When I followed up with Cobain after the Luna disaster, his optimism did not wane. “The cryptocurrency market is closely related to the Nasdaq,” he said. “Three of the most invested stocks – Apple, Amazon and Facebook – have lost more in market capitalization than the total value of the crypto market. Nobody is wondering whether Apple will be a good partner after losing $400 billion or so in market cap. This is how in which the markets operate.
Maybe… but Apple has actual products. The crypto space, after more than ten years of development, does not have much to offer besides database entries, ugly avatars, risky deals, and a host of electronic software. Plus – and here I have to go back to editing again – the DeFi sector seems to me like a time bomb. Last Thursday, Tether, another widely used stablecoin that attracts revenue-seeking users, briefly broke its peg to the US dollar. It recovered quickly, but many observers agree that running stablecoins can lead to a series of cascading failures. “If things start to fall apart, it could be catastrophic for the industry,” one analyst told CNBC. This is how markets are no the job.
I must admit that, Before the crash, I enjoyed seeing my altcoin portfolio appreciate. I also collected a fair amount of interest, scored some Cronos commissions, and earned a month of Spotify. I still don’t really understand why cryptocurrency is so expensive or complicated, but it was nice to be a carpenter. That way, Matt Damon was right.
In search of connection with the tribe, I visited a long-running CryptoMondays encounter in Venice Beach about a month before the crash. We met under the patio lights in the parking lot of an upscale Mexican restaurant, which, during the pandemic, had been converted into an outdoor bar. I had attended a similar event, years ago – a full-blown sword fight, where frantic dubs were lecturing each other about distributed ledgers. Since then, the cryptocurrency has enjoyed a social promotion: in Venice, the audience was diverse, funny, intelligent, beautiful and cool. Felt like I was in a vodka ad.
No one I spoke to remembered who organized the event for the first time – an attendee told me it was automated or “decentralized”. Some participants have been touring for years on inflated Bitcoin wallet returns; Others, like me, were at first. I spoke with a recent college graduate and a former javelin thrower. Jack and his brothers belong to the demographic that Crypto.com refuses to acknowledge, but when I asked him about the company, he scoffed. “No one is using it.”
Likewise, Jackie Peters, a nifty entrepreneur who is building a blockchain-powered dating app called “Trust!” (The app will use “Web3 technology” to restore credibility to online dating.) Peters was still in the process of choosing which blockchain to use, but Cronos was not a competitor. “There is nothing there, technically speaking, that would attract me,” she said. “I am thinking of using a blockchain called Avalanche.”
Of the dozens of attendees I spoke with, only Apu Gomes, a Brazilian photographer, had any first-hand experience investing with Crypto.com. Gomez, who had been looking to commercialize photographs of NFTs, was also a small speculator. In the weeks since Damon’s commercial first aired, Kronos has tripled in value. The company’s next commercial, in which LeBron James appeared, was shown during the Super Bowl. “I fell,” Gomez said. “I sold it to buy Solana.”
Many of those present seemed to have a hangover. That was thanks, in part, to NFT/LA organizer Audrey Pechy, who concluded earlier that week, who described itself as “an epic IRL conference combined with immersive metaverse integrations and a robust Los Angeles nightlife scene.” Bichy, who was born on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, wore a leather jacket, bouncing from side to side in glee as she spoke. “Even a month ago, we weren’t even sure how many people would show up. But 4,000 people came!”