Cryptocurrency podcaster Luke Martin said he caught Covid-19 during the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami last week, one of the biggest events to have taken place in the United States since the start of the pandemic.
Larry Cermak, research director at The Block, a cryptocurrency news and information website, said he didn’t get it, but “everyone” he hung out with during the three days of conference and celebration did it.
Martin’s tweet was later deleted.
The conference, which sold at least 12,000 tickets, drew mostly unmasked crowds in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, with crowds wrapping several blocks around the complex on opening day. There were also countless other gatherings and afterparties.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given fully vaccinated Americans the green light to return to most normal life, but its guidelines do not apply to the 57% of the country who are still not fully vaccinated.
Bitcoin, a decentralized virtual currency that enthusiasts say is beyond the reach of government interference, has become a popular and controversial investment, but unlike many normal investments, it has developed a unique culture marked by a sort of macho and anti-authority ethics.
The Miami conference had no vaccine verification and masking was rare. Although part of the event was held outdoors, many Bitcoiners crowded into the warehouse-style space and private parties. It was not clear whether attendees contracted the disease during the conference itself or during the gatherings. Some people came to town just for networking.
“The vaccines have been available free of charge for months in the United States, as long as anyone wishing to be vaccinated could do so at the time of the event,” organizer BTC Media said in a statement. “We provided all participants with the current CDC and State of Florida recommendations and expressed to our audience that those who were at high risk or had not been vaccinated should consider waiting until the next year.”
Pinning epidemics to specific events remains difficult – and the Bitcoin event is likely to be no exception.
About one in 3,000 Americans have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week, so confirming a quiet effect from Bitcoin 2021 requires more than a few tweets.
Efforts to reach the Florida Department of Health failed Thursday night.
– With the help of Luke McGrath