People who became rich thanks to bitcoin’s skyrocketing prices in 2017 have been buying up flashy Lamborghinis to spotlight their newfound cryptocurrency wealth.
“[Bitcoin is] not just internet-nerd money,” realtor Piper Moretti told Business Insider. “You can actually buy things.”
Moretti should know; she works at the Crypto Realty Group, which specializes in helping people buy homes with cryptocurrencies.
In 2017, a buyer in Austin, Texas, made headlines after purchasing a home using only bitcoin for payment. That was the first real estate deal conducted using only virtual currency. The buyer’s broker, Sheryl Lowe of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, said the bitcoin transaction was the easiest she had ever conducted.
“In all of my 33 years of closing transactions, I honestly couldn’t have expected something so unique to go so smoothly,” Lowe said. “In a matter of 10 minutes, the bitcoin was changed to U.S. Dollars and the deal was done!”
Similarly, Peter Saddington, an Atlanta-based computer coder, purchased a $200,000 Lamborghini Huracan last fall by paying for it with 45 bitcoins. He had acquired bitcoin in 2011 when it cost less than $3 a piece. Today, BTC prices hover at about $7,000 a token.
“Buying the Lambo with bitcoin is proof it can be used for real transactions, buying really cool stuff. It’s not only used by criminals.”
While tech billionaires like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are notorious for being understated about their vast wealth, bitcoin millionaires embrace their affinity for flamboyant Lamborghinis.
“That is like a meme that goes around Reddit,” Saddington told CNBC. As soon as you start investing in crypto, “someone says, ‘When Lambo?'”
The meme has become so common that Vitalik Buterin — the 24-year-old Ethereum founder whose net worth tops $400 million — has blasted crypto investors for childishly flaunting their newfound wealth.
“If all that we accomplish is lambo memes and immature puns about ‘sharting,’ then I WILL leave,” Buterin tweeted in December 2017.
Meanwhile, Lamborghini reported record sales in 2017. The luxury car maker delivered 3,815 vehicles last year, up 10 percent from 2016. Lamborghini says there has been a spike in purchases made with bitcoin.
If all that we accomplish is lambo memes and immature puns about "sharting", then I WILL leave.
Though I still have a lot of hope that the community can steer in the right direction.
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) December 27, 2017
While cryptocurrencies remain a mystery to most people, the virtual asset class is quickly emerging as an investment vehicle to be reckoned with.
Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have slammed digital currencies for being opaque and unregulated, but bitcoin evangelists like the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron, insist crypto is here to stay.
The Winklevoss twins know a little something about making money. In February, Forbes magazine released its first-ever list of cryptocurrency billionaires. Tyler and Cameron landed at No. 4 in the rankings, with a combined net worth approaching $1.1 billion.
Forbes 2018 List of the Richest People in Crypto (Net Worth)
- Chris Larsen, Co-founder of Ripple: $7.5 to $8 billion
- Joseph Lubin, Co-founder of Ethereum: $1 billion to $1.5 billion
- Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance: $1.1 billion to $2 billion
- Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Co-founders of Gemini: $900 million to $1.1 billion
- Matthew Mellon, Individual investor: $900 million to $1 billion
- Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase: $900 million to $1 billion
- Matthew Roszak, Co-founder of Bloq: $900 million to $1 billion
- Anthony Di Iorio, Co-founder of Ethereum: $750 million to $1 billion
- Brock Pierce, Chairman of Bitcoin Foundation: $700 million to $1 billion
- Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital: $700 million to $1 billion
- Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one: $600 million to $700 million
- Dan Larimer, CTO in Block.one: $600 million to $700 million
- Valery Vavilov, CEO of Bitfury: $500 million to $700 million
- Charles Hoskinson, Co-founder of Ethereum and IOHK (Cardano): $500 million to $600 million
- Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple: $400 million to $500 million
- Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group: $400 million to $500 million
- Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum: $400 million to $500 million