A documentary film that investigates and explains distributed ledger technology (DLT) has just had its cinema release in New York. Called Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain one of its executive producers is Joseph Lubin, an Ethereum co-founder.
The documentary has been written by Alex Winter (who was incidentally ‘Bill’ in the “Bill & Ted” film series) and runs for 84 minutes, during which it looks at topics ranging from the history of Bitcoin to the promising use cases of distributed ledger technology. This is not the first time Winter has directed a film about cryptocurrency. In 2015 he made the 90-minute film Deep Web, which told the story of the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road webmaster.
When it comes to looking at Bitcoin’s history, the writer claims the 2008 global financial crisis was the main event that triggered the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto to develop an open, decentralised ledger for transactions. In the film, Winter regrets that BTC was initially used for deals on the Dark Web and suggests that it has become extremely difficult for BTC to shake off this image.
The documentary is extremely useful viewing for anyone new to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and the New York Times’ film critic, Ben Kenigsberg has given it the thumbs up as a solid teaching aid. He wrote: “A hodgepodge of boosterish arguments for blockchain technology, ‘Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain,’ directed by Alex Winter, is not always a model of clarity, but it does a decent job of explaining the basic concept.”
What’s the use of blockchain?
The film also covers some of the contributions that blockchain can make to the world including combating identity theft and transforming power distribution by empowering micro-producers of power such as households who are able to generate solar power and sell the excess to the grid.
However, Winter concedes that while these could be revolutionary, the thing that still attracts most people to cryptocurrency is the idea that it is a route to quick riches. The famous Hollywood Reporter in its review said: “Still, for most people in the world right now, the most exciting thing about blockchain is the prospect of making a fortune overnight. In its closing scenes, the film’s narration acknowledges how attractive this field is to scammers and speculators.”
If you’re not in the USA, no doubt the documentary is available to download somewhere online.