Visitors from around the globe flew in to attend the largest Bitcoin event in the world, hosted in a city that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hopes will become a new technology and cryptocurrency mecca.
Guests waited in mile-long lines for hours for a chance to hear Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, cryptocurrency billionaires Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and a host of tech entrepreneurs toss out buzzwords like "decentralized finance" and talk about the future of digital currency.
While many attendees came from cities with practical public transportation, this is Miami, and rideshare services are one of the primary ways to get around. This morning, New Times caught up with a longtime Uber driver about his experience ferrying various Bitcoin bros around the city this weekend and how this special breed differs from the usual Miami rider.
How many people did you take to the Bitcoin conference on Friday, and how did you know what they were there for?
I picked up about six or seven big groups, so around 30 people that were from all over — New York, Pittsburgh, South Africa. They did not stop talking about crypto. At one point, I thought I'd kill the next person to say the word "crypto."
Is it normal for people to talk to you?
Since I've worked in Miami, no one wants to talk to the Uber driver. Everyone minds their own business, except these people. Crypto guys want you into crypto. They'd say, "Do you have any crypto? Are you into crypto? Do you understand it?" They tried to sell me on whatever currency was their preference. I would just blow them off and say I don't have that kind of disposable income or time to research. Then they'd tell me, "You should save up because you can make $1 million off $1,000. You should save and invest." They were really persistent. I felt like they thought they were educating me, but they were just saying how great it is. To this day I still don't fully understand what it is.
Was there a specific type of person going to the conference in your car?
Weirdly buff dudes in tank tops. They were all jacked, every single one of them. I wondered, what crypto is doing to them? They were also young and incredibly white, with incredibly white names. The first guy was on the phone saying, "Oh, is Tanner there? 'Cause Chaz is coming." They were all nice, just weird and obnoxious-sounding.
Did you drive anyone famous?
One group told me that I had some of the biggest crypto influencers in the world in my car, and I just had to cringe. From what they told me, one guy in the back was a big crypto influencer on TikTok. I have no idea who he was, but the rest of the group treated him like he was a big deal. He was giving a speech about how old guys read company stocks and statistics sheets, but he just goes on TikTok and sees what people are buying on TikTok and that's how he made his money. The rest of the group was listening intently and feeding into his bullshit.
Did they tip well, since this guy apparently makes TikTok money?
That group did, but the other ones didn't.
Have you ever owned any cryptocurrencies, and did driving conference attendees around change your opinion of them?
I had Dogecoin for like a day. I think I lost six cents. [Driving people on] Friday definitely didn't make me want any.