The mecca of technology, Silicon Valley, is flush with ambitious and young entrepreneurs amassing new found wealth, but most refrain from flaunting their riches.
The start-up hub’s culture encourages technology’s rich to inconspicuously maintain a low profile by spending their money on hip sneakers and eco friendly cars instead of mansions and exotic cars.
But half way across the world in Dubai, a city known for showcasing extravagant wealth, some cryptocurrency millionaires have been the exception.
Khaled Mazeedi, a tech entrepreneur and Youtube personality residing at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, paid in bitcoins to drive away in a 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo (price tag: US$150,000) in 2014 well before the crypto craze. The bitcoin investor is proclaimed to be the first man on earth to purchase a Lamborghini with bitcoin.
Mazeedi is noted for holding over 1000 BTC’s and bought the digital currency for less than US$285 a piece in 2012.
“Bitcoin can be used to purchase physical assets in the real world, and this is proof. I’ve always been an advocate, I began investing before all the hype, and with the cryptocurrency hitting its all time high recently, people are finally starting to see the upside of investing in digital currencies,” Mazeedi told Ihodl.
Mazeedi bought the exotic car from Dubai-based dealership, Sanam Cars, by handing over a Trezor wallet to pay directly in bitcoin. According to a recent article in The New York Times, buying a Lamborghini may be “the single acceptable way to spend money” in the cryptocurrency community. Despite such claims, influential figures such as Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin have blasted crypto investors for spending their new wealth on fast cars.
Mazeedi’s supercar purchase has titled him as the first man on earth to purchase a Lamborghini with satoshis – the urban vernacular amongst crypto enthusiasts.
“If all that we accomplish is lambo memes and immature puns, then I will leave,” Buterin proclaimed on Twitter.
A popular illustration of Vitalik, holding a Lamborghini Aventador between his outstretched hands and dressed as an icon has been widely shared since the post went viral on Reddit in 2017.
Loyalists, amused at Mazeedi’s disregard to Vitalik Buterin’s advice, replaced the Ethereum founder’s famous Lamborghini meme with a portrait of Mazeedi holding a Lamborghini instead.
We don’t know how many crypto millionaires are out there nor how many purchased supercars, but a number of articles indicate Mazeedi being the first bitcoin Lamborghini owner.
Lamborghini delivered a record 8,000 vehicles to customers in 2020 compared to 3,200 in 2017, at the height of the bitcoin craze. The brand has diversified its offering with the introduction of the Lamborghini Urus SUV and expects continued growth in spite of the recent pandemic.
Bitcoin millionaires have contributed to popularizing Lamborghinis but are not responsible for the rise in the manufacturers sales. A relatively small number of people like Mazeedi have large investments in cryptocurrencies, and fewer invested before the price of bitcoin spiked in 2017.
A general manager at Sanam Cars in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, told Forbes that the dealership had “over 5 transactions” involving cryptocurrency in 2017, when bitcoin reached US$19,000 per coin. With bitcoin surpassing its 2017 peak this January by reaching a price of over US$35,000, they expect transactions with cryptocurrency to increase. Sanam Cars says luxury cars are for satisfaction, not speed, and that people who enjoy cars will always buy toys if they have expendable income.
Mazeedi and other influential cryptocurrency figures advocate enthusiasts to spend a percentage of their bitcoin profits to buy real world items. They claim that these purchases showcase how digital currencies have the potential to become a universal form of payment. Despite Vatalik Buterin’s opposition to spending bitcoin on items such as supercars, Mazeedi and others have their own philosophy, their headline grabbing purchases have certainly helped bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become far more popular.