The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin debuted at the Tribeca Film Festical earlier this year to high acclaim. The Documentary is scheduled for its official release Friday October 10th, and pre-orders are already available on iTunes. It’s an amazing overview of Bitcoin’s rise to the mainstream filmed during its most intriguing year of existence (2013).
“Explaining Bitcoin to a bank is like explaining Amazon.com to Barns and Nobles”
- Ryan Singer
The Documentary however, does a lot more than highlight the hype and fear of price fluctuations. It profiles some of the biggest names at the time of filming and it really brings the point home of how quickly this ecosystem evolves. This movie took on this challenge and succeeded on every level by providing both the glamor and pitfalls of the early adopters in this technological revolution.
“Regulation cannot keep pace with the pace of innovation”
- David Stein
Daniel, along with his brother Nicholas Mross, the director of the film, clearly demonstrate that their goal was to bring the truth about Bitcoin to a mass audience and let them make the decision whether it is something they can believe in as well.
“The pressure to not screw up just get’s bigger and bigger, you can basically put a bank in your pocket”
- Gavin Andresen
This film will be as interesting for bitcoin early adopters just as much as for beginners looking to get a better grasp of what it is. The full history along with the profiles of the infamous Silk Road and Mt. Gox should go a long way for those beginners looking to understand how we got here and how those incidents will always shape Bitcoin but not define it.
“The government, no mater how many guns they draw, cannot change a mathematical problem”
- Erik Voorhees
We sat down with the creator of the Documentary Daniel Mross for some insight on the film and his views on the Bitcoin Ecosystem.
Cointelegraph: How difficult would you say it is to shoot a documentary about Bitcoin when things change so quickly in this space?
Daniel Mross: It was pretty exiting to have so many stories develop so my brother was always trying to shoot as much footage as possible. With so much happening we knew it was going to be difficult to figure out when to end the film, and we had to make several changes as a result of the news about Charlie / Mt. Gox / Dorian Nakamoto. At the same time, we also knew that the stories we were capturing would never happen again, and we believe that they will serve as a timeless reference to the exciting days when Bitcoin first entered the mainstream.
CT: How would your film be different if you were to do another one starting today?
DM: Today there are so many start-ups and interesting personalities involved, it's hard to keep track of everything that's happening, so I would probably want to cover something more specific than focus on making a film for the general public. Most people are still learning about blockchain technology, so you have to devote some time to explaining what it is before you can engage the audience. There are so many new crypto-currencies and I would probably want to cover some of the innovation happening in the alt-coin space too.
CT: What was the most interesting thing you learned about Bitcoin or its Ecosystem while shooting the movie?
DM: It was really cool to learn about the Free State Project and see a functional micro-economy using crypto-currencies at PorcFest. People were exchanging gold and silver with bitcoins and litecoins. In a way it was like seeing an organic free market as it would have been in simpler times, with the addition of technology that greatly improved all aspects!
CT: You started out as a miner, what do you think of the current Bitcoin mining landscape? Is it evolving in a beneficial way?
DM: It has been a little disappointing to see mining transition away from decentralized systems where everyone can participate. However, without dedicated hardware, PoW mining is vulnerable to botnets, and given the choice between commercial mining operations and criminal syndicates, I would choose the former. Even in that case, the growth of the mining industry has been rife with fraud and scams, and a lot of consumers have been ripped off. Thankfully that era seems to be coming to an end. Today that is less likely to happen as the winners and losers in the mining game will be VCs and private equity providers instead of poorly informed end-users.
CT: How difficult is it watching almost all the people highlighted in your documentary end up with legal issues? What is your opinion of the current regulatory landscape? What would you like to see?
DM: I was especially sad to see Charlie get in trouble, especially since he is so young. I think a lot of people can say that they didn't always make the best decisions during their early 20s so it's easy to sympathize. He was the first person we approached when we started the film because he was so outgoing and friendly, and he has so much ambition. He introduced us to a lot of other people that appear in the film and we will always be grateful for all his help. To see the threat of a 30-year jail sentence hanging over his head for selling bitcoins to someone doesn't make much sense. I really hope he can get past this quickly and wish him well.
As for the regulatory landscape, I think it is going to be very tricky. In the USA we already have governing bodies classifying Bitcoin as different things - in some cases it's virtual currency and subject to money transmission rules, the IRS says it's property, and I'm sure we'll see it classified as an asset and many other things in the near future. If regulation from any single authority is too heavy handed, it could impede certain uses of the technology and drive innovation out of the country. Personally, I would love to see more of a hands-off approach to allow for unencumbered innovation, and if anything I believe that regulation should focus on entry/exit points for fiat currency as opposed to the uses of Bitcoin itself. A blockchain is a public ledger with transactions - it amounts to free speech in the public domain, and I hope regulators keep that in mind and proceed with care.
CT: Where do you think the Bitcoin Ecosystem will be a year from now? Care to take a shot at the price? Our readers are always curious.
DM: I think the next year will really start to ramp up adoption as Bitcoin is really starting to become widely accessible to the everyday consumer. With the push for mobile phone payments coming from things like ApplePay, people will start to become more comfortable paying for things with their phones. As that happens, Bitcoin will become a more realistic option and there will be little reason not to try it if it just means installing an additional app.
CT: What is next for you after you are done promoting the movie?
DM: I just joined a start-up game development studio called MEK Entertainment. We are creating a virtual-reality MMO that will use the Oculus Rift, and we are working on integrating blockchain technology into the game economy. It's a very exciting project; I can't wait until I can share more about what we are building. :-)
CT: Do you have anything else to add?
DM: There is so much to learn about Bitcoin and all the things it enables. I hope our film inspires people to learn more about it and try using it for themselves. It's a technology that empowers the individual and allows them to take control of their finances, and as the world gets smaller and we all become more connected it will change things in a much bigger way than expected.
For additional information and theatrical show times, please visit bitcoindoc.com.
And for more insight into Daniel and Nicholas Mross please catch an in depth interview with them done around the time of the film’s premier.
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