Jordan Belfort, Still the Wolf, likes Crypto Now

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Jordan Belfort was resting by the pool on a sunny April morning, sipping Red Bull and sharing a warning story. It is not uncommon for him to be jailed for 10 counts of securities fraud and money laundering: this time, he had been the victim. Last fall, he told a group of businessmen gathered at his palatine home that a hacker had stolen $ 300,000 from digital tokens from his cryptocurrency wallet.

He said he had received the bad news at a Friday dinner, he said, while telling a venture capitalist friend how he sank his yacht during a drug-fueled chocolate in the mid-1990s. enter the account of Mr. Belfort, the hacker, transferred large amounts of Ohm, a popular cryptocurrency token, to a separate wallet: a publicly visible transaction, Mr. Belfort could not do anything to reverse it. “You can see where the money is,” he said. “It’s the most frustrating thing.”

Mr. Belfort, 59, is best known for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a revealing memoir of his crazy nineties career in finance, which director Martin Scorsese adapted into a 2013 film starring Leonardo. DiCaprio as the hard match. main character. These days, Mr. Belfort is a real-life sales consultant and coach, earning tens of thousands of dollars for private sessions.

This month, at her home in Miami Beach, she hosted nine blogger chain enthusiasts and entrepreneurs for a weekend cryptography workshop, an opportunity to hang out with the Wolf and enjoy an “experience intimate financial “with his friends in the cryptographic industry.

A long line of celebrities have tried to take advantage of the cryptocurrency boom, appearing in widely mocked cryptocurrency ads or blatantly inedible tokens, the only digital collectibles known as NFTs. Mr. Belfort said he has refused to participate in the worst of the shilling. He declined bids to launch a Wolf-themed NFT line, he said, although “he could easily win $ 10 million.”

He is also a recent convert away from cryptocurrency skepticism. Not long ago, he recorded a YouTube video about the dangers of Bitcoin, calling it “crazy” and “massive deception.” Over the years, he said, he changed his mind as he learned more about cryptocurrencies and prices skyrocketed.

Now, Mr. Belfort is an investor in a handful of emerging companies, including a new NFT platform and an animal-themed cryptographic project that, he said, “tries to take the dog and pet ecosystem and put it on the blockchain.” . ”

Whatever your good faith crypto, Mr. Belfort is unquestionably qualified to discuss the issue of financial fraud, a major issue in the digital asset industry. In the 1990s, the company he founded, Stratton Oakmont, operated a sophisticated stock handling scheme. At the height of his wealth, he and his business partners were consuming huge amounts of cocaine and quaaludes and regularly using prostitutes. Finally, Mr. Belfort served 22 months in prison.

Given this story, it may seem a little surreal to hear an older, grayer Mr. Belfort proclaim that he is “massively waiting for regulation” in the cryptographic industry. “I’m not interested in separating people from their money,” he said. “This is the opposite of how I act right now.”

However, the home cryptography workshop was not free: guests paid a Bitcoin for a seat, or the cash equivalent, which is about $ 40,000.

The workshop began Saturday at 9 p.m. Guests, chosen from a group of more than 600 applicants, milled Mr. Belfort’s backyard, eating custom-made omelettes and exchanging tips on Bitcoin mining and tokenomics. A Kazakhstan crypto miner relaxed in the sun with an aspiring blockchain influencer who runs a roofing company in Idaho. A Florida businessman explained his plan to use NFT in a start-up he presents as Tinder for music. Some of the guests said they paid for the workshop because they are Wolf fans; others simply wanted to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

At 9:15 the mimosas were flowing, but Mr. Belfort was nowhere to be seen. “The U.S. dollar is going to shit,” said roof executive Doug Bartlett. A few minutes passed. There is no wolf yet. “Is the wolf still asleep?” asked one guest aloud.

Mr. Belfort finally left the house, wearing faded jeans and dark sunglasses. Mr. Belfort has short, dark hair; he is more wrinkled than in the 90s, but his face is still shown in a perpetually childish smile. He stopped at the stairs leading down from the porch to examine the scene: nine men dressed in different casual office tones: polo shirts, flip-flops, shirtless buttons. “I guess we still have work to do on the female adoption of cryptocurrency,” she said. “We need to bring some girls here next year.” He paused. “Women.”

Someone handed Mr. Belfort a can of Red Bull. (It was about 9:30 a.m.) “I’ll need the sugar,” he said. After a few minutes of talking, he took the group to the dining room, where each place on the table was arranged with a notebook and a copy of the “Wolf’s Way,” a sales manual that Mr. Belfort published in 2017.

Mr. Belfort has spent the last two decades trying to rebuild his reputation, but there were signs of the old wolf everywhere. Behind its place at the head of the table, a well-stocked liquor shelf occupied most of the wall. (He hasn’t been on drugs in 25 years, he said, but sometimes he drinks. drugs “, including” the best sex ever “.

After a round of presentations, Mr. Belfort began a lecture on the details of cryptocurrencies, from the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum to the rise of decentralized autonomous organizations. He shared his wisdom on crypto-based “smart contract” systems (some of them are really smart; some of them are “stupid”) and told old stories about his collaboration with Leo and Marty.

“Leo had never used drugs,” he said. “I had to educate him on that.”

For a meeting of cryptographic evangelists, it was amazing how much time everyone spent reliving their greatest losses. Nearly half of the group said they had been hacked. One guest said he had lost money when the Mt. Gox sank in 2014. Two others said they had burned large numbers of tokens in risky operations.

The energy in the room increased with the arrival of Chase Hero, one of a number of guest speakers that Mr. Belfort had recruited for the weekend. A cryptocurrency investor and gaming enthusiast, Mr. Hero said stable currencies (cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged to the U.S. dollar) are “the biggest innovation since sliced ​​bread.”

“He looks lively and crazy and almost on the verge of a Ponzi scheme,” Mr. Hero about your favorite stable coin project. “Which makes it the perfect asset for cryptocurrency because that’s what these kids love.”

One of the guests of Mr. Belfort, Svein-Erik Nilsen, a Norwegian businessman, began to describe his own business ambitions. Mr. Did Hero have any advice? The key to starting a new business, he replied, is aggressive marketing. “Imagine going to a Brazilian beach and trying to find a single hot girl. There are eight million of them,” said Mr. Hero. “Here the idea is the same. You have to do some stupid and stupid marketing to get it out. “

A few hours later, the group stopped for dinner at Carbone, a high-end Italian restaurant in Miami Beach where Mr. Belfort eats as often as twice a week. While they were eating caviar and rigatoni, some of the guests shared stories of their own debauchery; Mr. Belfort, it turned out, was not the only wolf in the room. Two guests discussed the mechanics of chasing younger women without risking getting entangled in a “sugar baby” situation. Someone speculated about how an entrepreneurial owner of a strip club might incorporate NFT into the business.

Soon, the conversation turned to a club in Japan where women are said to jump with pops. Mr. Belfort wanted to know more: Were the women of Japan beautiful? She later showed the group an iPhone video she made at an S&M-themed bar, where the waitresses whip the customers.

Artem Bespaloff, CEO of cryptocurrency miner Asic Jungle, leaned over the table to describe his personal conversion to the Wolf Road. He had planned to go to medical school, he said, when he found a copy of “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the library.

“I said,‘ That’s what I want to do, ’” Mr. Bespaloff. “I ended up stealing the book from the library.”

“So I had a good influence,” Mr. Belfort said with a laugh. Still, he said, he regrets his behavior in those days: it was wrong and he could have gotten even richer if he hadn’t broken the law. “I missed the internet boom,” he said. “I would have made 100 times more money.”

“Well,” replied Mr. Bespaloff, “now you are in crypto.”

“You live and learn,” Mr. Belfort said.

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