The Rise And Rise of Bitcoin – First Impressions

Journalist:
October 11, 2014

Last night I watched and enjoyed The Rise And Rise of Bitcoin.

I recommend the film to everyone, to Bitcoin experts and enthusiasts as a useful historical recap and motivation booster, and to newcomers as a good first introduction (newcomers should also read the book “Bitcoin and the Future of Money“).

I watched the film with my wife, who isn’t into Bitcoin and technology. She found it informative, entertaining and understandable, and gave it a 4 out of 5. I think she gets Bitcoin now.

The film is narrated from the point of view of the filmmaker and Bitcoin enthusiast Daniel Mross, and tells the history of Bitcoin from the first post of Satoshi Nakamoto to the Cryptography mailing list in 2008 to early 2014, until the arrest of Bitinstant’s Charlie Shrem for alleged money laundering, the Mt.Gox crash, and the rumors about Dorian Nakamoto. Watch also this video Q&A with the filmmakers Nicholas and Daniel Mross, by Reason TV.

The closing voice over an awesome sunset says: “Maybe we won’t ever know who created Bitcoin, but the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Bitcoin belongs to everyone, and the future is ours to build.” The rolling list of featured participants is a who’s who of the Bitcoin world, with some omissions, but many of those who matter are there.

Of course, parts of the film are focused on the most visible aspects of cryptocurrencies, frequently reported by the media – the identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the epic rises and falls of Bitcoin in huge price swings, basements full of Bitcoin mining hardware with blinking lights, Silk Road and the growing use of Bitcoin by the criminal underground.

The Libertarian Roots of the Blockchain

But other parts of the film, more interesting in my opinion, are focused on the real thing – the power of the Bitcoin blockchain as a distributed engine for a better payment and financial systems open to the unbanked of the world, a better Internet, and a better society. Bitcoin is a digital commodity backed by mathematics. It’s scarce by design, decentralized, democratic, and can’t be controlled by Big Government and Big Business. Therefore, it’s a good foundation for the future economy.

The Libertarian, anarcho-capitalist roots of the Bitcoin culture are evident in the scenes filmed at a festival in the woods organized by the Libertarian Free State Project, where most vendors accepted Bitcoin and most visitors were enthusiastic supporters of the cryptocurrency. At the festival, Ethereum main developer Vitalik Buterin said that the world is seriously changing in a very interesting, very radical decentralized way.

Please Send A Donation to the Filmmakers

I’ve been criticized for sharing the film’s torrent from The Pirate Bay in my previous post. “Maybe if you’ve ever created a quality feature-length film in Final Cut, or something like it, you might actually buy the movie instead of stealing it off Pirate Bay. Nice job of letting everyone know where they can just go get for free. Two thumbs up brother!” says an angry reader.

I totally support the need to compensate filmmakers for they hard work, but the torrent address was already on the Reddit front page and all over the Internet when I shared it. What I did, was to send a donation to the official Bitcoin donation address, posted to Reddit and confirmed on Twitter. This option is open to the unbanked and all those who don’t have a credit card they can use for online payment, so I am persuaded that the torrent will result in more money for the filmmakers, not less. If you downloaded the film without paying, I would encourage you to send a donation to the filmmakers.

[divider]CCN[/divider]

In a review, I am supposed to find something to criticize, so I will mention the fact that the words of non-native English speakers (perfectly understandable in my opinion) are often subtitled. That was unnecessary, and I find it slightly offensive to the persons concerned, sort of. Bitcoin is global like the Internet itself, and we must get used to accents different from pure London, or Brooklyn.

Images from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): October 11, 2014 16:02

Giulio Prisco @giulioprisco

Science writer, software developer, Bitcoin/crypto enthusiast.