DeCenter has compiled a list of documentaries about Bitcoin and the blockchain technology. We tried to select only the best and relevant movies.
The Blockchain and Us
Year of release: 2017
Duration: 31 minutes
Director: Manuel Stagars
The documentary “The Blockchain and Us” was very warmly received by both critics and the crypto community. It is rightfully recognized as one of the highest quality documentaries about blockchain and Bitcoin. The film won several awards at major film festivals around the world, in particular, it was shown to the participants of the World Economic Forum at Davos.
The short nature of the film is a huge plus. The author managed to lay down the history, content, and effect of the blockchain technology on the economy and society in just half an hour (the explanation of the technology in three minutes is saying a lot). So this is a real find for newbies.
Among the heroes of the film are the founder of Lightning Labs Elizabeth Stark, co-author of the book “Blockchain Revolution” Alex Tapscott, and Blockstream’s chief engineer Christian Decker.
Movie director Manuel Stagars is no stranger to the topic of technology. Before “The Blockchain and Us,” he had already shot a documentary film about the fintech industry in his native Switzerland, and last year, he released a movie about the digital transformation of society. Apparently, the subject of Bitcoin came to his liking, since the second part of the documentary has been announced on IMDb.
As if imitating the subject of his research, the full version of the film is available on its official website. All the interviews are published separately (with English subtitles). In addition, Stagars launched and still leads a podcast about blockchain based on the movie that is equally popular within the community.
Banking on Bitcoin
Year of release: 2016
Duration: 1 hour 23 minutes
Director: Christopher Cannucciari
If you want to watch a full length “Hollywood blockbuster” about Bitcoin, then feel free to turn on “Banking on Bitcoin.” As in the case of a “Hollywood” movie, one of the main advantages of this film is in the actor lineup. The film contains interviews of almost all the stars of the blockchain industry that need no introduction: Charlie Shrem, Erik Voorhees, Gavin Andresen, David Chaum, the Winklevoss brothers, and Nathaniel Popper. There is another aspect: the movie is of very high quality and is richly filled with graphics.
The plot of the film is also indeed Hollywood. The authors trace the history of Bitcoin since its inception, affecting key dramatic stories, such as the defeat of the darknet market of Silk Road and the collapse of Mt. Gox. Toward the end, the authors consider the most popular theories about who is hiding under the guise of Satoshi Nakamoto. One of the most exciting moments of the film is the story about the creator of BitInstant—one of the first Bitcoin exchanges—Charlie Shrem, who was convicted of contact with Silk Road and spent about two years in prison.
Do not turn off the film on the credits, since that is where they show the shooting of the scene, where Craig Wright made the first “confession” on camera about who Satoshi Nakamoto supposedly is.
It is important that the authors do not repeat the mantra about the new “asset,” but, on the contrary, emphasize the social significance of Bitcoin for the poorest inhabitants of the Earth. Bitcoin here is not a new “asset class,” but rather the answer, if not the revenge of a group of hackers against Wall Street firms that are largely responsible for the 2008 global economic crisis. Bitcoin is also shown as an attempt to “fix” the financial system.
Bitcoin—Shape the Future
Year of release: 2017
Duration: 45 minutes
Director: Li Yunqi
This film was made in China, about China, and for the Chinese public (it was first shown at the Shape the Future conference in Hong Kong). It should be viewed, however, by anyone who wants to learn more about a country that has a significant impact on the industry. After all, the history of Bitcoin in China is full of paradoxes and, at first glance, twists incomprehensible to an outside observer.
On the one hand, the authorities banned the ICOs and put a lot of restrictions on trade in crypto assets. On the other hand, the Chinese government is generously financing blockchain projects. In addition, China remains the leader in mining capacity, and it also became home to many of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges: Binance, Huobi, and OKEx. Although many platforms were forced to move their headquarters abroad due to strict state policies, they left offices in the PRC through which they continue to cooperate with the authorities (for example, last fall, a Communist Party committee was opened at Huobi’s Beijing subsidiary).
The Chinese company BitKan produced the film in collaboration with Bitmain and Huobi. Accordingly, the main characters of these companies appear in frame every now and then: Jihan Wu, Leon Liu, and others. In addition, there also were interviews with representatives of other well-known companies from China, in particular, the mining pool ViaBTC and the leading news site BTC123.
It is curious that the film was shot in the “noir” style, its characters are being interviewed at night, with the light falling on them only from working computer monitors. Perhaps in this way, the authors wanted to support the image of hackers that is widespread in popular culture. One character’s face is not even shown, and their voice is artificially altered. In general, the picture makes an impression.
Magic Money: The Bitcoin Revolution
Year of release: 2018
Duration: 55 minutes
Director: Tim Delmastro
The main idea of this film, unlike others, is the influence of Bitcoin on the daily life of people around the world and the use of cryptocurrency instead of fiat. Actually, the whole film looks like one big sermon from Roger Ver. Anyone who has ever read his views will understand what is at stake. Ver is the main supporter of the use of cryptocurrency as cash to pay for any goods and services. He is confident that in this way, cryptocurrencies will take power over finances from “broken” governments and bankers and “return” it to ordinary people. And he repeats this thesis throughout the film.
In addition to Roger Ver, the main characters of the film were a famous trader Tone Vays and expert Trace Mayer.
During the film, the thesis about the need to use Bitcoin as a medium of exchange is also supported by ordinary businessmen from various countries: the USA, Japan, Mexico, and Morocco. This is especially true for developing countries, many of whose residents still have not been able to use the simplest banking services, and now Bitcoin has got something more sophisticated and accessible to offer. This, again, encourages merchants to switch ATMs for long addresses of Bitcoin wallets.
But the Bitcoin revolution goes far beyond the bounds of finance, as in fact, this is an expression of public distrust of traditional institutions, and now we have a monetary system where trust (like intermediaries) is simply not required, as the authors of the movie say.
Bonus: Life Inside a Chinese Bitcoin Mine
After the latest collapse of the cryptocurrency market, news emerged about the mass sale by Chinese miners of their equipment per kilogram. Indeed, China has the largest mining facilities, and this is such a massive undertaking that the plot was brought to the focus of the Vice TV channel, which is famous for founding an entire school of documentary films.
In this case, this is not a film, but rather a lengthy report lasting 10 minutes. Although it was shot in 2014, it still grants an opportunity to take a peek into the vast but sufficiently closed blockchain community of China.
The hero of the story is the director of a 3,000-miner farm located in the Dalian city. According to him, the capacity of the farm at the time was 20 to 25 Bitcoins per day. The frame shows not only the head of the farm but also its ordinary employees, who during lunch breaks from equipment checks eat noodles and play computer games. The musical component is also top-notch as it periodically plays music composed of miner chirping in the background.