When 600 cryptocurrency enthusiasts set sail from Singapore on Monday night for their second annual Blockchain Cruise, the price of bitcoin was hovering comfortably above $13,500. By the time their 1,020-foot-long ship pulled into Thailand on Wednesday, for an afternoon of bottomless drinks and crypto-focused talks on a sun-soaked private beach, bitcoin had cratered to $10,000.

The group of mostly young men, many of whom became wildly rich — at least on paper — as bitcoin and other digital tokens skyrocketed last year, had in all likelihood just lost millions of dollars. But if anyone was fazed, they didn’t show it.

The party rolled on as the sangria and Red Bull flowed, bitcoin-themed rap music blared and drones filmed it all from above. “Nothing goes up in a straight line,” explained Ronnie Moas, the founder of Miami Beach-based Standpoint Research, who was one of the event’s speakers Wednesday.

In a best-case scenario, he said, bitcoin could jump to $300,000 in as little as seven years. For skeptics of the crypto craze, it’s hard not to see all this as another sign of runaway exuberance — a repeat of the boosterish Las Vegas securitization conference, immortalized in the film “The Big Short,” that preceded the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2007.

But the steadfast optimism on display at this week’s Blockchain Cruise also carries a warning for anyone betting on a cryptocurrency crash: It’s going to take more than a 50% drop in bitcoin from its Dec. 18 all-time high to drive out the die-hards. Read more from latimes.com…

thumbnail courtesy of latimes.com