Miami Beach, Fla. – Jordan Belfort was relaxing by the pool on a sunny April morning, sipping a red bull and sharing a cautious story. Securities fraud and money laundering are not common about his imprisonment on 10 counts: this time, he was the victim. Last fall, he explained to a group of merchants gathered at his lavish home that a hacker had stolen $ 300,000 of digital tokens from his cryptocurrency wallet.
He received bad news over dinner on Friday, he said, while telling an adventure-capitalist friend about the time his yacht sank during a drug-fueled ramp in the mid-90s. After breaking into Mr. In Belfort’s account, the hacker transferred Ohm, a popular cryptocurrency token, to a separate wallet – a publicly visible transaction. Belfort could do nothing to turn it around. “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 memoir about his disappointing career in the high financial sector in the 1990s, which director Martin Scorsese cast as Leonardo DiCaprio as a hard-party protagonist in 2013. These days, in real life Mr. Belfort is a consultant and sales coach who charges thousands of dollars for private sessions.
This month, at his home in Miami Beach, he hosted nine blockchain enthusiasts and entrepreneurs for a weekend-long crypto workshop – an opportunity to hang out with Wolf and enjoy a “close financial experience” with his crypto-industry friends.
Long lines of celebrities have sought to profit from the cryptocurrency boom, appearing in widely mocked crypto commercials or whipping up unique digital collections, nonfungible tokens, known as NFTs. Mr. Belfort said he has refused to participate in the worst case scenario. He turned down an offer to launch a line of Wolf-themed NFTs, saying, “I could easily make 10 million.”
It has also recently transformed away from crypto skepticism. Not long ago, he shot a YouTube video about the dangers of Bitcoin, which he called “freakin ‘madness” and “mass delusion.” Over the years, he said, he gradually changed his mind, as he learned more about cryptocurrency and prices skyrocketed.
Now, Mr. Belfort is an investor in a handful of start-ups, including a new NFT platform and animal-themed crypto project, which he said is “trying to take over the dog-and-pet ecosystem and put it on the blockchain.”
Whatever its crypto bona feeds, Mr. Belfort is undoubtedly worthy of discussion on the subject of financial fraud, a major problem in the digital-asset industry. In the 1990s, the firm he founded, Stratton Oakmont, operated a state-of-the-art stock manipulation scheme. At the height of their wealth, he and his business partners consumed large quantities of cocaine and quills and regularly employed prostitutes. Mr. Belfort eventually served 22 months in prison.
Looking at that history, he was an older, more greasy Mr. Belfort declares that it is “eager for greater regulation” in the crypto industry. “I’m not interested in separating people from their money,” he said. “It’s the opposite of how I behave right now.”
However, the crypto workshop at their home was not free: guests paid a bitcoin or cash equivalent for a seat, which is about $ 40,000.
The workshop began at 9 a.m. Saturday. Guests selected from a pool of over 600 applicants – Mr. Belfort’s backyard, eating order-to-order omelette and trading tips about bitcoin mining and tokenomics. A crypto miner from Kazakhstan relaxes in the sun with an ambitious blockchain influencer running a roofing company in Idaho. A Florida businessman explained his plans to use NFTs in start-ups as pitching for music as Tinder. Some guests said they paid for the workshop because they are big fans of Wolf; Others just wanted to network with fellow entrepreneurs.
By 9:15 a.m., the mimosa was flowing, but Mr. Belfort was nowhere to be seen. Roofing executive Doug Bartlett said, “The US dollar is going to be bullshit.” A few minutes passed. Still no wolf. “Is the wolf still sleeping?” One guest was loudly surprised.
Finally, Mr. Belfort walked out of the house wearing skinny jeans and dark sunglasses. Mr. Belfort has short dark hair; He’s more wrinkled than he was in the 90’s, but his face is still forever set in a childish smile. He stopped on the stairs below the porch to survey the scene: nine men dressed in various shades of business casual – polo shirts, flip-flops, buttonless shirts. “I believe we still need to work on the femininity of cryptocurrency,” he said. “We have to get some girls here next year.” He took a break. “Women.”
Someone called Mr. Belfort a can of red bull. (It was about 9:30 p.m.) “I’ll need sugar,” he said. After a few chats, he led the group into the dining room, where every space on the table was set up with a notebook and a copy of “Way of the Wolf”, a sales manual Mr. Published in Belfort 2017.
Mr. Belfort has spent the last two decades rebuilding its reputation, but the signs of the old Wolf were everywhere. Behind his place at the head of the table, a fully filled wine shelf occupied most of the wall. (He said he hasn’t grown taller in 25 years, but he did drink occasionally.) Next to the shelf hung a poster that looked like an entry on a periodic table – Qu for Qualude – lists various “drug facts”. The best sex ever. “
After a round of introductions, Mr. Belfort began the discourse on the subtleties of cryptocurrency, from the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum to the emergence of decentralized autonomous entities. 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 their collaboration with Leo and Marty.
“Leo never did drugs,” he said. “I had to educate him on that.”
To the gathering of crypto propagandists, it was amazing how much time each one spent in overcoming their biggest loss. About half the group said they had been hacked. One guest said that when the cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox collapsed in 2014. The other two said they had burned large quantities of tokens in the risky trade.
Guide to Cryptocurrency
With the arrival of the Chase Hero the energy in the room increased, with one of the series of guest speakers, Mr. Belfort recruited over the weekend. A crypto investor and gaming enthusiast, Mr. Hero announced that Stablecoins – a cryptocurrency valued in US dollars – is “the biggest innovation after sliced bread.”
“It sounds enthusiastic and insane and is almost the frontier of the Ponzi scheme,” Mr. The hero told about his favorite Stablecoin project. “Which makes it a perfect asset for cryptocurrency because these kids love it.”
A Mr. The guests from Belfort, Sven-Eric Nielsen, a Norwegian entrepreneur, began to describe the ambitions of their own business entrepreneurs. What Mr. Does the hero have any tips? The key to starting a new venture, he replied, is aggressive marketing. “Imagine going to a beach in Brazil and trying to find a warm baby. There are eight million, “said Mr. Hero.” The idea is the same here. You have to do stupid, dumb marketing to get it out. “
A few hours later, the group postponed dinner at Carbon, a high-end Italian restaurant in Miami Beach where Mr. Belfort eats twice a week. While they dined at Caviar and Rigatoni, some guests shared stories of their own adultery; Mr. Belfort, it turned out, was not the only wolf in the room. The two guests discussed the mechanics of following young women without risking getting into a “sugar baby” situation. Someone speculated on how the owner of an adventurous strip club could get NFTs involved in the business.
The conversation soon turned into a club in Japan where women are asked to quart with octopuses. Mr. Belfort wanted to know more: Were Japanese women beautiful? Later, he showed the group an iPhone video he took to the S- and-M-themed bars, where the waitress hits customers.
Artem Bespaloff, chief executive of the crypto mining company Essic Jungle, leaned over the table to describe his personal transformation into Wolf’s Way. He was planning to go to medical school, he said, when he found a copy of “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the library.
“I said, ‘This is what I want to do,'” said Mr. Baspaloff recalled. “I ended up stealing a book from the library.”
“So I had a good performance,” Mr. Belfort said with a laugh. However, he said he regrets his behavior in those days – it was wrong, and he could have become richer if he had not broken the law. “I missed the internet boom,” he said. “I would have made 100 times more money.”
“Good,” said Mr. Bespaloff replied, “You’re in crypto now.”
“You live and learn,” said Mr. Belfort said.