A brand new movie, telling the story of blockchain, is set for release this week…
Blockchain is coming to Hollywood with a new film by a familiar face. Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain is the first feature film to be fully blockchain-funded and distributed, slotting nicely into the libertarian ideals Satoshi Nakamoto had for his world-changing technology.
The director is 80s actor-turned-documentary maker Alex Winter. He is probably best known for his starring roles in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the subsequent Bogus Journey and his part in 1987 vampire teen flick The Lost Boys.
In the intervening years Winter turned to directing, bringing out factual films looking inside controversial stories like the offshore banking scandal of The Panama Papers and then-Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.
Trust Machine is slated as a followup to Winter’s 2015’s documentary Deep Web, which delved into the vast success of the illicit dark web marketplace Silk Road, the (relatively) untraceable cryptocurrencies used to pay for drugs, stolen credit cards and guns, and how the FBI, Europol and Chinese intelligence struggled to police these hidden black markets.
Celebrated hacker and cyberpunk activist Lauri Love appears on screen to open the story: “With the internet, we’re not really the users, we’re not really the customers, we are the product. But blockchain says, ‘There’s another way.’”
The film spans both developing nations and more advanced societies, looking at the likely true impact of blockchain to disrupt every sector from payment systems to food supply chains.
Under the microscope are expert venture capitalist Bill Tai from the world of high net wealth management, volunteers at a UN food programme in Jordan where every item donated is recorded on a blockchain, and the millions of “unbanked” people in Kenya and Venezuela who can’t access traditional bank accounts.
What’s clear is that this won’t be a central bank-funded hit job, nor a wide-eyed puff piece for Bitcoin.
Winter is positive about the impact of blockchain on the world, telling Salon: “Naysayers have two groups: one says all of it is BS, and a scam, and a fraud, and then a slightly more nuanced group says a lot of it is scams, but the verifiable ledgers are a natural evolution of the internet. Some folks believe blockchain will save the universe. I don’t agree with the group that thinks its bullshit. They are uneducated.”
Looking to the future? Winters believes blockchain, or a more advanced version of it will be used “under the hood, like https, which drives the web”. As our experts have suggested, he believes it will be used in a back-end way such that people will not even know they are using blockchain. Could it decentralise power away from governments, and really change the world?
“If it happens, it will be slow. Some will be blunt and disruptive like Uber, I don’t see a revolution imminent that will compensate artists, or mirror banks and governments. Too much of that is based on greed and power dynamics that aren’t going to change overnight.”
Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain is released in the US on 26th October 2018.
Beyond the blockchain, fans only have to wait two more years for the return of the dopey Californian rockers Wyld Stallyns when Bill and Ted Face the Music in the long-awaited third part of his most famous series. 2020’s looking better already.