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How the “Wolf of Wall Street” became a cryptocurrency enthusiast

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Wolf of Wall Street “Within a few minutes, no fewer than twenty FBI agents were at my house – in full gear, with guns, bulletproof vests, extra ammunition and so on,” recalls Jordan Belfort in his biography. Then he is taken away in handcuffs. A sense of relief sets in: no more chaos, no more lies, no more drugs. He is aware of his guilt. He has carried out securities fraud and money laundering on a large scale, robbing innocent people of their savings. His bail is set at $10 million, a fraction of what Belfort owes its creditors. While he spoke out against Bitcoin and Co. a few years ago, the now 60-year-old positions himself as a crypto connoisseur today. Are Bitcoin and Co. now the new object of desire for the former Wall Street guru?

Misplaced sales talent

The first thing Belfort sells isn’t penny stocks, which will later break his neck. Not a pen either, as in the scene in the unashamed Hollywood film about his life. No, the first thing Jordan Belfort sells is popsicles. He walks through New York with two cool bags, bringing refreshment to the crowds who don’t think twice about grabbing it in the scorching heat. Later he even brings acquaintances on board who sell frozen goods for him. In two months, Belfort makes about $20,000.

The New York borough of Queens is Belfort’s home. There he grew up in a middle-class family. He shares a room with his brother on an average block of brown brick and white windows. As a child he was insecure, afraid of the dark, suffered from panic attacks and insomnia. “It’s like your heart is about to drop out of your chest; like every moment of your life is an eternity in itself; the literally polar opposite of being comfortable in your own skin,” he recalls in one of his books.

Belfort is plagued by frustration with his family’s financial situation: he wants to achieve more in life. And in the process becomes a victim of the utopian “American Dream” that he later believes he is living: money, women, cars, tanned skin, a smile that is too white. The native New Yorker gave up his mother’s wish to have a doctorate in the family during his first lecture at the College of Dentistry in Baltimore in 1984. Instead, the then 22-year-old did what he does best: sell something. Namely fish and meat. “I was the most talented salesman in the world,” writes Belfort of himself. “My mistake was that I chose the wrong product to sell.” Because he soon drives the business to the wall and has to file for bankruptcy.

Licked stock blood

Raised in an accountant family, Belfort practically inherited his understanding of profit and loss from his mother’s milk. So it seems only logical that he brings his sales talent to the financial sector. In 1987, at the age of 24, he began a six-month training course as a stockbroker at the investment bank RF Rothschild. On his first day, an employee of the bank shows him around the office on the 23rd floor on New York’s notorious Wall Street. The first tip he gets: coke is good for speed, prostitutes for calming down.

A siren sounds, sleeves are rolled up, fingers fly over the keys, men shout into their phones. Stock exchange trading is open. “It was a sound I will never forget, a sound that would change my life forever,” writes Belfort. “It was the sound of young men, overcome with greed and ambition, offering their hearts and souls to wealthy business owners across America.”

So did Belfort himself. He struggled through half the year to get his stockbroker’s license. However, before he can really get his career rolling, he is fired in the wake of Black Monday 1987 – the biggest crash ever. Sick of the stock market fever, he takes a job at another company. He comes into contact with penny stocks for the first time. After breaking all records with his sales skills, Belfort forms his own brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont, with Danny Porush, based in Long Island.

To the moon and back

At the age of 26, the native of New York achieved not only the status of a multi-millionaire, but also his reputation as the “Wolf of Wall Street”. Drugs at the push of a button, prostitutes and money en masse: Belfort’s everyday life is like a never-ending excess. “I blew almost five million dollars through my nose and swallowed it,” the 60-year-old later said in an interview interview with a view.

While his machinations don’t make him a moralizer, they do do one good thing: Belfort’s bank account. So he buys a helicopter, with which he almost kisses the streets of New York while stoned, and a yacht, which he sinks on the seabed off the Italian coast. However, the stockbroker plays with unfair means, runs an illegal business.

His scam is a sophisticated “pump and dump” method: artificially inflating the price of penny stocks, promising investors the moon and skimming the investment. Not only did his dazzling lifestyle raise eyebrows in some of those around him, but it also drew the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which eventually shut down Stratton Oakmont in 1998.

From wolf to bitcoin bull

Belfort was only behind bars five years after the indictment. But only for 22 months. The wolf is cooperating with the FBI, reducing his sentence and also protecting his former wife Nadine Caridi from being prosecuted.

He shares his cell with actor and musician Tommy Chong, who was serving a prison sentence for distributing drug paraphernalia. At night they tell each other stories from their lives until Chong advises the former stockbroker to write down his experiences. The snippets of Belfort’s fraudulent career eventually resonated with Hollywood and made it onto the big screen, which glorified the former stockbroker’s story.

As far as the prostitutes and drugs are concerned, the film even “understated”, Belfort later explains. The banks now trust him again, and Belfort says his personal credit rating is very good. Has the former wolf become a sheep?

He now seems to be directing his sales talent in a different direction. While it used to be stocks that Belfort brought to the people, today it is selling courses – and more recently workshops on cryptocurrencies. A few years ago, the converted Bitcoin skeptic described the cryptocurrency as “damned madness” and “mass madness”, the 60-year-old now seems to have taken a liking to the digital gold.

Crypto master class with the wolf

He hosted a crypto extravaganza at his Miami mansion in April last year, according to The New York Times reported. According to this, nine crypto enthusiasts were chosen from a pool of 600 people to spend a weekend with polo shirts, caviar and talks about Bitcoin, NFTs and DAOs with the wolf. The price tag to join the wolf pack: 1 BTC (about $40,000 at the time) per person.

Belfort tells unabashedly out of the box: Instead of the well-known stories from his time as a wolf, however, he reported on his experiences as a crypto connoisseur. For example, he admitted that he had around $300,000 in tokens stolen from his wallet. Bad news for the 1,513 creditors who fell victim to the wolf in the 1990s.

About four years ago wrote Bloomberg that the wolf was being pursued by New York prosecutors. As part of his sentencing, Belfort was ordered to hand over half of his earnings to his creditors, totaling $110 million. According to the report, the lawyers said that he had not fully complied with this obligation. Belfort objected, but this was not accepted. According to court documents about four years ago, the former Wall Street guru still owed $97 million — almost 90 percent of the total outstanding amount. It is unclear to what extent the 60-year-old has now settled his debts.

Belfort’s prologue ends with a sentence of regret: his personal story is meant to serve as “a cautionary tale” for those who believe there is “something glamorous about being known as the ‘Wolf of Wall Street'”. It’s not that unglamorous after all: on his site In any case, he does not describe himself as a sheep, but as “The Real Wolf of Wall Street”.

All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.

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