Back then, bitcoin was worth practically nothing, only interesting to hobbyists and geeks, so it probably seemed like a fun stunt. Laszlo sent him the 10, bitcoin, and a short while later, he got the piping hot pizzas pictured above. There are two ways to look at this story: At least he got toppings. The second is that he proved that bitcoin had value. By buying a physical good with bitcoin, he kickstarted the entire crypto economy.
An economist will give you a two-hour lecture on what gives a currency value, but it really boils down to agreement. Tell this to your economist friends.
It will drive them nuts. Who wants to spend 10, bitcoin to buy a pizza, when in a few years that same bitcoin might buy Paraguay? For this reason, bitcoin can be used as a digital currency in theory, but it is not used very much in practice.
People tend to either buy and hold, or buy and trade — like a stock. May 22 is Bitcoin Pizza Day, by the way. What is the Blockchain? The innovation at the heart of bitcoin is called the blockchain. Blockchain is like a checkbook. Imagine a global checkbook, a global accounting ledger, where everyone can see all the debits and credits. Like the internet, this financial accounting is distributed. Blockchain is like the Internet. Like the internet, blockchain is distributed worldwide, across millions of computers.
This means that no government can completely shut it down. Like China, they can regulate it, but the genie is out of the bottle.
No one can completely put it back. It is unlikely that governments will make bitcoin illegal, because the innovation and financial opportunity would simply move elsewhere. But it is likely that it will become more regulated. Blockchain is like Android. Like the operating system on your smartphone, blockchain is a technology upon which you can build other apps.