'Bitcoin Sign Guy' Is Auctioning His Bitcoin Sign

Christian Langalis, whose 2017 photo-bombing of Janet Yellen became a viral meme, will use the proceeds to fund his Bitcoin/Lightning/Urbit startup.

AccessTimeIconApr 11, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 12, 2024 at 5:19 p.m. UTC
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A piece of Bitcoin history is going on the block.

Christian Langalis, whose photo-bombing of Janet Yellen became a viral meme, is auctioning the "Buy Bitcoin" sign he held up behind the then-Federal Reserve chair during her televised Congressional testimony in July 2017.

The sign, which Langalis drew on a lined yellow legal pad with a fine-point pen (a Uniball Vision, he told CoinDesk), will be listed Thursday on Scarce City, an online marketplace that sells physical and digital collectibles (and, naturally, accepts payment only in bitcoin).

In an interview with CoinDesk, Langalis said he would use the proceeds to fund his company, Tirrel Corp. The pre-seed-stage startup is building an implementation and wallet for Bitcoin's layer-2 Lightning network on top of Urbit, an open-source software project that attempts to rewrite the entire internet computing stack from first principles.

Asked how much he expected the memento – scribbled at a time when bitcoin (BTC) traded around $2,400 – to fetch, Langalis said, "I try not to think about it." However, he said that in recent weeks he received a private offer to buy the sign for five BTC, roughly $350,000 at recent prices. There is no reserve bid, or minimum price, he said.

Bidding for the sign will commence on April 18 and run for a week on Scarce City, but final bids will be entertained in person on April 24 at PubKey, a bitcoin-themed dive bar in New York (where a replica of the sign hangs on the wall). "It's a way to celebrate with the community," Langalis said.

The image of Langalis behind Yellen (who is now the U.S. Treasury Secretary and lukewarm at best about crypto) drew international attention to bitcoin. After pulling the stunt, he was escorted out of the House Financial Services hearing room for violating committee rules, he said. By that time, the image was being widely shared on social media, although he didn't know it yet.

"I was clueless," he said in a text message. "Phone dead since I arrived [at the hearing] so early."

UPDATE (April 11, 16:16 UTC): Adds link to third paragraph.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Marc Hochstein is the executive editor of Consensus, CoinDesk's flagship event. He holds BTC above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1K and de minimis amounts of other digital assets (details on profile page).

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