Tech Over half a dozen residents of this San Francisco 'castle' have become bitcoin millionaires — take a look inside

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Young bitcoin millionaires are living together in a San Francisco house known as the Crypto Castle.

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(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)

The Crypto Castle is a three-story home in San Francisco where young tech workers eat, sleep, party, and plot the future of money.

A majority of the millennial tenants invest in bitcoin, a new kind of payment system that allows people to buy things and send money with anonymity. There are no banks or middlemen. Transactions are recorded on a digital ledger called a blockchain.

Cryptocurrencies (of which bitcoin is the most popular) have been on a tear. Bitcoin surged in value from about $200 per coin in 2015 to a record high of $16,623 per coin on December 7.

Some believe the digital payment system is headed for a bubble that's destined to pop.

"Over a half-dozen people in the time they've lived in my house have become millionaires as a result of crypto," said Jeremy Gardner, a 25-year-old entrepreneur and investor.

In 2015, Gardner, then-director of operations at Augur, a market forecasting tool that runs on the blockchain, put down a $20,000 deposit to rent the house. It's since become a landing pad for people working in the cryptocurrency space. Here's what it's like to live in the Crypto Castle.

The Crypto Castle is, by appearances, a fraternity-like space for young bitcoin investors.

The Crypto Castle is, by appearances, a fraternity-like space for young bitcoin investors. play

The Crypto Castle is, by appearances, a fraternity-like space for young bitcoin investors.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Not everyone who lives here works in bitcoin tech, though any resident could pitch you on its merits. Some entrepreneurs moved in simply because they needed a place to crash.

Not everyone who lives here works in bitcoin tech, though any resident could pitch you on its merits. Some entrepreneurs moved in simply because they needed a place to crash. play

Not everyone who lives here works in bitcoin tech, though any resident could pitch you on its merits. Some entrepreneurs moved in simply because they needed a place to crash.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


In 2015, Gardner surveyed the city to find a house-slash-office for his startup, Augur. When he found a three-story home in an upscale neighborhood — located about a half-hour drive from Silicon Valley — he forked over the $20,000 rental deposit. The Crypto Castle was born.

Jeremy Gardner. play

Jeremy Gardner.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


The house has since become a "landing pad for anyone doing cool stuff for the industry," Gardner said. Most residents and guests, who sleep in bunks, are in their early 20s.

The house has since become a "landing pad for anyone doing cool stuff for the industry," Gardner said. Most residents and guests, who sleep in bunks, are in their early 20s. play

The house has since become a "landing pad for anyone doing cool stuff for the industry," Gardner said. Most residents and guests, who sleep in bunks, are in their early 20s.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


"I don't think you can be in this house for two hours without being evangelized," Gardner said. His net worth has exploded since buying bitcoin at $200 a token in 2013.

"I don't think you can be in this house for two hours without being evangelized," Gardner said. His net worth has exploded since buying bitcoin at $200 a token in 2013. play

"I don't think you can be in this house for two hours without being evangelized," Gardner said. His net worth has exploded since buying bitcoin at $200 a token in 2013.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Vivian Ford, vice president of operations at Comma, a self-driving-car technology startup, started investing in bitcoin within a week of moving in, calling it "the best investment I've ever made."

Viviane Ford. play

Viviane Ford.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)

Now, her friends are coming out of the woodwork to ask for her financial guidance.

"They'll text me like, 'I think we should meet up — you seem to know a lot about this crypto stuff,' and it's like, ugh, do your reading," Ford told me on a recent visit to the house.



Another roommate, Alex Voto, runs a research lab at Palo Alto's Institute for the Future. He forecasts how bitcoin might affect the social, economic, and political spheres.

Another roommate, Alex Voto, runs a research lab at Palo Alto's Institute for the Future. He forecasts how bitcoin might affect the social, economic, and political spheres. play

Another roommate, Alex Voto, runs a research lab at Palo Alto's Institute for the Future. He forecasts how bitcoin might affect the social, economic, and political spheres.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


As you move through the house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary residence.

As you move through the house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary residence. play

As you move through the house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary residence.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Anyone who wishes to become a full-time resident must read the current issue of "Distributed," a cryptocurrency trade magazine. A stack sits at the front door.

Anyone who wishes to become a full-time resident must read the current issue of "Distributed," a cryptocurrency trade magazine. A stack sits at the front door. play

Anyone who wishes to become a full-time resident must read the current issue of "Distributed," a cryptocurrency trade magazine. A stack sits at the front door.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


The fridge wears cryptocurrency-related startup stickers like badges of honor.

The fridge wears cryptocurrency-related startup stickers like badges of honor. play

The fridge wears cryptocurrency-related startup stickers like badges of honor.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


The kitchen comes stocked with two beverages: Soylent (a chalky-tasting meal-replacement beverage backed by venture capital) and booze. Lots of booze.

The kitchen comes stocked with two beverages: Soylent (a chalky-tasting meal-replacement beverage backed by venture capital) and booze. Lots of booze. play

The kitchen comes stocked with two beverages: Soylent (a chalky-tasting meal-replacement beverage backed by venture capital) and booze. Lots of booze.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


A few tenants said living among so many motivated tech workers can be exhausting. Ford recalled coming back from a run one Saturday and being bombarded by her coworkers.

A few tenants said living among so many motivated tech workers can be exhausting. Ford recalled coming back from a run one Saturday and being bombarded by her coworkers. play

A few tenants said living among so many motivated tech workers can be exhausting. Ford recalled coming back from a run one Saturday and being bombarded by her coworkers.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Until 2016, her employer, Comma, ran operations out of the basement. Founder George Hotz, a Silicon Valley wunderkind, built his first self-driving car in the garage.

Until 2016, her employer, Comma, ran operations out of the basement. Founder George Hotz, a Silicon Valley wunderkind, built his first self-driving car in the garage. play

Until 2016, her employer, Comma, ran operations out of the basement. Founder George Hotz, a Silicon Valley wunderkind, built his first self-driving car in the garage.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)



Hotz also lived in this closet. "The work-life balance just didn't exist," Ford said.

Hotz also lived in this closet. "The work-life balance just didn't exist," Ford said. play

Hotz also lived in this closet. "The work-life balance just didn't exist," Ford said.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Aaron Power-Bearden, an equities trader and a bitcoin enthusiast, said he enjoys the late-night talks with his housemates in the living room. "Mostly it's about finance," he said.

Aaron Power-Bearden, an equities trader and a bitcoin enthusiast, said he enjoys the late-night talks with his housemates in the living room. "Mostly it's about finance," he said. play

Aaron Power-Bearden, an equities trader and a bitcoin enthusiast, said he enjoys the late-night talks with his housemates in the living room. "Mostly it's about finance," he said.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


One house guest told me that the last time he was at the house, a random inhabitant grilled him a hot dog. "Two weeks later, I found out it was the cofounder of Oculus," he said.

One house guest told me that the last time he was at the house, a random inhabitant grilled him a hot dog. "Two weeks later, I found out it was the cofounder of Oculus," he said. play

One house guest told me that the last time he was at the house, a random inhabitant grilled him a hot dog. "Two weeks later, I found out it was the cofounder of Oculus," he said.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


In the Crypto Castle, no one needs to travel far to find smart, like-minded people.

In the Crypto Castle, no one needs to travel far to find smart, like-minded people. play

In the Crypto Castle, no one needs to travel far to find smart, like-minded people.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


The Crypto Castle offers prices that can't be beat in the nation's most expensive rental market. Tenants split the monthly rent. Gardner guesses the home is worth $3 million.

The Crypto Castle offers prices that can't be beat in the nation's most expensive rental market. Tenants split the monthly rent. Gardner guesses the home is worth $3 million. play

The Crypto Castle offers prices that can't be beat in the nation's most expensive rental market. Tenants split the monthly rent. Gardner guesses the home is worth $3 million.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)


Over the last few years, Gardner has turned the majority of his savings and stock in public companies into cryptocurrency investments. His gains subsidize his cost of living.

Over the last few years, Gardner has turned the majority of his savings and stock in public companies into cryptocurrency investments. His gains subsidize his cost of living. play

Over the last few years, Gardner has turned the majority of his savings and stock in public companies into cryptocurrency investments. His gains subsidize his cost of living.

(Melia Robinson/Business Insider)

"By dedicating my life to crypto assets and blockchain technology, I've made more money than I would have ever expected to make in my entire life — by a long shot," Gardner said.



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