Have you heard the urban legend about a fellow who made bitcoin’s first real-world transaction by trading 10,000 Bitcoin for a pizza? That actually happened, the guys name is Laszlo Hanyecz, and he bought that pizza back in 2010 for and amount of Bitcoin that is worth about $95 million (R1,1 billion). That’s not all. The guy just traded Bitcoin for pizza again, only this time the transaction went off over the lightning network.
Hanyecz, who is famous for proving Bitcoin could be traded for real-world products and arguably jump-started the jumps in value of following years, pushed the envelope yet again and, in the process demonstrated the network’s real-world usability.
The transaction wasn’t as simple as scanning a QR code presented to him by the pizza delivery guy though. It took some coordination and planning, not to mention help from a friend in the UK. After making arrangements with the pizza shop Hanyecz opened a lightning channel and through some Bitcoin into it. Once his friend in the UK (who acted as an intermediary between Hanyecz and the pizza shop) confirmed the funds, Hanyecz was then able to pay the bolt11 invoice and get a preimage. He then relayed the first and last four digits of the preimage (7241-a8c1) to his London connect, who then relayed it to the pizza shop. The pizza was dispatched and Laszlo and the pizza delivery guy confirmed the code and boom! Lighting network pizza!
They could have had a more seamless transaction if they had executed it on the main net but it wouldn’t have been as quick. Hanyecz said his “goal was just to play around with c-lightning and do something more than shuffling a few satoshi back and forth. Maybe eventually pizza shops will have their own lightning nodes and I can open channels to them directly.”The point of the experiment was to demonstrate the lightning network’s real-world potential and that’s huge. Instant Bitcoin transactions mean Bitcoin becomes a widely accepted payment method everywhere.
We won’t need a friend in the UK to help us make transactions though. All we’ll need is for stores to set up lightning nodes and create lightning channels.