Cryptocurrency podcaster Luke Martin said he contracted Covid-19 during the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami last week, one of the largest events in the US since the pandemic began.
Larry Cermak, director of research at cryptocurrency news and information site Block, said he didn’t get it, but “everyone” he spoke to over the three days of conferences and parties did.
Martin’s tweet was subsequently deleted.
The conference, which sold at least 12,000 tickets, drew a largely exposed crowd in Miami’s Winwood arts district, with crowds surrounding several city blocks around the complex on opening day. There were also countless other gatherings and parties.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given fully vaccinated Americans the go-ahead to return to most forms of normalcy, but their recommendations do not apply to the 57% of the country, which is still not fully vaccinated.
Bitcoin, a decentralized virtual currency that enthusiasts say is out of reach of government intervention, has become a popular and controversial investment, but unlike many conventional investments, it has formed a unique culture of its own, marked by a kind of macho and anti-authoritative spirit.
There was no vaccine test at the Miami conference and disguises were rare. Although part of the event took place outdoors, many bitcoiners crowded into warehouses and private parties. It is unclear if conference attendees contracted the infection at the conference itself or in meetings. Some people came to the city just to socialize.
“Vaccines have been freely available for several months in the US, to the point that anyone who wanted to get vaccinated could have done so by the time of the event,” the organizer of BTC Media said in a statement. “We shared the current CDC and Florida guidelines with all attendees and told our audience that those who were at high risk or were not vaccinated should consider waiting until next year.”
It is still difficult to tie outbreaks to specific events – and the Bitcoin event is likely to be no different.
Roughly one in 3,000 Americans tested positive for Covid-19 last week, so it takes more than a few tweets to confirm the discrete effect of Bitcoin 2021.
Attempts to contact the Florida Department of Health late Thursday night were unsuccessful.
– Assisted by Luke McGrath