liver Gale's office has a view of the palm-lined seafront of Miami Beach, the sandy shores of Barbados, and the turquoise waters of Mexico's Caribbean coast.
What changed? The crypto entrepreneur, 36, is now back in London, working out of hotel lobbies. The delicate sea breeze has vanished, replaced by the whistling sounds of air conditioners attempting to combat the British capital's warmer than usual summer.
He is one of the numerous crypto nomads who have begun to return to major cities such as London and New York as financial centers start to come back to life following the pandemic.
As a subset of digital nomads, wandering crypto workers have spent the last several years traveling from country to country, convinced to leave large financial centers as living costs have risen. The nomadic lifestyle is particularly suited to the group, with its 24/7 market and ethos of a digital, seamless monetary future.
However, pandemic border controls, followed by a crash in cryptocurrency prices, have made it a less practical and more expensive way of life to maintain.
"People desire to be where business is occurring and where there are opportunities to broaden their network," said Mary Elizabeth Elkordy, who started up her fully remote company Elkordy Global Strategies all through the pandemic.
Gale, also the co-founder and CEO of Panther Protocol, went back to London in March 2020 to launch Elemental.io, a consumer credit platform previously known as PayMachine.
According to NHS Digital data, the population of London increased by 4% in July 2022 compared to the same month two years prior. Workers are beginning to return to offices, though not at pre-pandemic levels. The data compiled in June by Google, which tracks the movements of some of its users, approximately 60% to 70% of workers in London are back at their desks.
A global data intelligence and address analytics company stated that the transition out of many New York City communities is also reversing in 2019, with more residents moving to Manhattan compared to before the pandemic.
Some people, to be sure, will never stop wandering. Gale plans on attending Burning Man, an annual arts festival held in Nevada's Black Rock City around the US Labor Day holiday.
From partying to fasting
Kenzi Wang, the co-founder of Symbolic Capital and former vice president and general manager of cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global, returned to New York in April after traveling throughout Europe and Latin America.
He compares the current crypto winter to the previous crash when the prices fell 80%, and it became a "highly efficient time to build" new products and services. This year, the cost of one Bitcoin has dropped by half from its all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November 2021.
Nomads are evolving
Even though room rents in London are up 15% year on year, as per statistics collected by roommate search website SpareRoom, and Manhattan rents are at all-time highs, several nomads are going back to big cities for more stability. After all, many of them are getting older and discovering that the allure of nomadism isn't always easy to resolve with the expectations of having a family.
Rettig, who is now a core developer at crypto project Spacemesh, bought a condo in Harlem, New York, and is "struggling with how to stay embedded into a super global, nomadic society with a newborn baby and a mortgage."
"Entrepreneurship is a game of stabilizing your obligation and your desires," he explained. "It is an important aspect of my life to go on adventures — work and play — to create a dynamic and innovative lifestyle."