Bitcoin is like crossfit – the moment you get in you can’t shut your f***ing mouth about it.
You walk halfway across Rivington Street and in the middle of the block there’s an alley leading north, and then, inexplicably, it curves northwest. It’s remarkable in that on the Isle of Manhattan there aren’t any alleys. And this one is whimsical. Lights are strung overhead and artwork decorates the sides of the buildings as you make your way through. And then, at the end of Freemans Alley, you come to a tucked away restaurant in the back corner. It’s called Freemans (what else?).
If the setting for last night’s crypto currency summit was quirky, the conversation was downright otherworldly. The rules for how things work in the crypto realm are being written in real time. We pick up a phrase or a bit of terminology, and we begin to use it authoritatively moments later – as though we’d been doing so our whole lives. We’re hanging onto people’s words who’ve become experts in a thing that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
For a couple of hours I had stepped into Wonderland, the moveable center of the crypto currency universe. Seemingly everyone who purports to understand what’s going on is up in this second-floor private dining room. I have a feeling this event will be remembered and talked about for a long time in certain circles.
Among the three dozen or so attendees – traders, investors, engineers, thought leaders, hedge fund managers and fintech entrepreneurs. The event’s organizer, my pal Patrick O’Shaughnessy, is the common thread linking us all together. Only he could have brought this group together. “We’re overbooked tonight,” he tells me. “When I sent out the invites, not a single person said no!” Patrick’s three-part podcast, Hash Power, is probably the most important document of this moment of time. Everyone in the crowd was deferentially quoting from it. Many of the people there had appeared on it themselves.
A panel discussion led by four of the most important voices on crypto currencies in the country ensues. We meet the two founders of Blocktower, a leading crypto hedge fund. They are former University of Chicago Endowment portfolio manager Ari Paul and former Goldman Sachs vice president Matthew Goetz. Young guys, but seasoned in trading and banking. Just to give you an idea of how influential they are, they have firms like Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz as LPs. Let me repeat that – not as investors in their fund company, but as LPs.
Source/More: An Evening in Wonderland