The Story of Blockchain

Dozens of clips claim to explain the blockchain or tell you everything you need to know about Bitcoin. But the story of cryptocurrencies and the technology that makes them possible demands more explanation than is possible in a cursory two-minute animation.

These topics may be garnering a lot of mainstream attention right now thanks to skyrocketing valuations and interest from multi-billion dollar organizations like IBM and Microsoft, but they've actually been around for decades. The story of how they managed to land in the spotlight in 2017 is both compelling and complex.

Luckily, filmmaker Alex Winter has taken on the daunting task of telling it.

Winter's face isn't new in the entertainment industry. He began his career as an actor, starring in several popular films such as The Lost Boys and, perhaps most famously, the Bill and Ted franchise. He then moved behind the camera to direct several narrative features and award-winning documentaries. His recent work reflects his interest in decentralization and the rise of internet-based communities — two of his documentaries,  Downloaded and Deep Web, center on these themes. His next project, the "Untitled Blockchain Film," is a feature specifically focused on the blockchain and its potential to change the world.

"This film is an opportunity to examine the future as opposed to the distant past or the immediate past: where we are, where we're going, and the frenzied, exciting, and precarious world that we are currently in, particularly as that relates to the blockchain and crypto," Winter explains in an interview with Futurism.

To do that, the director will travel the world, interviewing the investors and innovators playing a major role in the evolution of blockchain and decentralization. He'll also seek out those using the technology to address important real-world problems, such as world hunger and income inequality.

Winter notes that he has been studying the rise of cryptography and its impact on global culture since the late 1980s. But he is excited to see where the process of creating this film takes him. "Every movie is a journey of discovery and disorientation for me," says Winter. "That's what I love about making them."

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An Industry Redefined

The subject of Winter's new documentary isn't the only thing about it that's cutting-edge — everything from how the film is being funded to how it will be distributed is forward-thinking, thanks to SingularDTV, the EnTech company producing the film alongside Futurism Studios (a wholly owned subsidiary of Futurism LLC).

SingularDTV's Ethereum-based production and distribution platform utilizes blockchain technology to give filmmakers and artists everything they need to bring their projects to fruition.

"We're creating the ecosystem for entertainment industry artists and creators to be able to do everything — raise funds, market their projects, rent equipment — through a tokenized ecosystem," Kim Jackson, president of entertainment at SingularDTV, tells Futurism. "The different applications we're building support artists all the way from development to distribution."

Geoff Clark, president of Futurism Studios, notes that this pivotal moment for blockchain technology makes this an especially exciting time for filmmaking. "We have the rare opportunity to redesign our finance and distribution models from the ground up, ensuring a more sustainable and equitable future," he says. "I believe Blockchain represents the next evolution of content creation, and we are excited to partner with top technologists and creatives to bring that vision to life.”

Scheduled for release in Spring 2018, the "Untitled Blockchain Film" is the first project in SingularDTV's slate of original productions, and Jackson says she was thrilled Winter was available to direct it. "He was just such an obvious choice for this project given his background," Jackson says. "He totally understands the different avenues to explore with this new technology, and it was just really serendipitous that he was available to direct this film."

Winter hopes the film will clear up some of the public's misconceptions of the blockchain, but in this project, as in those before it, he seeks to entertain as well as inform. "I hope the audience comes away with a deeper understanding of this seemingly confusing and impenetrable world," says Winter. "That being said, I make movies, not journalism or infotainment, so more than anything I want the audience to feel they've watched a good, satisfying story."

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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