came to the top, and then the market crashed. And now ?

But this redemption is rejected by the tax director. “We needed a sponsor who was going to be reliable for twenty years and who wasn’t just looking for a big advertising stunt the first year.” I remind him that is not even six years old and was called something else during the first two years. “It’s true that they are gifted … It’s the most compelling conversation we’ve had,” he simply replies.

How did Marszalek convince Matt Damon and Todd Goldstein? One thing is for sure: he did not have to bet on his charisma. During our conversations, he speaks in a strangely calm voice, and sometimes when I ask him a question, he stares at the floor for an eternity. At one point he stares at the ground for so long that I think his Zoom has crashed. (“I apologize,” his spokesman, Matt David, later told me. “Usually, I always make sure to tell people about these breaks.”) But when Kris Marszalek finally responds, it’s always fair and diplomatic, as if he was just is polished his answer in his mind.

“We were the most tenacious, but also the most inventive,” he says of the epic series of marketing deals he got. “But the ability to listen also played a big role.” He then reveals to me that he likes to put himself in the place of his interlocutor and understand the least of his mental resistance points, in order to approach them one after the other. “You should always listen very carefully to your interlocutor. You must be able to put yourself in his place.
“Empathy,” I say to him. Is that what you’re talking about?
– Yes. Empathy. That’s very, very important. “

Looking for another point of view, I am writing to Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. In 1999, he made his fortune by selling to Yahoo. It was life’s deal, but he sees no parallel to crypto. “Most apps like are very profitable,” he assures me via email. He explains to me that stadium owners accept below market prices for sponsorships “because they feel these clubs can grow significantly, implying future opportunities.” The possibility of a crash is always present, and Mark Cuban knows it better than anyone, but right now he sees only a booming market.

I have to admit that before the crash, my altcoin wallet had risen a bit in value. I got quite a bit of interest, got a few setbacks in Cronos and got a free month’s Spotify subscription. But I did not really understand why people wanted to own cryptocurrency, or why it was so expensive or complicated, but I liked being a part of the club. In that sense, Matt Damon was right.

To fit in more, I’m going to a “CryptoMondays” meeting in Venice Beach. We are in the light of a courtyard, in the parking lot of a 4-star Mexican restaurant, which has been transformed into an outdoor bar during the pandemic. A few years ago I attended an evening of this kind, then populated by unfriendly nerds. Since then, the crypto world has visibly transformed: tonight, the participants are fun, smart, beautiful and cool.

None of my interlocutors know who is organizing the event – one participant tells me it is spontaneous or “decentralized”. Some have been living on the earnings of their Bitcoin wallets for years; others, like me, have just begun. I’m chatting with a young candidate and former javelin thrower. When I ask him about, he laughs me in the face. “Nobody uses it.” Equally dismissive is Jackie Peters, a hip young entrepreneur working on a blockchain-based dating app. She’s still deciding which blockchain her app should use, but it’s not going to be Cronos. “Technically, there is nothing that appeals to me about them.”

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