When 600 cryptocurrency addicts set sail from Singapore on Monday evening for the second largest annual Blockchain Cruise, the cost of Bitcoin was poising comfortably above $13,500.
By the time their 1,020 -foot-long ship gathered into Thailand on Wednesday, for the purposes of an afternoon of boundless potions and crypto-focused talks on a sun-soaked private beach, Bitcoin had cratered to $10,000.
The group of predominantly young men, many of whom became wildly rich — at least on paper — as Bitcoin and other digital clues skyrocketed last year, had in all likelihood has lost millions.
But if anyone was fazed, they didn’t demo it. The party reeled on as the sangria and Red Bull flowed, Bitcoin-themed rap music honk and monotones filmed it all from above.
” Nothing goes up in a straight line ,” explained Ronnie Moas, the founder of Miami Beach-based Standpoint Research, who was one of the event’s talkers on Wednesday. In a best-case scenario, he said, Bitcoin could jump to $300,000 in as little as seven years.
For skeptics of the crypto fashion, it’s hard not to assure all this as another mansion of runaway excitement — a repeat of the boosterish Las Vegas securitization conference, commemorated in The Big Short, that predated the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2007. But the steadfast confidence on display at this week’s Blockchain Cruise also carries a caution for anyone potting on a cryptocurrency accident: It’s going to take more than a 50 percent drop in Bitcoin from its Dec. 18 high to drive out the diehards.
” This is something that you either believes in or not ,” said Moas, who has become a crypto-celebrity after issuing stratospheric price forecasts for Bitcoin.
The cruise’s eclectic list of speakers included Jose Gomez, a former aide-de-camp to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; Kaspar Korjus, the heads of state of Estonia’s e-residency program( which are likely edition its own cryptocurrency ); and Jorg Molt, an early digital money backer whose claim to hold 250,000 Bitcoins( worth $2.8 billion at the current price) couldn’t be verified.
But perhaps the biggest move was John McAfee, the anti-virus software colonist with a checkered past. In 2012, while living in Belize, McAfee had run-ins with local police for alleged unlicensed medication manufacturing and weapons self-possession, but was secreted without charge. At one point, Belize police started a search for him as a person of interest in connection with the murder of his neighbor. McAfee said he was innocent and that he fled Belize because of persecution by corrupt officials.
He now helps operate MGT Capital Investments Inc ., a small-cap tech corporation with a Bitcoin mining business. He has become a cryptocurrency clergyman on Twitter, touting the technology and numerous clues to his more than 700,000 admirers. Coinsbank, the digital currency exchange and purse hustler that organized the sail, cleared him a headline speaker.
On Wednesday, McAfee accused the recent marketplace slump on false horror of its intervention. He insisted cryptocurrency owners — one of whom sported a” Buy The Dip” t-shirt — to stick with their bets.
” You cannot force a ban on a distributed arrangement ,” McAfee said in an interview after his speech.” It’s like how do you ban smoking weed? You can’t censor it. Public will come back .”
Not every dialogue on the Blockchain Cruise revolved around cryptocurrencies. Attendees, unsurprisingly, had plenty to say about blockchain — the distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin — and its full potential to improve industries from commerce to health care.
Charity was also a topic raised by talkers including Moas, who urged the audience to donate some of their newfound property and be reduced by world inequality.
Many attendees have far more than they need.
Rowan Hill, a former coal miner in Australia, told you he retired by 26 after getting in on the crypto boom early. After the cruise, he’s heading to Japan for a four-week snowboarding trip.
” A plenty of people can’t stand the cost swings” in digital currencies, Hill said, donning a fedora and sunglasses as he lounged on the beach.” The average person precisely exchanges, and they lose out .”
Joe Stone, an Australian who invests in digital resources, said sell wanes are easier to bear in the company of fellow lovers. For numerous on the sail, the next stop is another cryptocurrency gathering in Bangkok.
” There’s nowhere I’d rather be ,” said Stone, after a late night of combining at the ship’s cigar bar over whiskeys.” Otherwise I’d just be at my computer .”
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