By Robert Hackett
December 2, 2017

The cryptocurrency investors’ summit I attended Tuesday could not have been better timed.

While the nouveau riche mingled and traded tips, the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed—no, spacerocketed—above $10,000 for the first time ever. The takeoff was a historic moment for an asset class that has been alternately described as a “fraud,” a “scam,” and a “bubble” by notable financiers in recent weeks. Just five years ago the digital money traded as low as $13.

As Bitcoin achieved liftoff, I was in the middle of interviewing Charles Hoskinson, an Ethereum cofounder who left the project early on, after disputes with the rest of the leadership team came to a head. Several investors interrupted our meeting at the Marriott Marquis in midtown Manhattan to inform Hoskinson that the market value of his latest cryptocurrency endeavors, Cardano and Ethereum Classic, had risen substantially. “You just made me a lot of money!” one of them said, enthusiastically patting the mathematician-turned-entrepreneur on the back.

At first Hoskinson appeared elated. But quickly, his smile gave way to circumspection. “We still have so much to do,” Hoskinson confided. “What goes up this fast can come down just as fast.”

Undiminished, the investor extended invitations to a late night “Bitcoin 10K” celebration on the rooftop of Public, a chic hotel in the Lower East Side. A few hours later, over thumping electronic beats at the venue, I polled party-goers on how they felt about the price explosion. Their answers: Mostly very, very good.

One guest told me his plan for a tokenized meme-sharing social network whose business model made as much sense to me as the sudden market spike. Another guest, a tax manager at State Street, one of the world’s biggest financial firms, looked at me wild-eyed and incredulous when I asked for his opinion. “This is a blip!” he said, a cocktail from the open bar sloshing in his hand. “This is nothing compared to where it’s headed!”

If you’re wondering where I stand on all this, I am enthusiastic—but highly cautious—about the prospect of cryptocurrencies, if not their present, speculative valuations. You can watch this clip of me weighing in about the boom on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Or you can view this Fortune video in which I take up the bull argument in a debate with a colleague. My angle: If Bitcoin really should be considered as “digital gold,” as its proponents contend, then its price could soar much higher, nearing the value of the world’s gold supply.

Then again, the mania has all the hallmarks of a bubble. And as Hoskinson and Adam Lashinsky, your regular Data Sheet host, have pointed out: Bubbles burst.

Try not to beat yourself up about possibly missing out on the frenzy, and enjoy the weekend.

Robert Hackett


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


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