The Rise of the Altcoin Documentary... Enter ‘Coined’

Friday 27 June 2014

There have been a swarm of bitcoin documentaries released over the last 18-months. All have been bitcoin specific. While they have varied in scope, theme and approach, the focus has always been on bitcoin.

Coined documentary

Altcoins are booming and it makes sense that this segment of the ecosystem would now be covered by visual media. The altcoin ecosys

tem has reached the necessary maturity to justify a documentary and there is plenty of content to cover.

Altcoins are a billion-dollar market on their own. The sector consists of more established, larger players like Litecoin and communities like Dogecoin, which have carved out an entire niche for themselves, opening up cryptocurrencies to entirely new demographics.

Money is changing. With the launch of bitcoin in 2009, traditional notions of currency changed forever, expanding to include a digital, community-driven monetary system known as cryptocurrency.

Since bitcoin’s inception, new cryptocurrencies are created constantly, each with a unique agenda, technical advancement, and varying personality.

As monetary systems continue to shift rapidly,

there is an urgent need to critically explore this transformation

and document history before it is lost.

There are conventional alt-coins; crypto-currencies that essentially clone bitcoin’s code base. New currencies in this sphere are coming online constantly. It has become impossible to keep up.

Then there are the Bitcoin 2.0 technologies like Ethereum and Mastercoin. They are attracting the best and most passionate developer talent. These are networks with underlying tokens that seek to extend the application and scope of the blockchain and cryptography that bitcoin pioneered.

‘Coined’ is the the first feature-length documentary to cover emerging Altcoins.

Chris Higgins Adam Cornelius, New York filming

Chris Higgins and Adam Cornelius film in New York 

Adam Cornelius and ‘This American Life’ contributor, Chris Higgins, have joined forces to produce this first ever feature-length documentary on altcoins. The film seeks to shed light on the stories of those who embraced bitcoin technology and took it to the next level: those who invented new coins, built businesses around them, and created communities to support each other.

Billy Markus Dogecoin

Since the beginning of filming in January 2014 Cornelius and Higgins have collected over 20 hours of raw footage. There is significant coverage of meme-based currency, Dogecoin. Its surge in popularity and value since in six short months is well covered.

Existing footage includes on-camera interviews with Dogecoin creator, Billy Markus, footage of the “Dogecar” a Dogecoin-sponsored race car, and interviews with NASCAR driver Josh Wise. The trailer is a must watch.

There are also interviews with Josh Mohland, cryptocurrency activists, economists, and business owners who accept bitcoin and creator of the Dogecoin tipbot. There is some very cool footage of the first “Dogeparty” on Wall Street in New York City.

The funding

The documentary itself has reached a point where they need additional finance. To finance additional filming of new digital currency stories as they develop, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched and has been doing the rounds on social media.

The campaign will run for 30 days, ending on July 16th, 2014. The team is promising to deliver some fun packages to contributors. These include behind-the-scenes updates about the film during production and rewards options that include digital downloads of the film, DVDs, the film’s soundtrack, and even producer credits.

Higgins, whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, Mental Floss, and This American Life says:

“Dogecoin is like bitcoin’s goofy, awesome nephew, but it’s also serious business.

We’ve interviewed key Dogecoin community members, including Billy Markus,

who are turning an internet meme into a part of the global economy.

It’s a rare privilege to capture a story with so much heart, at the moment it happens.”

Higgins added that:

“We went to Kickstarter because we want to build a community around this film,

much like the communities that form around altcoins themselves.”

Cornelius previously directed two feature-length documentaries: ‘Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters’ and ‘People Who Do Noise’. He notes:

“I’m really interested in the subcultures that develop around niche technologies. The first time I went to a bitcoin meetup, the energy was just off the charts. It was like stepping into a different world.

I immediately knew there was a story there worth filming.”

Hopefully this represents the beginning in further documentary film analysis of this interesting segment of the emerging digital economy.

Tristan Winters


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