Here are the answers to some of the questions the press and critics have asked me and some disclaimers. If you have other questions that interest you, feel free to reach out any time.
Last update: Friday, 28 April 2017
What was your motivation to make this film?
To start a non-technical dialog about blockchain technology and other “disruptive” technologies that may have a big impact on our lives in the coming years.
The most fascinating thing about blockchain technology for me is its cultural phenomenon and movement that has brought a new way of thinking about technology to individuals and companies small and large.
This is no explainer video, endorsement or investment recommendation, but a conversation starter that deliberately creates more questions than it answers.
How did you get into the blockchain topic?
I made the film FinTech Made in Switzerland (2016), for which I interviewed startups, banks, politicians, and others in the FinTech space in Switzerland. The people in the cryptocurrency and blockchain arena were most outspoken about the impact of technology in the future, and some of them had aspirations to “change the world” with this technology. I decided to make a film about the blockchain phenomenon specifically and to understand the aspirations and motivations of the people in this space.
Who invented the blockchain and what is the definition of “the blockchain”?
Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (2008) introduced the Bitcoin blockchain, which many people refer to as “the blockchain”.
Explaining the technology is beyond the point of this film. There are good explainers elsewhere, and many people are much more knowledgeable than me about the technical details of the blockchain. Here is a definition I find clear and concise:
blockchain, NOUN /ˈblɒktʃeɪn/
A digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.
As a filmmaker, I am more interested in conversations about what digital technologies may be able to do for us, but my films are no forecasts or predictions of the future.
What is your opinion on blockchain technology and its potential?
I believe blockchain technology and its future iterations could have profound positive impacts on business, government, and society because it has the potential to decentralize control without intermediaries. For me, blockchain technology goes beyond cryptocurrencies and beyond applications in the financial sector. In my opinion, electronic identity and applications in the Internet of Things are perhaps the most promising potential applications.
The blockchain is one of those technologies that inspires many people to “change the world”. Thinking big is a good thing, but it’s up for debate if all ideas about what blockchain technology can do (electronic identity, voting, smart contracts, etc.) are already feasible. Like with any technology, we should expect trial and error, setbacks, false assumptions, and several iterations along the way until the real long-term benefits and drawbacks materialize. In the long run, I think the technology will probably inspire a lot of innovation that will be very useful. This is also what the analogy with the invention of the airplane in the film should illustrate.
Who financed this film, or: Is this film independent?
I financed this film myself out of my own interest. No company or individual paid for its production or to transport a specific message. Nobody paid to be in the film and I hold no stock in any of the companies in this film. Nobody listed in the “Thank You” section of this website or in the end credits of the film paid anything to be there or had any creative control in this film.
Interviewees review the edit of their interview and may ask to remove parts from their interview before it goes live. However, once they give the OK to publish the interview, they have no control over which sections appear in the film or if they are in the film at all.
This film is independent and represents my personal observations, with no claim to be balanced or objective. All the opinions that interview partners express in this film are their own.
There is a “Support” page on this website where people can make a donation if they find the film inspiring or useful and would like to support my work. This page went live after the premiere of the film, and support comes with no strings attached or any say in how this film should be promoted.
Is this film an endorsement to invest in cryptocurrencies?
When some friends told me about a “new kind of Internet money” in 2010, it didn’t even register. Only after reading about bitcoin in the media years later, I realized that it was actually bitcoin they had been so excited about. I do not speculate with cryptocurrencies, and I am by no means an expert in cryptocurrencies or their underlying technologies and do not advocate any investment.
This film streams on YouTube, so anybody is free to link to it or embed it on their website. I am not responsible for the content of any of those websites.
Anyone with an interest in cryptocurrencies, ICOs, or stock in any company or any other investment must seek professional advice before investing.
This film is about the enthusiasm to make our world better through a potentially transformative technology like the blockchain. It’s not called “Bitcoin and Us” for a reason.
I hope you join the constructive dialog about what technology may (or many not) be able to do for us in the digital future. I respect diverse opinions; criticism can sometimes be more constructive than if we are all in agreement.
I hope you enjoy The Blockchain and Us and look forward to hearing from you if you have any feedback.