The Rise and Rise Of Bitcoin – The Sequel


Despite it being several months since “The Rise and Rise Of Bitcoin” was released to the world, there is still a considerable amount of interest in the film. Which is understandable – to my knowledge, it’s the first real attempt to make understanding Bitcoin accessible to the masses. With that said, it’s already in desperate need of a sequel.

The problem the movie was produced and published during what will probably be known as the end of Bitcoin’s “Wild West” phase – nearly all of the characters mentioned in the movie have met with, shall we say, unfortunate demises.

Take Charlie Shrem, CEO of BitInstant, for instance. Enthusiastic as he was, he is now sitting in prison with a two-year sentence for operating an unlicensed money transfer business.

Jered Kenna, founder and CEO of Tradehill, which was another promising company that featured prominently in the film, closed  the doors to his business due to “operational and regulatory issues“, ostensibly in order to avoid the fate that fell on Charlie Shrem.

Mt.Gox also figures prominently in the storyline, with Mark Karpeles taking up some screen time as well. Once far and away the biggest Bitcoin exchange, alas, the exchange fell victim to the biggest ever Bitcoin heist, leaving Karpeles a disgraced pariah of the Bitcoin community. The losses? Some 650,000 Bitcoins, an amount that could have been worth nearly half a billion dollars according to the exchange rates in February 2014, the month the loss was made public.

It doesn’t stop there – in star’s Daniel Mross’ excitement about mining Bitcoin, he introduces us to Avalon ASIC and Butterfly Labs; while Avalon seems to have faded gracefully from the Bitcoin scene, Butterfly Labs was embroiled in controversy and legal battles with the FTC due to its inability to ship paid-in-full products on a timely basis.

Even the Silkroad, spoken about so benignly in the Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, saw its founder Ross Ulbricht, get unmasked, arrested and found guilty after a short trial. And while he sits in jail in New York awaiting sentencing for his federal charges, he still awaits trial in Maryland on charges of attempted murder.

Eric Vorhees, founder of Satoshi Dice and Bitcoin advocate extraordinare, was fined $50,000 for the unregistered sale of securities of that website, and has since moved to Panama in order to avoid the complication of U.S. Regulations.

Alone in that cast was, having avoided both controversy and legal entanglements, is Gavin Andresen. He was the lead developer of the Bitcoin Project at the time of the filming, having being handed the reins by Bitcoins anonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, and since taken on the role of chief scientist for the Bitcoin Foundation.

Coinbase, who are now one of the biggest forces in the world of Bitcoin exchanges, figured very minimally in the movie, getting just a few seconds of screen time.

And that’s it.

Someone watching that film and being introduced to Bitcoin for the first time couldn’t be blamed for concluding that Bitcoin was a few steps beyond shady. In large part, it’s because the film prior to the Bitcoin community receiving much needed regulatory clarity. Even though 2013 came to an end just over a year ago, in the technology world, huge amounts of change can happen, and in the Bitcoin world, racing out of its infancy, things only evolve faster. However, what makes the biggest difference is that there is now regulatory clarity from the United States Government; no longer are Bitcoin entrepreneurs operating in the dark.

Aside from that regulatory clarity, the Bitcoin world has altered significantly from when the Rise was filmed. Not only are GPU miners no longer the mainstream way of generating Bitcoins, but mining itself has become so competitive so as to be out of reach of the average hobbyist.

So… what personalities or companies should figure prominently in “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin 2.0″, should Mross be so inclined to update his creation?

I would say Gavin and the Bitcoin Foundation for certain. Coinbase, Bitpay and Circle. The Winklevoss Twins. Barry Silbert, founder of both SecondMarket and the Bitcoin Investment Trust.

Who else?

How about it, Bitcoin Community? Should we push Daniel Mross to take to Kickstarter and raise the funds to update his creation?

I think so.

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