The seemingly inexorable rise of bitcoin, the untraceable digital currency exploding in value, has created endless excited comparisons between its past prices and up-to-the-minute valuation. Early adopters, including those who were given once valueless bitcoin for free or in exchange for a few bucks or useless things like loofahs, are revered like lottery winners. Hooray for them! Less hooray for those regretful schmucks who unknowingly evaded wealth giving up their bitcoin for a few bucks or a loofah. In the midst of this frenzy, a has for “only” 23 bitcoin.
Depending on when you acquired your bitcoin, 23 of them is either worth a sandwich or quite an overpayment over the $285,000 list price of a brand-new 720S. (As of this morning, one bitcoin was valued at about $17,730, so 23 theoretically would be worth $407,790.) The guy who transferred a few hundred bitcoin to his college roommate in exchange for skunked weed three years ago probably just jumped off a building. In any event, you needn’t own whole bitcoins—you can acquire fractions of them. In order to set up an appointment to see this McLaren, for example, the seller is asking for 0.00001 bitcoin (about 17 cents). That might be a mistake on the seller’s part, but none of this made-up-money stuff makes sense anyway.
The McLaren itself is claimed to have 750 miles on the odometer and is equipped with blacked-out exterior trim, the optional sport exhaust system, and striking Azores orange paint. Provided this isn’t a scam, it could be another plot point in bitcoin’s story arc to be shared excitedly by bitcoin holders. For a bitcoin’d buyer, the car could be a steal tainted with regret over having handed off a rapidly appreciating currency to the seller. Or it could go the other way. Bitcoin’s value has been volatile. Perhaps next month, the currency will totally collapse, in which case, even if you recently paid thousands of dollars per bitcoin to join the party, buying this McLaren will have turned out to be a good decision. The McLaren surely will still exist, and surely others will still confer value on it, which is the only thing currently propping up bitcoin.