Coined, the First Digital Currency Documentary

Coined, the First Digital Currency Documentary
Coined, the First Digital Currency DocumentaryThe story of Bitcoin, and other digital currencies, is being explored in a new documentary, titled “Coined”. A work in progress, Coined is currently raising $72,000 on the popular crowd funding platform Kickstarter. With 19 days to go on their crowd funding campaign, Coined has raised almost $9,000 at the time this post is being written. To donate towards the documentary, go here. The documentary team has already shot over 20 hours of footage, including interviews with the creators of Dogecoin, and footage from the Dogecoin sponsored NASCAR race at Talladega (where we, team Follow The Coin, actually accidentally ran into the Coined team! ). We caught up the with director of Coined, Chris Higgins, to get more info. How did you get into digital/crypto currencies? What was that experience like for you? I read my friend David Wolman’s book The End of Money and it got me thinking about, you know, money. I had heard about Bitcoin for several years at that point (mainly on NPR) but hadn’t actually looked into it. So I started poking around online in 2013, first to see if I could mine Bitcoin with my laptop. (I know, stop laughing. )I ended up finding Litecoin and the whole altcoin scene, which was much more approachable for the hobbyist like me. So I started looking into what it would take to build a mining rig. Right around that time, Adam Cornelius, my old friend and occasional comrade in filmmaking, showed up and said, “I’m thinking about building a Litecoin mining rig. ” So that was that. What triggered the idea for Coined? So Adam and I built this mining rig in December 2013. He bought the parts, we both assembled them, I fought with Linux video card drivers for a few days, and then we sort of sat back and watched it do its thing. Adam was at a Bitcoin meetup in Portland when he ran into Billy Markus, who programmed Dogecoin. Turns out Adam was mining Dogecoin at the time (he was using multipool, and it had pointed him at Dogecoin — remember, this was late Dec 2013/early Jan 2014). Adam and I had been talking about doing a documentary for a while, and here it was, this story starting in our own back yard. So we grabbed our cameras and went to Billy’s house. We were interviewing him in January 2014, very early in the life of the coin. When we flew to New York City to film the Dogeparty in February, we knew we had a solid story. Here were hundreds of real people converging in a real place, next to the New York Stock Exchange, to celebrate a cryptocurrency. As filmmakers, seeing something that was formerly an online-only phenomenon (and thus, kind of boring to see on film) turn into a literal party…well, that was the moment we knew we had a documentary on our hands. How many digital currencies are covered in Coined? Hard to say at the moment, since we need to shoot another hundred hours. We have about 20 hours on Dogecoin and Bitcoin, with some discussion of Litecoin in there as well, plus some other altcoins here and there. But that’s primarily because we have been interviewing people in the Dogecoin scene. Our goal for the film is to focus on:1. The concept of digital currency as a whole. In other words, an exploration of the value of any currency and looking into how these things go digital. 2. Specific incarnations of these currencies (such as Dogecoin, Bitcoin, potentially any other currency) and the stories of their creation and use. 3. An exploration of how the rise of digital currencies fits in with the rise of other currencies throughout history. People have been creating currencies for millennia…this is a very new take on a very old idea. How is this different? How is this the same? And so on. What is the one thing people should know about digital currencies? That all money is a shared agreement — we agree that some token (dollar bill, coin, etc. ) has value and then it does — and that the embodiment of that token is irrelevant. The fact that digital currency is “just bits on a computer” is the same thing as a dollar bill being “just ink on paper. ” The value isn’t in the bits or the ink, it’s in the agreement that we share when we say that thing has value. Do you mine? I’ve done CPU mining on various laptops, but stopped when the weather warmed up. Adam has a GPU mining rig and has mined tons of oddball coins. (He was very excited to mine a Breaking Bad themed coin at one point, if I recall correctly. )We are also building mining rigs for the movie; they’re available as rewards on the Kickstarter. How would you explain Dogecoin to your mom? Dogecoin is a digital form of money that started as a joke, then became very real. It actually has value, but it’s accessible by people with very little money, unlike other digital currencies like Bitcoin. People who use Dogecoin tend to value sharing, inclusivity, and charitable giving. A culture has grown around Dogecoin that emphasizes this kind of sharing culture, where “tipping” is common — if you make a cool thing online, I can tip you some Dogecoin for it, just by typing a command into Twitter or Reddit. It’s a way to put your money where your mouth is, and reward work and projects that you value. It also has a picture of a cute dog on it. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned during the process of creating Coined? That Dogecoin is exactly as susceptible to flame wars and drama as any other online community. In other words, for something that is lighthearted and fun, there sure is a lot of drama that goes down on the subreddit. I’m curious whether that’s simply how online communities work (to some extent, it is) but also I wonder whether that’s what happens when you mix money into an online community — stuff gets real, and everything is amped up. The other thing that surprises me is how willing everybody is to talk about the concept of money. When I say I’m working on a documentary about how money is changing, and turning into this virtual thing, people engage with that idea. It’s not just nerds, it’s everybody. Quite honestly, I thought that interest in the “What is money? ” question would be limited to finance nerds and tech nerds. But no, not at all — this is genuinely something that everybody cares about, because, let’s face it, everyone uses money. Is there anything else you would like to add? Yeah, two things I’d point out:1. The Dogecar video has only 500 views. That’s dumb. I think people simply haven’t noticed that it exists yet. Dudes, this is 15 minutes in the pit with Josh Wise! ! ! This is what Dogecoin gave us 3,000,000 Dogecoin to go and film! HERE, LOOK! https://www. youtube. com/watch? v=h_EpAAzQUVQ2. Our documentary is designed to be inclusive. Whether it’s $1 or $10, we want people to get involved and join our community, share their stories, ask questions, etc. And yes, we take tips (see our FAQ on the Kickstarter) if you don’t dig the whole fiat currency thing.