In the brightly lit kitchen of the Crypto Castle, a three-story home in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, young tech workers drink from Solo cups and wax poetic about Bitcoin.
“I don’t think you can be in this house for two hours without being evangelized,” says Jeremy Gardner, a resident and seasoned entrepreneur working on Bitcoin technologies.
His roommate, Viviane Ford, perks up. With eyes wide, she says she bought bitcoins within a week of moving in and calls it “the best investment I’ve ever made.”
Bitcoin is a new kind of payment system in which people use digital currency, also called bitcoin, to buy things and send money. There are no banks. Transactions get recorded on a digital ledger called a blockchain, which allows users to stay anonymous.
Some folk buy bitcoins in the hopes that they’ll go up in value. On January 2, Bitcoin reached a three-year high after its value passed $1,000, up about 140% from the beginning of 2016. Still, the currency has yet to catch on widely. The software is complicated, the risk of being hacked is great, and it’s not popular enough to be practical.
But as I learned on a recent visit to the Crypto Castle, where roughly a dozen cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have called home since the Castle’s founding in 2015, it’s hard not to get excited about Bitcoin when you’re among its biggest fans.
Here’s what it’s like to eat, sleep, drink, and work at the Crypto Castle.
2016 was a pretty great year for the tenants of the Crypto Castle. As the value of Bitcoin rose, they got richer, Gardner explains as he swirls a glass of liquor with his finger.
Not everyone who lives here works in the Bitcoin space, though any one could pitch you on its merits. Some entrepreneurs moved in simply because they needed a place to crash.
Ford, head of operations at self-driving car technology startup Comma, says she “lived in a legitimate closet for two weeks” before discovering the Crypto Castle.