The Mysterious Case of the First Bitcoin Purchase: Pizza or JPEG?

    The Bitcoin community was abuzz on May 14th with speculation that the first-ever real-world purchase made using Bitcoin might have been for a JPEG rather than pizza. This revelation was brought to light by Udi Wertheimer, an independent developer and Bitcoin advocate, through a tweet that contained a screenshot.

    Dated January 24, 2010, the screenshot predates the infamous Bitcoin Pizza by four months. In it, a user named Sabunir is seen attempting to sell a picture for 500 Bitcoin (about $1 at the time) on the Bitcointalk forum. What makes the screenshot even more interesting is the apparent involvement of pseudonymous Bitcoin founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, who seems to be helping the sale go through. This has led to speculation that the JPEG purchase might have occurred before Bitcoin Pizza Day.

    However, doubts have been raised about the claim. Crypto investor Mike McDonald pointed to another screenshot suggesting that the Bitcoin transaction could have been a donation, which means the JPEG was never actually “sold.” Wertheimer later admitted that his original tweet might have been inaccurate.

    While Sabunir did list the JPEG for sale at 500 BTC and received the same amount in their address a month later, it is possible that the 500 BTC was sent for a different reason. As a result, the sale of the JPEG remains unconfirmed. Until Sabunir confirms the purpose of the 500 BTC transfer, the first Bitcoin purchase remains shrouded in mystery.

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