At the age of 25, he founded the Encrypted Castle. Once the unicorn founder, the celebrity genius hacker was the sofa guest here, but now nobody cares…

Not far from San Francisco in San Francisco, there is a sacred place in the heart of the chain of geeks: "Encrypted Castle." This encrypted castle has its own "king" : Jeremy Gardner, 25, and the augmented predictive market platform Augur is also from his hands.

In the madness of the cryptocurrency market, the Encrypted Castle was shrouded in many auras and went to the spotlight of the media: Augur, one of the most successful DApps, 60 former tenants became the rich, and six guests became millionaires. The party of the drunken fans, the encryption castle has no scenery at the moment.

The sudden collapse of the currency price brought a fatal blow to the cryptocurrency industry, and the encrypted castle gradually disappeared from the headlines. King Jeremy Gardner began to close the door . There is quite a kind of "seeing him from the Zhulou, seeing him banquet guests, seeing his building collapsed".

Today's story begins with this once-famous but little-known "encrypted castle."

On January 13, 2018, the New York Times published an article "Everyone is becoming very rich, but you are not . " There is a very classic photo in the article, a young and arrogant blockchain entrepreneur named Jeremy Gardner and his "encrypted castle" in San Francisco.

As described in The New York Times, the King of the Encrypted Castle is only 25-year-old Jeremy Gardner, a "young hedge fund investor, the blockchain whites are undoubtedly the leader. " Media encryption The castle showed great interest, and the US heavyweight blogging media Business Insider described it as "in the encryption castle, young bitcoin entrepreneurs gather to plan the currency tomorrow."

In the article "Everyone is becoming very rich, but you are not", the crazy price of Bitcoin, the great attention of the outside world and the media's great interest in encrypting the castle have become a halo over Gardner. Too much, too fast. “Everything feels too psychedelic, it feels too unreal,” Gardner recalls. At that time, “I’ve gotten ready for the value of the encrypted asset to shrink by 90%. I think I’ll feel much better. This is really too crazy."

Unexpectedly, he became a slogan, and the facts were as he wished.

In the past year, the value of most cryptographic assets has shrunk by nearly 90%. At the same time, the encrypted castle has long since disappeared from the headlines, and Gardner has stopped all interviews because of misunderstandings .

We can't help but wonder, what happened to Gardner and his encryption castle after a year?

In the cold winter of this cryptocurrency, how about encrypting the castle? Do people still live there? Are they still holding cryptocurrencies at all costs? What is the “dream of buying Lamborghini” that is well-known in the blockchain community? With these questions, I came to the Encrypted Castle.

First encounter encrypted castle

The Encrypted Castle is located in the Potrero Mountain neighborhood of San Francisco. It was built on the top of a steep hill. When I walked to the door of the Encrypted Castle, I was already out of breath.

Encrypted castles have no moats, no suspension bridges, and no horns symbolizing royal power.

I rang the doorbell. The door opened and a man named Aymard Dudok De Wit received me. He was a tall, slightly bearded man who spoke with a Swiss accent.

When De Wit took me on a tour, I noticed that, unlike the imagination, there are not many blockchain elements in the encrypted castle, and the encrypted castle does not look like a castle. It is just an ordinary three. Floor apartment .

The apartment’s garage is cluttered with a whiteboard and a temporary meeting room. But this is not an ordinary garage. Here, the early residents of the Encrypted Castle, Black Apple, Sony's genius hacker George Hotz once built a self-driving car . Outside the apartment is a small backyard with a hammock, and the outdoor hot tub is closed, as if the blockchain winter is coming.

Encrypted the refrigerator in the castle with a supply of Bitcoin 21 million, Saunders' campaign patch, and a fucking FDA

(US Food and Drug Administration)

“We lived about 100 people here,” De Wit said. He politely showed me every bedroom and bathroom, which looked almost like a real estate agent. 80% of the residents in the encrypted castle are male, which can also be seen from the details in the room : the Star Wars memorabilia displayed in the glass cabinet, the poster of the American adult animated sci-fi sitcom "Rick and Moti", and " Palin (American Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Palin) / Voldemort 2016 – Two evils are taken lightly?" Such a funny political slogan. But overall, the encrypted castle is still very clean .

As a reflection of the few blockchain cultures, the bitcoin is marked on the refrigerator, "21 million (bitcoin supply cap)", "go to fucking FDA (US Food and Drug Administration)", "Bernie 2016 (Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential Election) sticker. Like most young people, there are two large barrels of protein powder on the refrigerator .

Several residents slammed the keyboard in the middle of the door, and several residents were whispering. De Wit took me to the center of the Encrypted Castle, a spacious living room with a view of the San Francisco skyline, and we started talking on the leather sofa that Eitafang founder Vitalik Buterin once sat on .

As a hardcore blockchain fan, this room is full of sacredness to me. It can be said that it is Mecca in my heart. The meaning of this room is like that of Jobs and Wozniak co-founding Apple's Los Altos neighborhood. Garage .

Before I came, I thought about giving them a dozen beers, but it turned out that it was right to buy no wine. After sitting for a while, De Wit asked me, “Would you like some juice?”, saying that he handed me a box of “Honest Kids” juice, which is the kind of juice you need to take with a straw. I accepted it with pleasure, and the juice was delicious. He said, "We are not alcoholic."

It was the summer of 2017. It was precisely at the end of August, before and after the Burning Man Festival. De Wit moved to the Encrypted Castle and lived there. De Wit has been lurking in the blockchain world of the San Francisco Bay Area since the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase began organizing early gatherings.

It's hard to imagine that at the time, Coinbase's founder and CEO, Brian Armstrong, personally attended every gathering and seized the opportunity to sell the Coinbase exchange to everyone . In order to better sell, Armstrong would open a Coinbase account for each. Everyone issued a red envelope of 0.25 bitcoins. At the time, the bitcoin red envelope was worth only $20, and today the value has exceeded $2,000.

Encrypted castle residents Orest Byskosh and Aymard Dudok De Wit

“Why do you like to live here?” I asked De Wit.

“Location,” he said. “It’s very close to the airport, and there’s a Whole Foods supermarket next to it.” He said half-jokingly, and he gave the real answer: “ There are a group of like-minded people who have a meal after dinner. Common language, here is a place that makes me feel like at home , no place is better than here."

Another man sitting on a sofa with a baby face, he looked at the laptop with enthusiasm, I found that almost everyone here did not want to communicate with the media. Sitting next to De Wit in the picture is Orest Byskosh, a gentle blockchain entrepreneur who looks a bit like a surfer. He does surf often, but he says his level is "not very good."

When Byskosh was only eleven or two years old, he first heard of bitcoin, and since then he has started the road of bitcoin investment. “When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time on the cryptocurrency exchange,” he said. “In school, you have a lot of time that you don’t need to worry about, so sometimes I trade Bitcoin even in class.”

When Byskosh was 12, he urged his father to invest in Bitcoin, when Bitcoin was only $1 . His father finally followed his advice to invest, but the price of Bitcoin was already rising to $1,000.

At the height of ICO's boom, Byskosh invested in about 30 to 40 ICO projects. Most ICO projects are running,” he admits, and ICO projects like Golem have indeed brought him “a lot of rewards ”.

In general, Byskosh initially invested only a few hundred dollars, and now the return has reached 150 times. Currently, Byskosh is the research director at Ausum Ventures, a blockchain venture capital fund created by Jeremy Gardner, founder of Encrypted Castle.

The shocking thing is that Byskosh is only 20 years old .

Does everyone become very wealthy, but we don't ? This is a sensitive topic. Like other residents of the Encrypted Castle, Byskosh felt uncomfortable talking about money and encryption assets.

Encoding the "king" of the castle Gardner once said that at least six castle residents have become millionaires because of cryptocurrency investment , but in general, wealth does not change their lives, they still focus on work, Technology and projects, just like professional athletes always think that they "have only the game in front of their hearts."

In the encrypted castle, there is no display of encrypted assets, and there is no ostentatious display. Byskosh said: "The residents of the Encrypted Castle are likely to have a lot of money, but no one will show it."

Speaking of this, I thought of another tradition in the encryption castle – party culture. Those who used to be like the scenes in The Wall Street Wolf, are there still parties for the drunken fans?

Encrypt the party scene in the castle

So I asked De Wit about the party. He stood up from the couch and opened an LED lighting system. The lights began to spread along the top of each wall, gradually surrounding the room, and flashing. Near the evening, the lights looked extremely bleak. De Wit said, “The outside world thinks that we have not done a good job, and we have taken the time to party, but this is not the case .”

Encrypt the "king" of the castle

In 2015, Jeremy Gardner was working on the earliest decentralized applications in the Ethereum network. As the team grew, the workplace became a problem he had to face. He needs to find a cheap place for his team to take root.

“It’s also necessary to choose this house,” Gardner told me on the phone. “We couldn’t find an investor at the time, and the entire team needed thousands of dollars a month to live. We were building a great Project, but no one is optimistic about us, everyone says we will fail."

This project is the famous decentralized forecasting market Augur. Although the industry is controversial, it is undeniable that it later became one of the first high-profile ICO events, raising a total of $5 million.

In theory, Gardner has enough money to change to a more comfortable home, but he is not ready to leave this crowded encryption castle. “I started to realize what this castle means to me,” he believes. This castle means a blockchain community, meaning communication, which means that everyone is proud of the advanced technology work of the blockchain. sense.

In Gardner's room, an unpackaged suitcase

Gardner is now preparing to start a new castle in Miami: Miami Encrypted Castle . The Miami Encrypted Castle "has a more castle feel. It is a five-bedroom mansion on the water with a jet ski." He also acknowledges that there is something missing in the encrypted castle in San Francisco, "If you are a blockchain world Nerd, you might like it."

In fact, San Francisco is somewhat unattractive. The idea of ​​the city of Miami is to be a gathering place for DJs, celebrities, models and Instagram stars. People will want to come to Miami to encrypt the castle, because this is a very cool place, where I can attract those who are really influential.

Why choose Miami? The answer is simple: Venezuela. The more precise answer given by Gardner is: “ Latin America is the region most vulnerable to blockchain .” This is because Latin America has the infrastructure (network and electricity) and block for the blockchain. Chain demand (hyperinflation and weak and incompetent government). Gardner believes that Miami is the gateway to Latin America, and the Encrypted Castle will be his gateway to Miami celebrities.

For example, during the Art Basel, a model blogger recorded her experience at the Encrypted Castle Yacht Party, saying that the party “meeted all expectations of the Dream Yacht Party: Tobacco , food, wine, rhythm and dark-haired beauty! "In the photos posted on the blog, models wearing bikinis play on the yacht and flamingo swimming laps, just like the LUX Festival. ) The same lens that is not used in the ad.

Blockchain is a high-tech, why does Gardner have a soft spot for parties that are not related to technology? As he described, playing with parties like DJ and Instagram stars, or "cultivating relationships," is a two-pronged approach.

Blockchain technology can be propagated first (although it's usually marketing a particular blockchain project), and secondly, it can attract well-funded investors, because stars are usually very rich . Gardner said, “In the 20th century, people usually think that fame is enough.” But then the stars began to realize that “the money earned through performances and the money earned in the technology industry like Zuckerberg is not a magnitude. So, these rappers have started the road of investment.

Gardner points out that the rappers of Dre (the founder of Beats headphones) and P.Diddy are now "very rich, but not because of music, but through venture capital, angel investment and branding." The ambassador thus went to the freedom of wealth .

The stars are no longer satisfied with the reputation, they also hope to create wealth that can be passed down, so even in the winter of cryptocurrency, the stars are still interested in Bitcoin, a part of the "spirit of the times." That's why Gardner spent a lot of money on the party.

“I’ve never been a mad evangelical cryptocurrency,” Gardner said. “I’ve never been the kind of person who forces others to download bitcoin wallets and then send them some bitcoin to attract them to the blockchain world. I think This will not work."

Parties in encrypted castles are often arranged on a temporary basis. “I am very fond of improvisation,” Gardner explains, because it will make you minimize your psychological expectations, so each show is full of surprises for you, and he also likes to have a barbecue and play at the party. late at night. "Because some superstars don't like to participate in large, organized parties.

Encrypted disc player with bitcoin logo in the castle

"In San Francisco, he has invited a coach from the Major League Football League to encrypt the castle's closed-door barbecue, and the coach has "powered" 49 rugby players who are very eager to learn about the blockchain. .

Speaking of jealousy in interpersonal relationships, Gardner shared his secret: "Don't be the fanatical fan. Treat everyone in the same way, whether that person is a tramp or President Trump."

He paused and thought for a while and said, "If I meet President Trump, I might provoke him (to get his attention)."

Encrypt the daily life of the castle

What is the daily life in the encrypted castle in San Francisco? Byskosh will get up at 7 in the morning, come to the gym to wake up his body with exercise, and then drink a large glass of protein powder.

As the research director of the blockchain venture capital fund, Byskosh often calls the blockchain startup company in the whole morning. At noon, Byskosh will conduct some research after completing the telephone exchange, and then carry out more research. the study.

"At night, I will read some of the more cumbersome materials, such as thick white papers," he said. Then, Byskosh will relax by playing Apex Heroes or Call of Duty, and he will read some more materials before going to bed.

When I was chatting with Byskosh and Gardner, Hans Pizzinini, another resident of the Encrypted Castle, came to the living room. Hans Pizzinini, 28, from northern Italy, is an entrepreneur who came to the United States to work on a hardware project that has nothing to do with the blockchain. It is precisely a sensor on the shoe that allows the user to walk. "Harvesting energy", I can't remember the specific implementation details. Last year he met Gardner and moved into the Encrypted Castle.

“I was surrounded by people who had closed the blockchain and cryptocurrencies all day,” he said, and it’s no surprise that Pizzalini fell in love with the blockchain. To this end, Pizzinini also participated in the Ethereum smart contract programming language Solidity course, and began to participate in the hackathon of the Bitcoin cash organization, after accumulating some experience, now Pizzinini launched its own blockchain project, the project aims to Use a machine learning approach to help lawyers review documents .

“What makes you optimistic about the blockchain?”

Encrypt the castle

I obviously feel that this issue has aroused their interest. Residents of the Encrypted Castle have little interest in discussing parties and assets, but when we turn the topic to topics such as fragmentation, Layer 2 solutions, decentralized computing, and decentralized carbon credits, the atmosphere is clearly active. stand up.

Not every resident of the Encrypted Castle is engaged in blockchain-related work. The 25-year-old Liz Toki sister is an interior designer for a real estate company. “This house is full of male hormones,” she said with a smile. “I grew up with five brothers, so I am used to it.” Toki is responsible for all housework and a four-person bunk bed in the Encrypted Castle. Rental of the room. The rent for each bed is $50 per night, $250 per week, and $800 per month .

De Witt believes that the biggest change in the cryptocurrency winter is that there are fewer requests for investment advice that are often snowflake. He said, "At the peak of the cryptocurrency boom, my friends often texted me asking 'How do I buy bitcoin?', and now they send me text messages: 'Is Bitcoin dead?' ”

Fragment of Jeremy Gardner in the Trailer for the Global Economy

Adam McKay, the Oscar-nominated director, has produced a documentary, The Global Economic Giant. The first scene in its first trailer is a conversation between two people. One is the show host Kal Penn and the other is Jeremy Gardner, who sits in the encrypted castle in San Francisco.

In the trailer, Gardner sucks the hookah with a long tube and asks Penn, "Do you smoke a hookah?"

"Oh, no, I don't smoke," Penn responded.

When I called Gardner for the second time, he smiled like the first time I saw this video clip. "I am worried that this film does not beautify my image, but how to read the film in order to know." He said.

Gardner has always been labeled as a "bitcoin party boy", but he insists that he really cares about technology, usage scenarios and potential social influence.

He also deliberately turned the topic to cryptocurrency to help eliminate corruption, digitize land ownership, and provide a reliable and convenient way to transfer assets to immigrants. “President Trump has been paying attention to the problem of illegal immigration caravans,” he said quickly. “Trump is not wrong, because there are too many illegal immigrants, and there are millions of people. These fleeing from Venezuela. The illegal immigrants are only carrying some food. If you can provide them with a convenient way to transfer wealth, this will be a big business opportunity."

Gardner said that he did not seek media attention, and he also specifically reminded me that he has not had a press conference in the past year. The reason is that Gardner's goal is to "hold the spirit of the 21st century while maintaining his integrity and honesty." He is honest about the cynicism of the outside world. “When our society develops into a new God who has millions of fans on Instagram, will I be satisfied with this? No, I won’t, but this is the reality of the moment.”

Encrypt the castle

Gardner learned that another reality in the world is unnecessary propaganda. He was very disappointed with the previous news reports. "Encrypted castles were deliberately distorted in news reports," he said. "The reality is that the media only caters to the public. In order to get the click-through rate, in some ways, unless the reporter deliberately misrepresents the facts, I can't blame them.

"He sees "everyone is very rich, but you don't have" this article as the lowest point of his career. Gardner said that the reporter stayed in the encrypted castle for a few hours, the main content of their conversation is encryption The philosophy behind the money. " In the course of the conversation, we didn't talk about my wealth at all, and we didn't talk about making money at all, " he said, but the report after a few months was chilling. "This article calls me A cocky party boy.

I sympathize with Gardner and the New York Times reporter. As far as content is concerned, this article is not a soft text of Gardner or Encrypted Castle. Gardner's blockchain philosophy is dry, but has nothing to do with this theme. At this point I can understand Gardner, I think everyone will show a different look at work and life.

It seems that Gardner seems to have embraced the party boy and tech nerd, and even embraced this person: he wrote in his personal introduction to Instagram: @GonzoGardner, "Located in blockchain technology, social impact and A bohemian intersection.

"The media attack on Elon Musk also made him feel relieved. "I think Elon Musk is the greatest entrepreneur," Gardner told me. " I understand now, if someone has done any innovation, it is controversial. Radical things, or making any extreme or unusual expressions, the media will report in a critical way . I can now get out of the shadow of the media.

When our phone hangs up, Gardner said, "This encrypted castle represents the best performance of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Here people get together and work hard to build great and meaningful projects and products. Instead of focusing on the value added of wealth."

But all this is experimental, just like the blockchain itself is an experiment. "Frankly, if I tell you that there are some grand visions, then I must be lying to you."

After laughing a little, he said, "But I don't."

Source | breakermag

Compilation | Guoxi

Produced | Blockchain Base Camp (blockchain_camp)