The early cult-like commune crypto animated in San Francisco is gone

Ah, those were the years. In 2012, the young Jered Kenna ruled the roost as landlord of 20Mission, where tenants in the “anarchic commune,” paid rent in Bitcoin and gathered in the second-floor common room for animated discussions about crypto’s potential to change the world.

The first five years, Kenna said in a recent interview with Mission Local, were “some of the best years of my life.”

But for Kenna and many other early adopters, those years are gone. 

“I haven’t had any crypto in a long time, I lost most of it to identity theft,” Kenna said. He’s no longer buying any cryptocurrency. “I’m really inactive. I’ve always been interested in the actual use and not speculation,” he said. 

For Kenna, the collapse of Bitcoin in June accompanied by a number of other heavy blows to the industry, was “long overdue … I think that a lot of crypto investment was pretty insane.” 

“There are things that have actual utility and they’re useful, and then there’s a lot of crap. People invest in all this bullshit and pay millions of dollars for JPEGs,” he added.

Still, investors remain

Unlike Kenna, many in the Mission still hold the currency, now valued at around $20,000 a coin, down precipitously from the high of nearly $70,000 in November 2021. The early excitement has dissipated and many watch it with a detached skepticism. Others vacillate between doubt and belief. 

Take Han, a 27-year-old programmer, who has lost more than half of the $7,000 or so that he invested in Bitcoin. It hurts, but still the attraction is there. Bitcoin speaks to Han’s soul: “I think cryptocurrency is trying to build a new kind of human consensus and break the order of our established system. It has the potential to change the structure of the world, and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” he said. 

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