Guerrilla Marketing for BTC: Seven Clever Bitcoin Publicity Stunts

Bitcoin inspires a mad fervor in its adherents, who feel compelled to share their discovery of decentralized currency with friends and family at Thanksgiving. Some go beyond impassioned pleas to buy bitcoin though, drawing attention to crypto in more elaborate ways…

Raman Shalupau’s Running Challenge

CryptoJobsList founder Raman Shalupau hit upon a nifty idea while enduring lockdown in Singapore during Covid-19. He ran along a route which traced the word “HELP” on the social-fitness app Strava. After that mini-mission was complete, Shalupau decided to celebrate his upcoming 30th birthday and bitcoin’s third halving by expanding the route so the message read “HELP ME BUY 30 BITCOIN.” All in all, he clocked an impressive 40km over seven hours. No word yet on whether he’s secured those 30 BTC.

Pascal Boyart’s Street Art

French graffiti artist Pascal Boyart commemorated the 10th birthday of the genesis block by painting a fresco in Paris with a 0.26 BTC puzzle within. The piece, entitled “Liberté Guidant le Peuple” (Freedom Guiding the People), contained clues revealing the private key, with the public key released in a tweet advertising the idea; it was solved after about a week, with the private key reading “Banker usury lie people fight hope union citizen lead triumph horizon yellow.” It wasn’t the first time Boyart, aka Pboy, had flirted with bitcoin: several of his works contain QR codes, with admirers able to remunerate the artist in crypto. This idea was pioneered by San Francisco-based artist cryptograffiti, most of whose pieces are concerned with publicizing the crypto movement.

Bitcoin Sign Guy’s Photobomb

Named 2017’s Most Influential Person in Blockchain by CoinDesk, Bitcoin Sign Guy made his name by photobombing US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as she testified to Congress. He did more than pull a cheeky face, though, holding up a yellow legal pad containing the directive BUY BITCOIN, prompting security to toss him out. The viral effect of the photobomb shouldn’t be underestimated: in fact, a subsequent pic of BSG brandishing his original message, along with his bitcoin address, netted him over $15k in donations from appreciative community members. “The sign was definitely an endorsement,” he told CoinDesk later. “Buy it, make the economic and political decision to take your money out of the monetary system.”

Bitcoin Bag Man’s Tote

Two well-dressed men in their thirties stroll out of Deutsche Bank’s London offices carrying tote bags, one emblazoned with the word “Bitcoins” – and another meme is born. It didn’t really matter that the men were Fielding & Nicholson tailors rather than laid-off Deutsche Bank financiers: what mattered was that bitcoin got a nice bit of publicity, with the image embodying the clash between legacy and modern financial systems. As luck would have it, Bitcoin Bag Guy later described himself as “a keen enthusiast for bitcoin and all things crypto.”

Bitcoin Girl’s Tattoo

Branding your body with anything related to bitcoin – the ₿ symbol, a QR code or even “Bitcoin ₿ Life” – is commitment writ large. You would assume that the first person brave or dumb enough to get a BTC tattoo would be a turbo-alpha bitcoin bro. You would be wrong. Bitcointalk lady CryptoCommodity accepted 200 BTC to have the world’s first known bitcoin ink in July 2011.

The positioning of the bitcoin symbol just above her, um, bitcoin wallet, is delicate. The needlework, not so much. The tattoo was inked in Las Vegas, incidentally, which appears to be a hotbed of bad crypto body art; dancers at Vegas strip joint The Legends Room were once stamped with temporary tattoos, enabling punters to tip them anonymously in crypto. The club is also kitted out with crypto ATMs.

Coin Young Master’s Cash Shower

Self-professed bitcoin playboy Wong Ching-kit, also known as Coin Young Master, channeled Jack Nicholson from Batman when he made it rain money in one of Hong-Kong‘s poorest districts. The 24-year-old tossed handfuls of HK $100 ($13) bills from atop a building in Kowloon district, with frenzied citizens gathering below to grab the notes. Rather than a supreme act of generosity, Coin Young Master was drumming up publicity for his own crypto business, Coin’s Group. He was later handed a suspended prison sentence for his antics.

Bitcoin’s Luminous Logo

In the same vein as Bitcoin Sign Guy’s glorious photobomb, the projection of a giant bitcoin logo onto the Swiss National Bank invited observers to compare and contrast the merits of BTC with the traditional walled garden banking system. The stunt was the handiwork of blockchain research center Trust Square, which had recently opened in the area. What next – ₿ projected onto Mount Rushmore? The moon?

We don’t know when it will come, or what form it will take, but one thing’s for sure: the next viral bitcoin publicity stunt will turn any unsuspecting, fiat-shackled humanoids within the blast radius onto digital gold. And that can only be a good thing.

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