Ubiquitous crypto billboards disappear across Central Texas


Anyone who has cruised through Austin over the last year has seen the billboards. No, not the “move to Ohio” billboards that make fun of Austin. The crypto ones. Anyone stuck on I-35 — 100% of its passengers — passing through the city wouldn’t be crazy to think that formerly sleepy Austin was downright obsessed with non-fiat currency.

As a matter of fact, the billboards in Austin have largely skewed toward three categories as of late: Ohio, crypto, and lawyers, specifically ones that rock and ones who will earn you millions if a truck plows into your home. Amid the crypto crash, it appears that the state of Ohio’s for-profit economic development corporation and local lawyers have eliminated the competition.

The author of the tweet, an Austin resident named David Logan, tells MySA that his tweet wasn’t merely in jest; he has seen multiple crypto billboards removed and replaced in recent weeks. Local personal injury lawyer Adam Loewy of Loewy Law Firm confirms that the crypto market falling has opened up space for lawyers like himself.

“The collapse of crypto has lead to an enormous buying opportunity in the billboard space,” he tells MySA. “I’ve contracted for 25 boards in the Austin area.”

It follows Consensus 2022, the “SXSW of crypto” that descended upon Austin earlier this month. At that event, attended by thousands upon thousands of blockchain, web3, and crypto industry workers and speculators, the mood skewed toward hopefulness even as the market cratered. It’s gotten worse since then; just today Reuters reported that the crash wiped out millions stolen by North Korean hackers and sent a large Singapore-based crypto hedge fund into liquidation.

As of last fall, though, the crypto ones seemed to have taken over the highway billboard landscape. “Crypto is real” or “this is an NFT” they read, all in the same white typeface on black backgrounds. In December, Austonia spoke with the person responsible, Sam Feldman, the founder of crypto explainer site marketcap.guide. He rented about 100 billboards around town, all which became available as NFTs that could be purchased at auction. 

“I would guess that the first ones in this will be the most valuable,” Feldman said in December. “If this ends up taking over the world, and we have 100,000 billboards, whoever owns that art piece is going to have a pretty cool NFT on their hands.”

Feldman did not immediately return a request for comment. 

The most recent billboard NFT to be purchased at auction at cryptoisreal.com, Feldman’s other site, is from two months ago. Reading “crypto empowers,” it resided in the physical realm between August 16 and September 13, 2021 on Braker Lane overlooking MoPac. It went for one solana (SOL), which traded at a high of $103.50 on the day of the transaction. SOL is hovering at around $34 as I write this story.

There’s no telling yet what this means for the crypto landscape in Austin. Will Consensus 2023 happen? Will it be reduced to a few dozen mopey guys insisting that crypto is making a comeback any day? For now, the skies surrounding the highways are apparently free of mintable NFTs. It’s David Komie’s and Adam Loewy’s and Thomas J. Henry’s world; the blockchain was just living in it.

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