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At NYC’s Big Crypto Conference, the Lamborghinis Are Rented and Protests Are Staged


John Nouri makes a living renting out exotic cars for weddings, birthdays, bachelorette parties, and now … Bitcoin conferences?

Today he stood outside the Hilton Midtown hotel in Manhattan, guarding three Lamborghinis — bright orange, navy blue and black — that Broadway SuperCars had rented to BitMex for the day. Nouri declined to disclose how much the crypto exchange had paid, but said a rental like that typically goes for around $1,000.

Bitcoin Bros Lamborghini or Smart Marketing?

Photographer: Lily Katz/Bloomberg

The flashy cars that symbolize conspicuous consumption among Bitcoin true-believers had caused a stir earlier as they roared through the streets near the hotel. Another stunt came from an upstart mining company called Genesis Mining. The firm hired actors to portray aggrieved bankers who will lose their financial services jobs when blockchain takes over the industry.

The gimmicks show that the hype that surrounded Bitcoin as it burst on the mainstream last year remains alive and well even after the biggest digital coin fell more than 50 percent from its December peak of almost $20,000.

Genesis said the protest was a “fun way” to show how crypto can upend banking “if they fail to adapt to the new world we live in,” according to a blog post on its website.

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