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The Guy Who Sold Baklava for Bitcoin

  • In 2011, George Mandrik began selling baklava and cleaning houses for Bitcoin to make ends meet.
  • This ultimately led to him working at Blockchain.info and Bitinstant, and meeting people like Changpeng Zhao and Charlie Shrem.
  • Despite the meteoric rise of BTC’s price, he “doesn’t regret ever spending a single Bitcoin.”

George Mandrik, one of the earliest “OG” Bitcoin (BTC) adopters, began his crypto journey by selling baklava, the popular Turkish pastry dessert, for BTC back in 2011, he reminisced during the latest episode of the “Stephan Livera Podcast” published today.

“By the end of 2011, I heard about Bitcoin when somebody offered to pay for baklava—I was selling baklava on the Internet, just doing whatever I could—so I was offered Bitcoin to sell to Roger Ver,” said Mandrik, later adding that his first crypto-enabled order of baklava netted 14 BTC (worth around $480,000 today).

Since things weren’t too great financially, Mandrik was initially selling his BTC to pay bills and rent—and those coins were far from the last ones to get sold. But as time went by, he began taking crypto more seriously and started to look for a way to actually hold them for longer, because having an alternative to the US dollar “was so cool.”



At the time, a lot of like-minded libertarians were also living in New Hampshire, which allowed him to find more people who were willing to pay with Bitcoin, and later Mandrik also expanded his “enterprise” into the house cleaning industry. Of course, he accepted BTC for his services without any reservations by that point.

Later he was also offered a job at Bitinstant—a Bitcoin exchange founded by Gareth Nelson and Charlie Shrem in 2011, which closed down in 2014—as a support desk specialist.

In 2013, the blockchain explorer and wallet service Blockchain.info (now Blockchain.com) stated that Mandrik had joined the company but had stopped selling Baklava.

“The rumours are true – the same Mandrik who answers all your support tickets @ blockchain.zendesk.com is the same Mandrik who’s been selling baklava for bitcoin for 2 years now. His baklava-making days have come to an end, and he’s auctioning off the last few pans,” Blockchain.com’s official Facebook account posted on December 11, 2013.

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