The Most Expensive Things Ever Bought With Bitcoin
Crypto OGs who made early entries into the crypto industry are now mega-rich, some of them already attaining billionaire status. Whales, a name for big-money investors in crypto, spend millions of dollars within the crypto space (some NFTs have sold for tens of millions of dollars).
There have been some remarkable ‘splash-the-cash’ moments in crypto over the years, where real-world items were purchased entirely with Bitcoins. From anonymous purchases to outrageous pizza orders, in no particular order, here are some of the most expensive (or not) things ever bought with Bitcoin:
Probably the most popular story in the crypto world today, the tale of how Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas with 10,000 BTC in 2010 is worth a mention. The price of a Bitcoin was less than half a cent, trading around $0.003. Laszlo, a computer programmer who claims to have been in contact with the famous Satoshi Nakamoto, conducted the first commercial transaction with Bitcoin. He bought two Papa John pizzas worth $30 and paid with bitcoins.
Papa John’s pizza, two of which sold for 10,000 BTC. (Source: VerdictFoodService)
The year was 2010 and Papa John’s was yet to figure out receiving payments in Bitcoin. So Laszlo had someone in the Bitcoin community order the pizzas and pay in fiat while reimbursing them with 10,000 BTC. Laszlo has no regrets whatsoever and is happy to go down in history — the 22nd of May is now known as the Bitcoin Pizza Day. 10,000 BTC is worth some $570 million today.
While the cost of owning a private jet is ridiculously high, crypto pioneers like Charlie Shrem patronized Skycraft. This private jet dealership, Skycraft, sold planes for around 80 BTC, currently worth approximately $4.5 million. Another crypto pioneer, Olivier Janssens, flew in a chartered flight from Belgium to France in the first chartered flight paid for in Bitcoin. Olivier had to dole out 55 BTC ($3.1 million today) and said it was his biggest Bitcoin transaction at the time.
Condo in SoHo
President Donald Trump may be one of the worst critics of Bitcoin, but ironically, his name finds its way into this list. An anonymous individual bought a one-bedroom 741-square feet condo in the Trump Hotel in SoHo for 25,500 BTC. The buyer insisted on accepting only BTC for the payment. Back in 2013, when the transaction was carried out, 25,500 BTC was worth around $2 million.
The seller got the best deal — one look at the current worth of 25,500 BTC will leave anyone gobsmacked. A whopping $1.45 billion — enough money to buy the Trump Hotel building two times over and have some change. The identities of both buyer and seller remain hidden, but some enthusiasts believe one of the Winklevoss twins was the buyer.
An anonymous investor (though now known) bought a 1.4-acre piece of land amid a luxury resort near Lake Tahoe in California. Intending to build a luxury home, the Silicon Valley businessman shelled out 2,739 bitcoins, equivalent to $1.6 million at the time.
The price of the land, when multiplied by today’s Bitcoin rates, stands at approximately $156 million. Not all land investments prove to be shrewd business, though, as a typical 1.4-acre property sells for far less today. Social Capital chief, Chamath Palihapitiya, has admitted to being the one behind the purchase, which he now regards as a bad investment.
The expression ‘when lambo’ may be popular in the crypto space, but the biggest Bitcoin splash on a car did not go toward purchasing a supercar or a luxury car. In 2013, Michael Tozoni paid 1,000 BTC for a modest second-hand Toyota Prius car. One of the firm believers in Bitcoin, Tozoni, had already moved all of his savings into BTC at the time. At the time, 1,000 BTC hovered around some $22,000 but is presently worth over $57 million.
Michael Tozoni’s Bitcoin Prius. (Source: The Drive)
The crypto space has seen many more splurges of Bitcoin towards the purchase of cars. In 2013, Lamborghini Newport Beach — a luxury car dealership that accepts Bitcoin payments — sold a Lamborghini Gallardo for 216 BTC, worth approximately $205,000 at the time. The sum is valued at $12 million today.
Other instances of crypto owners buying cars in Bitcoin includes getting a Tesla S model for 91 BTC in 2013 and when Peter Saddington bought a Lamborghini Huracan for 45 BTC in 2017. Both sums are now valued at $5.1 million and $2.5 million, respectively.
Perhaps the condo in SoHo episode passes as the biggest Bitcoin splurge on real estate so far, but crypto holders have also bought other properties at ridiculous amounts. Michael Komaransky, a Bitcoin trader, put his mansion up for sale for six million dollars, or the BTC equivalent, in 2018. He got 455 BTC as payment, worth $6 million at the time, and presently worth approximately $26 million.
The Michael Komaransky mansion in Miami. (Source: Mansion Global)
Another report of a villa in Bali that sold for 800 BTC is on record, although the Bitcoins were converted to dollars at the time (around $500,000). 800 BTC is now worth some $45.6 million.
There are many more instances of big-money buys entirely with Bitcoin.
The Winklevoss brothers reserved Virgin Galactic tickets for 450 BTC each in 2014, an artwork of the Bitcoin Supper sold for some 4.5 BTC, amongst others.
With more and more merchants accepting cryptocurrencies and crypto adoption spreading like wildfire, you bet we will hear more stories like these in the years to come.