Silicon Valley may be flush with cash, but its monarchs often don’t like to flaunt their wealth. The culture encourages tech’s casual billionaires (or mere millionaires) to stay humble, spend on sneakers and hoodies instead of parties, and focus on the work more than the spoils.
So far, cryptocurrency millionaires have been the exception.
People who made their riches in bitcoin and ether, the second largest cryptocurrency by market value, are buying Lamborghinis as the ultimate status symbol in their community.
The sexy Italian sports car has become an internet meme: When a new coin promises to make buyers a lot of money, someone might ask, “When’s Lambo?” on social media. They want to know how long it will be until the holder can afford the supercar, which starts at $200,000.
Peter Saddington, a 35-year-old coder living in Atlanta, paid 45 bitcoins to ride off in a 2015 Lamborghini Huracan (price tag: $200,000) last fall, at the height of the crypto craze. Those coins cost less than $3 a piece when Saddington bought the digital currency back in 2011.
“Buying the Lambo with bitcoin is proof it can be used for real transactions, buying really cool stuff,” Saddington told Yahoo Finance in 2017. “It’s not only used by criminals.”
The car was used, and Saddington paid the seller directly in bitcoin. He paid the dealership a transaction fee of $7.95 and the sales tax in cash, according to Yahoo Finance and CNBC.
In 2015, realtor Piper Moretti, whose company The Crypto Realty Group specializes in helping people buy homes with crypto, saw one of her first crypto-clients buy a Lambo with bitcoin.
A family from the East Coast fell in love with a $3.2 million home on Manhattan Beach. Her client, who asked not to be named, wanted to pay in bitcoin. But the seller’s agent was dead-set against it. Moretti said they had to find a way to show they weren’t trying to scam the seller.
Around that time, the price of bitcoin spiked, and Moretti’s client decided to spend some of the extra money on a Lambo from an Orange County dealership that accepts bitcoin as payment.
Moretti told her client to “send me everything you have on this,” including all the receipts and documents from the transaction, which she then provided to the seller’s agent.
“The Lambo actually helped us get the house,” Moretti told Business Insider.
Cryptocurrency is “not just internet-nerd money,” she added. “You can actually buy things.”