BTC Ordinals and Provenance

The revelation that the first use of BTC to make a purchase for art comes during a period of renewed interest in the Bitcoin blockchain and the use of the currency as more than just a store of value. The cause? Bitcoin NFTs, commonly referred to as Ordinals, which have reignited innovation in the ecosystem.

According to Dune Analytics, the number of Ordinals inscribed on the Bitcoin blockchain is going parabolic. Less than a month ago, there were only 1.4 million Ordinals in the ecosystem. Now, that number has nearly reached 7 million.

A major cause of this rise is the BRC-20 protocol, which allows for the launching of tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. Since the beginning of May, the average day sees 5:1 BRC-20 token transactions compared to picture-related Ordinals, and on most days the ratio is much higher. The demand for these tokens has been so high that it caused congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain, skyrocketing miner fees and causing slow transaction times.

When it comes to the picture-based Ordinals, it is interesting to note that Bitcoin comes with a certain amount of provenance for buying art. There is today’s story of the first BTC real-world transaction and the 2015 launches of two Bitcoin NFT collections, including Rare Pepes, which predates NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Rarity Sniper will be here to report back with any developments in this story.

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