The Million-Dollar Marvel: The Journey of a Once-Worthless ‘Buy Bitcoin’ Sign

April 25, 2024

Bitcoin holds significant value, a widely acknowledged truth. Beyond mere investment, it serves as a lucrative asset through various avenues, benefiting from its integration into mainstream culture despite critiques. A notable illustration of this phenomenon is the recent auction of an item perceived by some as trivial, which fetched approximately 16 BTC, equivalent to roughly one million dollars.

Former President John F. Kennedy’s quote, “The rising tide lifts all boats,” takes on new relevance when recalling a curious incident from 2017. During a televised event featuring then-United States Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, a then-unknown individual captured a lot of attention by holding up a piece of notebook paper with the message “Buy Bitcoin,” drawn in ink.

Back then, what seemed like a simple “Ink Drawing on Legal Pad” was seen as worthless. But as time passed, the world changed, and seven years later, that very same sign, now famously known as “Buy Bitcoin,” skyrocketed in value to over $1 million or 16 BTC. Christian Langalis, the person behind the sign, was promptly escorted out for breaking committee rules, while simultaneously, the image of his sign spread like wildfire across the internet.

Kennedy’s timeless words aptly capture the essence of this incident, suggesting that as Bitcoin gained mainstream attention, its rising popularity could benefit all involved in its ecosystem. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the increasing interest in Bitcoin could elevate its value and present opportunities for investors, developers, and users alike.

This week, the famous Buy Bitcoin sign went up for auction at PubKey, a bar in New York City with a Bitcoin theme. Scarce.City, the auction house handling the sale, announced that the winning bid set a new record for their platform. The sign’s new owner is a person known only by the handle “Squirrekkywrath.” While not much information is available about this mysterious buyer, Alex Thorn, the head of research at Galaxy, described them as a “Bitcoin OG” who hasn’t been widely recognized before.

In 2022, Langalis, the photo bomber who held up the Buy Bitcoin sign, tied the knot with the daughter of Peter Goettler, the CEO of the Cato Institute, a prominent think tank in the United States. “The gentleman who photobombed Janet Yellen five years ago by holding up a ‘Buy Bitcoin’ sign behind her during her Humphrey-Hawkins Testimony earlier this year became my son-in-law,” Goettler proudly shared the news during an online conference organized by the Cato Institute, where discussions revolved around the state of U.S. monetary policy with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

It seems Langalis has been quite busy with the Buy Bitcoin sign! He’s been offering it up for auction, even turning down a private offer of five BTC in hopes of getting a better deal through the auction. Things got a bit crazy during the bidding when someone accidentally made a huge bid of 100 BTC before fixing it to 10 BTC. Before all this auction excitement, Langalis had already made some money by selling replicas of the sign back in 2019, raking in almost 17 bitcoins.

He’s got big plans for the proceeds, though. Langalis aims to use the money to fund his startup, Tirrel Corp. Their focus is on developing a Bitcoin Lightning network wallet on Urbit, a platform for decentralized computing. 

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