Bitcoin Miami: 21 photos of the crypto bonanza

Fortune sent a photographer Roger Kisby to document the thousands of crypto fans who flocked to Miami for Bitcoin 2021, America’s first major tech conference since the pandemic started.
June 15, 2021 4:30 PM UTC
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Attendee Bitcoin Necklace
An attendee dons a Bitcoin necklace on day one of the Bitcoin 2021 convention in Miami on June 4.
Roger Kisby

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As recently as a couple of years ago, Bitcoin boosters commonly celebrated the dissemination of their worldview by saying “the virus is spreading.”

Thinking better of the catchphrase, the crypto set largely abandoned it in light of COVID-19. Still, there is something uncanny—something fundamentally epidemiological—in the way the idea gets passed around, takes on proselytizing hosts, and uses them to latch onto new ones.

The two contagions—Bitcoin and coronavirus—had the unusual opportunity to mingle earlier this month. On June 4 and 5, cryptocurrency enthusiasts descended upon Miami for Bitcoin 2021, the first major in-person conference since the pandemic started. Reports suggested that more than a few attendees were ripe for infection, in both senses.

Fortune sent a photographer, Roger Kisby, down to the Magic City to chronicle the bacchanalia. Adding to the weekend’s excitement, many businesses have been opening offices in the neighborhood as the city seeks to remake itself into a digital money mecca. The city has been catering to the nouveau riche and corporate carpetbaggers with low taxes and perennially warm weather.

If you didn’t attend the confab—whether for fear of contagion, uninterest in “digital gold,” or some other reason—you’re probably either grateful or regretful about your choice. Here are 21 photos that encapsulate what you missed.

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The likeness of Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and fintech firm Square, overlaid on a blown-up image of a $50 bill at a Miami crypto art gallery. Dorsey is one of the business world’s highest profile Bitcoin believers. He has described the cryptocurrency publicly as a possible native currency of the Internet.
Roger Kisby
In a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Marc Andreessen famously declared that “software is eating the world.” The founder of pioneering web browser Netscape and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz later caught the crypto bug, betting big on the nascent industry. People have lately morphed his meme-phrase to accommodate the rise of NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens,” sorts of digital collectibles that have sold for upwards of millions of dollars.
Roger Kisby
Unlike an actual coin, Bitcoin doesn’t exist in physical form—other than electronic pulses encoded in silicon, of course. But that doesn’t stop people from representing the cryptocurrency artistically anyway. The standard visual displays a coin with a “B” speared with bars, an allusion to “$.”
Roger Kisby
People can make money buying cryptocurrency, but they can also make money building tools that help people to buy cryptocurrency. Here, a startup rep shows off a demo of Enigma X, a software program that caters to crypto traders.
Roger Kisby
Jimmy Song, a vocal Bitcoin proponent, is not one to shy away from a fight. You’ll rarely catch him in public without his trademark cowboy hat.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Line
The Bitcoin Miami conference attracted more than 12,000 people. Lines to enter the venue extended for miles.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Michael Saylor-Max Keiser
On the left is Michael Saylor, a tech entrepreneur who essentially converted his dotcom-era software analytics business, Microstrategy, into a Bitcoin holding company. With him is Max Keiser, host of a show on RT, who, around the time this photo was taken, chanted, “Fuck Elon,” a reference to the Telsa founder’s recent flip-flops on Bitcoin.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Convention Booths
Visitors to the kiosk for Coinsource, a purveyor of Bitcoin ATMs.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-QR Code Foundation
Foundation shows off its new hardware wallet, Passport. But even low-tech phones can be used to send Bitcoin—a boon for remittances. QR codes are a popular mechanism for facilitating payments worldwide.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Anti Elon Musk
After Tesla CEO Elon Musk disclosed the electric-vehicle maker bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin in the first quarter of the year, the crypto tribe embraced him. But he upset those same fans when he later called out the environmental impact of Bitcoin “mining.” His tweets regularly rock volatile crypto prices.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Michael Saylor
A bodyguard keeps people at bay while an attendee takes a photo with Saylor, who has taken up his role as a crypto celeb with zeal. Saylor recently convened a “Bitcoin mining council” with Musk to discuss ways the industry might get “greener.”
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Performers
Day one, and performers in gold Bitcoin body paint work the convention floor.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
The Winklevoss twins—Cameron and Tyler—turned the millions they made in a settlement with Mark Zuckerberg over the founding of Facebook into Bitcoin billions. They’re founders of Gemini, a company that operates a crypto exchange and other crypto businesses.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Attendees
The curly-haired 29-year-old in the center of this photo is Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, a lately ascendant crypto exchange. Bankman-Fried recently shelled out millions to rename American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, as FTX Arena—not far from the site of Bitcoin 2021.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Olaf Carlson-Wee
Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first hire at Coinbase, a major cryptocurrency exchange that went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange through a direct listing earlier this year, has a reputation for divining the future of the web. He invests in crypto projects through his fund, Polychain Capital.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Tim Draper
The “B” doesn’t stand for business attire. Tim Draper, a storied venture capitalist who hit it big with bets on Hotmail and Skype, tends to show up to conferences garbed in Bitcoin-promoting threads.
Roger Kisby
Bitcoin Miami 2021-Day 1-Senator Cynthia Lummis
Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, a state that has been floating crypto-friendly legislation, said she owns some Bitcoin.
Roger Kisby
Many Bitcoin boosters contend that cryptocurrency offers a better shot at financial inclusion than the legacy financial system, which has a fraught history of exacerbating racial inequity.
Roger Kisby
Some performance artists made it rain Venezuelan bolívar fuertes, a struggling currency. The stunt was meant as a commentary about the dangers of misguided government monetary policies and attendant inflation. Fun fact: Venezuela created its own cryptocurrency, the supposedly oil-backed Petro, in a thinly veiled attempt at evading economic sanctions a few years ago.
Roger Kisby
Pro skater Tony Hawk bought Bitcoin back in 2012 after hearing about Silk Road, a dark web marketplace that was later seized by the Feds. More athletes and celebrities have become crypto converts lately, most notably quarterback and new Florida resident Tom Brady.
Roger Kisby
The biggest news to come out of the event was El Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele proclaiming his desire to make Bitcoin legal tender in his country. Jack Mallers, CEO of Strike, a company that is helping to bring Bitcoin there, got emotional on stage during the announcement.
Roger Kisby

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