S5 E7: Torsten Hoffmann on Cryptopia Film

With his two films, “Bitcoin: The End of Money as We Know It” (2015) and “Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of the Internet” (2020), writer, director and producer Torsten Hoffmann paints a Campbellian epic journey during which Bitcoin is the hero and everybody else is either a helper or an obstacle that must be overcome.

If the first film was about the ideals of our hero and the ways in which Bitcoin can change the world, the sequel presents a triumphant protagonist that went through the trial of fire and must now face the challenge of duplication. In “Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of the Internet“, we are introduced to a world where Bitcoin reigns supreme and everyone else is trying to steal its brand or its qualities.

Roger Ver, who used to be called “Bitcoin Jesus”, is now a “Bitcoin Judas” who surrounds himself with false prophets and prays to an ideologically-convenient graven image.

Craig Wright, who calls himself the inventor of Bitcoin, tries to compete with a centralized fork for which patents are constantly filed – thus contradicting the spirit of Bitcoin itself.

Yet these foes have already been defeated by Bitcoin and they’re left behind in the dust complaining about their expectations. Roger and Craig are to Bitcoin what Jabba the Hutt was to Luke Skywalker in “The Return of the Jedi”: worthy foes who presented their challenge, but were only stepping stones in the hero’s journey. To maintain the metaphor, Bitcoin is now in its journey to defeat the most evil forces of the universe and help the freedom-loving rebel movement live peacefully and without fear for any financial Death Star.

If the first film presented a Bitcoin that challenged the status quo but was mostly ignored by governments and state actors, in “Cryptopia” the situation has dramatically changed. Some of the world’s most renown economists, investors, and politicians talk about this unique financial phenomenon and share their opinions on what Bitcoin can mean for the future of our money.

This time around, Bitcoin’s enemies aren’t just insiders and former supporters who have decided to turn their backs against it or attack it with poorly-made clones. They are powerful and influential people who dislike the threat that a decentralized internet currency poses to their statuses.

And aside from inferior yet distracting Bitcoin clones, we also see new inventions that take the convenient parts from Bitcoin to create odd centralized organisms. A significant chunk from “#CryptopiaFilm: Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of the Internet” is about Ethereum and the so-called “blockchain industry”.

Yet Torsten Hoffmann manages to capture the essence of this movement by highlighting the questionable decentralization and drawing parallels to the people who wanted to build private versions of the internet in the 1990s. Bitcoin is our modern TCP-IP, and some individuals and institutions seem to be much more concerned about creating centralized networks that serve their own interests.

We get to see the aftermath of the 2017-2018 ICO mania where a staggering majority of “disruptive” and “decentralizing” projects have been proven to be scams or unsustainable delusions, and we are also invited to reflect on the future of this “Web 3.0”.

Through it all, Bitcoin prevails and reigns supreme. Its success is so great and so unexpected that everybody is trying to attack it or replace it. Yet our Campballian hero continues the journey untainted in principles and undefeated in battle. And the more Bitcoin exists, the more people adopt it, and therefore the stronger it gets.

“Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of the Internet” is now available for worldwide streaming. You can watch it on the official website for about $5, and it’s definitely the kind of film that starts conversations. Show it to your parents or friends, and they will definitely become curious about Bitcoin and start asking questions. And if you want to celebrate Bitcoin’s victory over all the foes it has faced so far and remember all the obstacles along the way, you will definitely enjoy watching Torsten Hoffmann’s sequel.

Listen to Torsten Hoffmann talk about his new film on iTunes and Spotify!

Time Stamps:

00:47 – Introduction

2:17 – Ticket prices and how the interviewees have changed since the last documentary (Bitcoin: The End of Money As We Know It)

4:18 – Approaching Roger Ver and remaining objective in presenting the scaling debate

6:55 – The explanatory animations in the documentary and reaching newbies

9:00 – The documentary’s 3 chapters

11:26 – Why maximalists should pay more attention to the film before dismissing it

12:00 – Roger Ver going from Bitcoin Jesus to Bitcoin Judas

14:30 – Travelling around the world to film interviews

14:55 – Xapo’s huge underground military storage facility

17:40 – Working on the film for 6 years

18:30 – Why watching the documentary in the cinema is a different experience

19:15 – Why Bitcoin documentaries made by community members are better

20:31 – The hero’s journey

21:00 – The chapter about the history of the internet

22:08 – Mining innovation and using the cheapest kind of energy

23:54 – Why Bitcoin helps make energy more efficient

24:34 – Managing to distinguish between Bitcoin and scams in a way that doesn’t create confusion

25:17 – Interviewing the inventor of ERC20 and confronting him with the scams he enabled

28:00 – Another ICO mania?

29:25 – The Ponzi psychology and human greed

30:20 – Is “Cryptopia” a conversation starter for nocoiners?

32:20 – What would Torsten change to his documentary?

33:45 – What would Vlad add to the documentary?

34:15 – Starting the project from the Bitcoin “Civil War” and removing parts to make it all less confusing

35:15 – Scaling Bitcoin

36:49 – Bitmain and SegWit

37:28 – The Andreas Antonopoulos quote that didn’t make the final cut

38:25 – Should altcoins exist?

39:09 – Why maximalism is fascinating to Torsten Hoffmann

40:26 – Why Ethereum sucks

42:40 – Why BS V sucks

43:39 – A certain character who lives in London, files patents, and claims to have invented Bitcoin. Why does he belong in this film?

46:08 – Gigabyte blocks are a myth

47:53 – Interviewing Calvin?

49:21 – How was the feedback for “Cryptopia”?

51:15 – A newbie would have sucked at producing a documentary like this

52:39 – Why do projects need blockchains?

54:41 – DHL has been tracking items for years without blockchains

56:08 – Closing notes

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50% of funds donated to this address will be redirected to Torsten’s project to allow him to produce more documentaries about Bitcoin’s journey. He is definitely a gifted historian who brings useful contributions to the community, so he deserves to receive support for his work.

Vlad Costea

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