Once in a while we hear the inspiring, amusing and often ridiculous stories about Bitcoins, the innovative cryptocurrency that is taking the world by storm. Here is an overview of the Bitcoin’s first achievements in integrating into the mainstream.

The first transaction

Some of you might have heard the story about the incredibly pricy pizza bought for Bitcoins. On May 21, 2010, an IT specialist Laszlo Hanyecz from Florida transferred 10,000 Bitcoins to an unknown Bitcoin-enthusiast in England, who would order a pizza from a Laszlo’s local Papa John’s and got it delivered to him. A photo was taken to prove the successfully completed transaction. This is considered to be the first Bitcoin transaction ever made. As the Bitcoin price grew from $0.03 in 2010 to $88 in March 2013 and today’s $510, the price of that pizza has also risen to $5.1 million. Bitcoin might not exist if not for that initial purchase that turned Bitcoin into a valid payment method and a supreme cryptocurrency as we know it. Hanyecz would technically be $5.1 million wealthier, but Bitcoins could easily be worthless if not for this transaction. Laszlo remains is an important figure in Bitcoin history and crypto-community. In a post from August 4, 2010 Laszlo wrote, “Well I didn’t expect this to be so popular but I cant really afford to keep doing it since I can’t generate thousands of coins a day anymore. Thanks to everyone who bought me pizza already but I’m kind of holding off on doing any more of these for now.”

The first state employee to be paid salary 

In December 2013, a Police Chief Tony Vaughn from a small town Vicco, Kentucky with population less than 300 people issued an official request to be paid for his duty in Bitcoins. The commission of Vicco took the time to research the request investigating the logistical and legal issues of this matter. Commissioner Claude Branson explained, “We done a checkup on it, and that’s the way he wants paid, and that’s the way the city is going to pay him”. The procedure of receiving salary in Bitcoins was the following: after deducting federal and state tax from the salary, the remaining amount was converted to Bitcoins and sent from the city’s Bitcoin account to Vaughn’s Bitcoin address. Although the governments of many countries do not recognise Bitcoins as an official currency yet, this can be considered as a first step to Bitcoin’s integration into the public sector. This act was also viewed in terms of city’s fairness ordinance, as it followed prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, which occurred in the beginning of 2013. Vaughn said, “I’m excited about it; it’s a first for Vicco again”.

First university to accept tuition in Bitcoins

The University of Nicosia in Cyprus has taken the initiative of becoming the world’s first accredited university to accept Bitcoins as payment for tuition and other fees. Bitcoins will also be accepted in affiliated institutions such as:

  • St. George’s University of London/UNic Medical School, a partnership between St. George’s University of London and UNic
  • Globaltraining, a professional training division with campuses in Cyprus, Greece and Romania
  • Erasmus and Global Semesters exchange and study abroad programs
  • UNic Online Degree Divisions, offering online programs to students worldwide.

According to Dr. Christos Vlachos, Chief Financial Officer, “Digital currency will create more efficient services and will serve as a mechanism for spreading financial services to under-banked regions of the world. In this light, we consider it appropriate that we implement digital currency as a method of payment across all our institutions in all cities and countries of our operations.” As many other business entities, the University of Nicosia is using BitPay payment gateway. In addition, in Spring 2014 the University launched a Masters of Science program in Digital Currency as part of the Comprehensive Framework focusing on turning Cyprus into the capital of Bitcoin trading, processing and banking. According to the press release this program “is designed to help financial services and business professionals, entrepreneurs, government officials and public administrators better understand the technical underpinnings of digital currency, how it will likely interact with existing monetary and financial systems, and what opportunities exist for innovation in digital currency systems.” For more information read the press release issued by the University of Nicosia.

The first marriage based of BTC

An engaged couple, Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham from Provo, Utah, decided to start their life as a married couple only on Bitcoins. They had agreed to support themselves throughout the first 90 days of their formal union using only this cryptocurrency. The outcome of this social experiment was to be a documentary Life on Bitcoin filmed by filmmakers Travis Pitcher and Joseph Lebaron and their team at The Good Line. As the groom said, “I’m always up for an adventure, and we’re starting off our lives together. Why not start out doing something different and unique?” Willing to push the limits of this digital currency, the couple had to negotiate most of their transaction (salary, rent, food, travel, insurance, medical attention, etc.) as well as explain and persuade the vendors to accept this cryptocurrency. They lived altogether 101 days on Bitcoins. People all over the world supported and funded this experiment through Kickstarter and, of course, Bitcoins. You can find more information about the couple’s journey with Bitcoins on their blog.

The first Bitcoin in space 

As of November 2013 Virgin Galactic, one of the world’s most progressive and futuristic companies, accepts Bitcoins as a payment method for tickets to space. The first future astronauts, a female flight attendant from Hawaii was the pioneers in making the first purchase using this virtual currency. Richard Branson has some Bitcoin investment himself and finds “it fascinating how a whole new global currency has been created”. He seems to be confident in Bitcoins and explains, “Bitcoins aren’t yet formally recognized by governments as a currency but with some regulation I hope that it will become more widely accepted. A few years ago many people had doubts about whether Virgin Galactic would ever get off the ground. Now we have gone supersonic, are a long way along the testing process, and are looking forward to launching commercial space travel.” You can find more information about commercial space travel of Virgin Galactic and its connection to Bitcoins on their website .