Ana is a filmmaker who gets hooked on Crypto trading. Her husband and her father want her to go to therapy, but instead Ana decides in desperation and as a healing exercise to make a documentary about Bitcoin fever. With her enabling producer, a chaotic production crew of newly-converted crypto-speculators and an exasperated economist father who wants to protect his daughter from being bankrupted by a scam Bull Run takes us on a rollercoaster exploration of the world of Crypto Trading. With humour, honesty and insight, we meet the people and investigate the technology, diving head first into the culture of Crypto speculation. A world where normal citizens become pundits and every trade can make you rich or bankrupt you, and the line between investment and gambling is ever more blurred.
In the same way that the first applications of computer technology can now look primitive and undeveloped, the same will likely be said about blockchain and the current focus on cryptocurrencies. The potential is so vast and expansive that it is difficult to fathom, while also being widely misunderstood.
Put simply, blockchains are shared ledgers that don’t require any trusted third-party administrators; transactions or data can be accessed transparently and are said to be incorruptible. Blockchain technology has the potential to become a foundation of every business interaction that requires trust and co-operation – but is there more to it?
Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains and the Future of the Internet takes a deep dive into the crypto ecosystem and blockchain technology to discover the good, the bad and the ugly of this controversial industry, its major narratives, conflicts and the major players behind it. Can we really trust them to build this trustless cyber utopia or are their projects just as unfairly distributed and easily manipulated as our current financial systems and tech platforms?
Beginning with the basics of Bitcoin and the origins of the blockchain movement we highlight the recent debate within the community: Is Bitcoin digital gold, a new asset class to invest in or is it the global currency of the Internet? In the second act, we explore other crypto currencies and the many different uses of blockchain technology including the new concept of smart contracts. Finally, we look at the history of the Internet to show what developments have lead to our current crisis of mega-corporations controlling information.
While some see the development of blockchain-based systems as having the potential to take down the Facebooks and the Amazons, and decentralise governance – leading to calls for regulation – others fear that the technology will be co-opted, privatised and derailed by these same forces.
While some see the potential for transparency and the removal of lawyers, bankers and wall street from our lives, others see greater opportunities to scam and defraud.
Can blockchain technology be used to create a new, fairer, decentralised and uncensored web3.0 where we can control our data and protect our online identities? Or will the potential be squandered as mega corporations once again compete for dominance in this new field.
With his unrivalled and exclusive access, award-winning filmmaker Torsten Hoffmann (Bitcoin: The End of Money as We Know It) takes us on a journey into the heart of this brave new world.
Cryptopia has been officially selected as part of Academy Award Qualifying film festival DocEdge 2020, and has won 16 awards at international film festivals in 2021.
There’s a dark side to the internet, and you probably don’t even know it exists. Look behind the positive veneer of social media, communication apps and platforms that have made our lives easier and more connected, and you’ll find criminals using the same apps and platforms to run illicit and dangerous activities.
Sextortion syndicates target victims globally through social media. Illegal wildlife trades thrive on social consumer marketplaces. Digital black markets operate anonymously using software designed for press privacy and freedom to sell drugs. Secret child pornography rings run rampant in secret, closed groups and private chats.
This explosive new series lifts the lid on how criminal organisations are thriving in this new digital frontier.
Episode One – The Queen of Sextortion
Sextortion was invented by one woman in the Philippines, Maria Caparas. She turned the idea of making friends online and recording explicit video chats into a profitable blackmail and extortion scam that could not exist without social media. She now runs a mini empire seemingly beyond the reach of authorities, that has led to many suicides.
Episode Two – Wildlife Clickbait
They may look like ordinary posts of exotic pets for sale on social media. But they are feeding a growing trade in illegal and endangered animals in Malaysia and beyond. This criminal industry is worth billions and is jeopardising attempts to protect endangered species.
Episode Three – Black Market Boom
Drugs, guns, counterfeit documents and much more are sold on dark web marketplaces that run on anonymous browsers and using cryptocurrency. AlphaBay was the biggest marketplace, transacting over US$800,000 in a day enabling its founder to live a luxury lifestyle in anonymity, until international law enforcement caught up with him.
Episode Four – The Candyman
It was one of 640 million closed groups on Facebook. Hiding behind the anonymity, the creator of child pornography group Loli Candy and its 7,000 members hid their activities on Facebook and Whatsapp – the dissemination of horrifying images of abuse. While they were eventually bought to justice many more thrive.