Everything seems to indicate the Bitcoin has come to stay. What began as a small liberal experiment of a tiny group of geeks to create a digital currency free of the chains of the big central banks and with which anything could be paid, nowadays is already a familiar term for the common people. But the pioneer in the cryptocurrency phenomenon has a history full of ups and downs, martyrs, ghosts, superheroes and even villains.
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Director Chistopher Cannuciari knows this and he put it all in his documentary "Banking On Bitcoin", a film with a narrative friendly enough to introduce the subject of cryptocurrencies to anyone who had a bad time in mathematics during high school. Of course, Cannuciari sees no reason to hide the final intention of the documentary: to provide knowledge about the cryptocurrency and break some negative myths that could slow down its growth in the world market.
Contrary to the default, faceless avatar of Satoshi Nakamoto, the so-called "creator" of Bitcoin, the film exposes the protagonists who played a key role in the vertiginous birth of the digital currency and its famous blockchain technology, the structure on which the security of the metabolism of all cryptocurrencies is based.
In the beginning of the film, the smiling entrepreneur and Bitcoin pioneer Charlie Shrem becomes familiar with the ankle bracelet that the authorities have put on him before definitively entering the place of his imprisonment, where he will serve a two-year sentence for facilitating a process of money laundering through Silk Road, a black market that operated on the web thanks to the use of the anonymity intrinsic to the founding principles of Bitcoin.
The possibility that cryptocurrencies are used for illicit purposes is the most critical point of the film, and this is when the heroes of Bitcoin come to its defense, among them there is Erik Voorhees, one of the first entrepreneurs of the Bitcoin phenomenon. This successful American businessman is the main voice of the documentary. Cannuciari follows him through several locations, from the crowded streets of New York to his bicycle ride through the woods, from where Voorhees defends the anonymity and complete freedom of movement of cryptocurrencies as two bacis legitimate human rights.
"We have banks that have ATMs on every street corner in America, and those banks know very well that money is getting used for drugs. And yet that's fine. They are allowed to do that. No one gets in trouble. But Charlie sells bitcoins to a guy who uses drugs, and he goes to jail. He was an entrepeneur that started building this industry, he built services that people found useful, when bankers almost destroyed the world economy and none of them got in trouble whatsoever "
The former is one of Voorheerss so many allegations in defense of a technology that was born as a response to the banking crisis of 2008 and that today is seen as an monetary revolution.
The difficult relationship between Wall Street and Bitcoin covers a large part of the documentary. It is here that the regulations imposed by Benjamin Lawski - a kind of nemesis of John Turturro acting as an antagonists in a financial thriller - the principal superintendent of financial services of New York, appear as the great threat to the precepts of the founders of the Bitcoin's liberal ideology.
Standing side by side with films like "The Big Short" or "The Forecaster" (Watch it on Guidedoc), pieces that try to explain the recent financial crises, "Banking on Bitcoin" is one of those essential documentaries to understand an economic phenomenon that could, sooner rather than later, change the way we sell and buy everything we consume.