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Red Bull Pushes the Envelope with a Bitcoin-Only Vending Machine

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM
Lester Coleman
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM

Attendees at this weekend’s Hackers Congress Paralelni Polis were able to buy Red Bull from a vending machine using bitcoin. The three-day hacking congress sponsored by the Institute of Cryptoanarchy was held in Holešovice, near Prague.

The vending machine at the hackers congress  is one of several concepts that Red Bull has come up with to generate attention. Red Bull Media House, the company’s media arm, enjoys a reputation for its entertainment or informational value — rather than as simply marketing.

Unorthodox Marketing

Red Bull created, produced, and distributed Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking leap from outer space to Earth, which drew 9 million views on YouTube, Werner Brell, managing director of Red Bull Media House, told mediashift.org  in 2014.

While Red Bull’s media often features its logo, it seldom overtly features the beverage, wrote Tom Forenski in mediashift.org.

A spokesperson for Red Bull North America contacted by CCN.com was unaware of the Red Bull machine that accepts bitcoin and referred CCN.com to Red Bull Media House. Red Bull Media House had not answered CCN.com’s questions at the time of this report.

It makes sense that a company looking to be on the cutting edge of technology and social change would find its way to a hackers conference with a vending machine that accepts bitcoin.

Hackers Congress Grows

The Czech hackers congress, now in its third year, allowed hundreds of technology enthusiasts, crypto-anarchists, and activists to network. The purpose of the gathering was to find new ways to support digital freedom and decentralization, which are among the benefits that digital currency offers.

To promote decentralization and cryptoanarchy in practice, congress encouraged paying with bitcoin. For those who did not have bitcoins, the event provided a guide on how to get them. Attendees also were given the option of paying with a credit card or PayPal, which incurred a 5% transaction fee.

The event featured closes to 60 speakers, according to its website. Speakers included Andreas Antonopoulos, author of “Mastering Bitcoin and the Internet of Money,” and Felix Weis, the world bitcoin traveler.

Themes included: freedom and “cryptoanarchy”; decentralized economy and cryptocurrency; political art and hacking; and science and technology.

Scheduled events included a 3D printed fashion show by FashionSTL, a hacker talent competition by Ultrahack, several drone shows, and movie screenings.

Images courtesy of Red Bull Media House/  Lukas Wagneter.