Cryptocurrencies have become more and more popular in the last few years, as there has been increased media coverage of the asset, which has led to more awareness among common people. While there is still a long time before cryptocurrencies become mainstream financial assets, they are no longer considered exotic or only restricted to a few niche markets. At the same time, early adopters have long been convinced of the potential that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have, as well as the uses and benefits that the underlying technology, blockchain, can bring. Cryptocurrencies have begun to be accepted as a mode of payment at many online stores and merchants, and are slowly beginning to gain acceptance as an alternative currency. One of the sectors where this has had the most success is the online gambling industry. Many online casino websites have been offering users bitcoin promotions and the option to withdraw their winnings and make deposits in cryptocurrencies for some time now. Such bitcoin casinos have actually seen a lot of popularity, both due to their use of cryptocurrencies as well as the general rise in interest in online gambling due to the pandemic.
One of the ways to see how cryptocurrencies are becoming more commonplace is to look at how popular culture has begun to use crypto as plot points for movies and TV shows. Additionally, there have also been a number of documentaries which seek to educate the public about this, and one of the best ones at the moment is Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchain and the Future of the Internet.
This movie is directed by Australian Torsten Hoffman, and it is his second venture into the world of cryptocurrencies, having also directed the 2015 documentary Bitcoin: The End Of Money As We Know It. It is one of the most educational movies on cryptocurrencies out there, and assumes that the audience knows little to nothing about this area. Thus, the movie starts by introducing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the basics around how they work and why they came into existence due to the problems with traditional currencies, and the stated aim of those who invented these currencies to be able to have decentralized currencies which are not controlled by governments. A number of industry experts, such as Wences Casares, Laura Shin and Andreas Antonopoulos are interviewed to give their views on this movement and its implications for economies and the financial system in the years to come. There is also coverage of how big banks and various governments have been pushing back against cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, especially, has exploded in value over the last few years, creating many millionaires of the first people to have invested in it. It is almost thought of as akin to gold, but in a digital format nowadays, by many investors, although it is far riskier. This phenomenon is also covered in the movie, as is the function of initial coin offerings or ICOs, which serve to bring coin offerings to the market. However, this has also become an easy tool for fraudsters and scams to take place, and this side of things is also brought to light by Hoffman. Further, another important development is investigated, namely the use of blockchain by many firms globally to improve their data management systems and for other purposes which serve to streamline their processes. The implications and applications of blockchain go far beyond just cryptocurrencies or financial services.
Cryptocurrencies are compared to other early-stage sectors in the years gone by, such as automobiles, to show how they could potentially grow in the years to come. Hoffman’s skill as an interviewer comes through as well, as he allows his subjects to speak freely, only interjecting with a remark or joke when needed. This makes this movie flow along effortlessly, and adds to the ease with which difficult concepts are explained simply, making it an excellent watch.